"The Chain-Drive Frazer Nash"

“The Chain-Drive Frazer Nash,” by David Thirlby. 237 pp. 9 1/2 in x 6 1/2 in. (Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., Gulf House, 2, Portman Street, London, W.1.45s)

There are one-make histories about vast mass-production essays like the Model-T Ford, and other books dealing with quality rather than quantity, such as the Sunbeam S.T.D., Rolls-Royce and Lanchester histories. But the Frazer Nash, being built in very small numbers and being essentially the genuine enthusiasts’ sports car, is different again and this very important and long-awaited book by David Thirlby, Registrar of the F.N. Section of the V.S.C.C., is therefore absolutely enthralling, although, because each Frazer Nash was virtually an individual production, his task has been a difficult one and his book may seem heavy going for the uninitiated.

Before coping with the chain-drive Frazer Nash in all its divers variants Thirlby goes into G.N. history very thoroughly, because it was from the efforts of H. R. Godfrey and the late Capt. “Archie” Frazer-Nash in the cyclecar field that the Frazer Nash sports cars evolved.

Nicely printed, with a solidity that the cars it describes tended to lack, “The Chain-Drive Frazer Nash” contains chapters on the racing and Alpine Trial successes (and failures) of the “Chaingang,” on the various engines used in Frazer Nashes and the companies which made them, on specials based on G.N. and/or Frazer Nash chassis, and about the personalities so closely associated with the make, “Archie” Frazer-Nash and H. J. Aldington having separate chapters to themselves.

Apart from the informative if complex text and the delightfully nostalgic illustrations, the appendices form a very valuable part of the book, especially that listing the number of Frazer Nashes built and sold per year, and the register of all cars made from the first Plus-Power model onwards, with engine, chassis and Reg. Nos., special features, first owner and history, this being as absorting, on a smaller scale, as the well-known Bugatti Register.

In addition there is a table of design details and new models covering the years 1924 to 1938, an index of Press road-tests of various models (MOTOR SPORT reported on the Super Sports, Interceptor, T.T. and Six-Cylinder between 1927 and 1933, photostats being available), a brief history of the F.N.C.C. and of the F.N. Section of the V.S.C.C., and a register of all known G.N.s. The Frazer Nash Register occupies 84 pages of small type! Even a superficial glance at this mass of information reveals names from the past, like Eric Burt, R. G. J. Nash, Cynthia Sedgwick, Derek Dent. Agabeg, Lt.-Comdr. Grogan, Miss Wilby, K. N. Hutchison, Hugh Hunter, R. L. Bowes, Brooklands, Donington, Colmore, T. T. Replica, Shelsley, Bytleet I, etc., etc., that must surely make the enthusiast’s heart beat faster. . .

This important book contains no easily apparent errors, except for Wolseley wrongly spelt on one page and a reference to Dick Nash’s “Spook” winning a 50-mile race at Brooklands, which this reviewer does not remember, although it won a short sprint race up the Finishing Straight. There do appear to have been occasional unfortunate lapses in proof-reading which, however, will not mar the enjoyment for avid Frazer Nash followers. Certainly this book fills a long-felt need and should be read and referred avidly by every Frazer Nash “Chain-gangster” and most sports-car enthusiasts. It is good to note that Macdonald have uniform one-make histories in preparation covering the Bullnose Morris, Roesch Talbot, Peugeot, A.C., Alvis, Lagonda, Humber, Bean, Austin 7 and 1750 Alfa Romeo cars, ..s well as a detailed competition history of Jaguar.