1948 HRG 1500. Phoenix Crank, Rods, Pistons

Chassis Number: W125

Engine Number: C187Q

1948 HRG 1500 - W125

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Delivered new in green with green wheels to London HRG agents Charles Follett in early January 1948, the first owner was a Major Guy Brunnarius of Barnet. 44 cars were completed that year. By January 1950 Peter Riley acquired this car as a student at Cambridge! Cars were, and still are, not allowed at Cambridge, so how he stored this car is a typical student's challenge! He became a well known BMC international rally driver but not before a major prang in this HRG. It was soon sorted out and the car was sold that Christmas. At 2 year intervals this car was sold, and around 1958 Dennis Hewett took this car on - by which time this car was white. Hewett kept W125 for a number of years and competed with the car in the Griffiths Formula, formed to encourage the preservation and racing of sports and sports/racing cars of the 1947 to 1960 period, which later became the HSCC or Historic Sports Car Club, formed by Betty Haig and Guy Griffiths in 1966.

W125 was later sold to Graham Lee who carried out a thorough overhaul and repaint. Graham was a patent agent and looked after the H of HRG - Ted Halford's patents, of which there are a number - for example the hand-pushed star wheel garden lawn edge trimmer, a photo of an example featured on the back page of a recent HRG Association magazine this year. Graham Lee had a lot of work carried out by Ian Mahany around 20 years ago when a strong new Phoenix crankshaft, new con-rods and new pistons were fitted, to provide a robust and strong bottom end to the engine.

W125 has had minimal mileage since October 2014 when this car was purchased from Graham Lee's Estate by the present owner on behalf of his late father Don Courtney. Don was a long term HRG owner in period with two previous HRG 1100s and was former Editor of the HRG Association journal. Don caused a very smart new double-duck hood and side screens to be made, but sadly did not get to enjoy the car. His son has kept the car in excellent order for the past 6 years or so, keeping the car in readily useable condition in its own modern timber stabling garage, since driving the car from Dorset to Sussex, and now wishes to acquire a more modern sports car in its place.

The smart black paintwork with red painted wheels are in excellent condition, the upholstery in nice but old condition, with Bluemels sprung steering wheel.

Please enquire

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Eligibility

The car is fully recognised and accepted by the HRG Association as a genuine ex- factory car with a full continuous history.  A marque expert has recently looked over the car and verified its major components, chassis number, chassis plate and other identification numbers.

All H.R.Gs (both pre and post-war) are eligible to compete in the Class 2 (for pre-war production cars) in the MCC classic trials.

Post-war built H.R.G.s are eligible in historic rallying (ERA / HERO) in the pre-war category.

Eligible for the new class at the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) “Historic Class” for selected post war cars by invitation.  (New from 2021).

Further information

A full history of the marque, the company, the cars and the successes can be found in the book  “The Sportsmans Ideal” by Ian Dussek.  ISBN 10: 0956512402  or ISBN 13: 9780956512406

HRG Association website:  www.hrgcars.com

Please enquire

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Brief history of The H.R.G Engineering Co. Ltd and the H.R.G light car

Formed by the partnership of E A Halford, G H Robins and H R Godfrey, the H.R.G Engineering Co. Ltd was created in 1935 incorporating the initials of their surnames.  H R (Ron) Godfrey was lead designer and was already well known in sports car circles for his involvement with Archie Frazer-Nash in the GN cycle cars of 1910 to 1922.

The first H.R.G car, the “1½ Litre” model, powered by the Meadows 4ED engine, was introduced to the motoring press at Brooklands race track in October 1935.  The car was considered a bit of a “throw back” to the past, even for the mid to late 1930s.  It mixed traditional hand-built construction techniques with updated tried and tested solutions from Godfrey’s experiences and executed them efficiently.  With a particular focus on functionality and lightness (rather than styling) there was a high power to weight ratio from a modest engine.  This also enabled higher gearing to be used for reliability.  The car was marketed as having “three-fold performance” enabling an owner to use the car, unmodified, in both racing and off-road trials as well as everyday transport.

Moving into new factory premises in Tolworth in Surrey, car production started in early 1936 and the cars quickly gained a reputation for being very effective in competition and for the true enthusiast.  An 1100cc model, powered by a modified Singer engine, was introduced in 1938.  World War II naturally halted car production whereby just 35 cars had been produced.  War work included making parts for Wellington bombers and other Air Ministry contracts.

Soon after WWII, H.R.G was one of few British sports car companies that were able to get back into manufacturing new cars and the post-war models were a continuation of the pre-war cars with the addition of the “Aerodynamic”.  The cars were popular amongst sports car enthusiasts who wanted to acquire newly manufactured cars and to compete at that time.  Being more than twice the price of contemporary MGs, they were not cheap and considered a high quality product.

The majority of H.R.Gs were used for competition and featured in the results at nearly all well-known events, especially on the continent, including at Le Mans, Spa and the Alpine Rallies.  In addition, the cars competed at many hundreds of events in the UK including the first ever events at Silverstone, Goodwood and Prescott.

Just 241 cars in total were manufactured from 1935 to 1956.  After car manufacturing ceased the Company continued to service and repair the cars and operated as an engineering firm, finally closing in 1966 when all the directors reached retirement.  In 1960, the H.R.G Association (HRGA) was formed which inherited much of the intellectual property of the company.  It is estimated that over 90% of the cars survive today.

More information can be found at www.hrgcars.com

Notable Events and Results in H.R.G cars in the period 1935 to 1956

H.R.G cars competed in virtually all of the principal motor sport events in Great Britain and Europe, especially in the immediate post war period.  Some notable events, dates and results are listed below.

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Circuit Racing:

Brooklands – (many short scratch and handicap races), 1938 class winner 3 hr Sports Car Race.

Donington 12 hour Sports Car Race – 1937 - 4th overall

RAC Tourist Trophy – 1937, 1938 (Donington) & 1950 (Dundrod).

Le Mans 24 hour Race - class wins 1939 & 1949, 2nd in class 1937 & 1938.

Eifelrennen, Nurburgring – 1938 & 1939.

Gransden Lodge (the very first post war GB race meetings) – 1946 & 1947.

Chimay - Grand Prix des Frontieres, 1947 & 1948.

Montlhery - Paris 12 hour race – 1948.

Isle of Man - British Empire Trophy Manx Cup 1947, 1948, 1949 & 1950, team prize 1948.

Silverstone – first meetings in 1948 and 1949. Daily Express Trophy Production Sports Car Races Class wins 1949 & 1950, 2nd In Class 1949 & 1951, 6 hour Relay Races 1951, 52 & 53.

Spa-Francorchamps 24 hour Race - Coupe du Roi team prize 1948.  Class win, Coupe de la Victoire, Coupe de Richard Seaman and Coupe du Roi team prize in 1949

Goodwood - First Members meeting in 1948, Members and Easter Meetings 1948 to 1955,

9 hour Races 1952, 1953 & 1955.

Autosport Production Sports Car Championship - 1956 3rd Overall (including class wins at Mallory Park, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Goodwood).

Blandford – National Road Races (first circuit after WW2) 1949 2nd in Class and 1950 2nd in Class

Bridgehampton (USA) – 1949, 1950 & 1951, 3rd overall 1949.

Watkins Glen (USA) - 1949, 4th overall.

Sebring (USA) - 1950.

Jersey - International Road Race 1952

Crystal Palace - 1952 & 1953

Brands Hatch - Kent Cup Race – 1954

Oulton Park - British Empire Trophy – 1955 & 1956

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Endurance Rallying:

Brooklands - 1937 JCC Brooklands Rally, 1st in Class.

Monte Carlo Rally – 1937.

Paris-Nice Trial - Class win 1938.

RAC Rally - Class wins 1939, 1951 & 1953, 2nd in Class 1937 & 1938.

Alpine Rally - Class wins, Coupes des Alpes 1948 & 1951. Team awards 1948. Several special stage awards.

Eastbourne Rally – 1951.

Paris-St Raphael Rally - Class win 1952, 2nd in Class 1951.

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Speed Hill climbs and Sprints

H.R.G cars competed and won many awards at speed events in Great Britain, especially in the immediate post war period.  These included Shelsey Walsh, Prescott (including the first ever meeting in 1938), Bo’ness, Brighton, Great Auclum, Lewes and Blackwell amongst many others. 

Reliability Trials and Production Car Trials:

H.R.G cars competed in many events in the late 1930s into the 40s and 50s.  Over 200 awards in the three MCC Classic Trials (The Land’s End, Exeter and Edinburgh Trials) alone as well as several team and “triple” awards. 

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