Frazer Nash by David Thirlby. 206 pp. 91 in. x 7 in. (G. T. Foulis & Co. Ltd., Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset, BA 22 7JJ, £5.95).
If so many people find the Rolls-Royce irresistible, I find Frazer Nashes (and their forerunners, the G.N.s) absolutely fascinating. And so, I know, do all the “Chain Gang”. So this second book about all the sporting G.N., Frazer Nash, and relevant BMW cars is very welcome. It breathes the spirit of the late Capt. Archie Frazer-Nash and the late Ron Godfrey, and of course, of the Aldington brothers, who conceived, sold and raced these inimitable creations. Thirlby’s first, definite work on the subject (less BMW) was about the cars themselves. This new book is about the personalities and the motor-cars.
The book is nicely got up, although the many pictures, some 200 in all, are rather sepia in quality. The great point is having so many fine illustrations between two covers. The book contains reproductions of old advertisements, pages from the contemporary Press, and has a fine colour dust-jacket depicting three generations of Frazer Nash 1922, 1934 and 1952, cleverly taken by the author himself. If some of the pictures within have appeared before, this is inevitable, but some are new, and exceedingly worth having. The text absolutely exhudes Frazer Nash lure, conveyed in David’s dry, humourous style. A few items may raise the eyebrows of the purists, who may bravely contest them; but the book is packed with technical data, as the history of these so sporting makes unfolds, and it is nice to have the story brought right up to the modern, Bristol-engined ‘Nashes, ending with the V8 BMW-engined Continental and including the remarkable Austin-components era.
There are too many excellent things in “Frazer Nash” to quote individually. But I especially liked the story of Bill Aldington using a German picture of a lhd 319/1 BMW in his own advertisements by the simple expedient of printing it back-to-front, to show a rhd car (!) and John Teague’s theory that to go from minor to major output in two years BMW may have used the Opel 12 (or Vauxhall 12) engine, for the Type 55 BMW and probably the Opel transmission as well, is an important exposure. One feels that Thirlby has put all the anecdotes and pictures he especially likes into his book; he has been a little slap-happy in places, though. For instance, the picture on page 30 cannot be of Cushman in the 1920 Scottish Six-Days Trials, because no GNs competed (my feeling is that it is Harbutt, in another trial) and the 1936 TT, in which Fane’s 328 BMW finished 3rd, was run at Ards, not Dundrod.
You cannot have too much of Frazer Nash; buy this dose before it goes out of print! W.B.