home
cars by country
UK cars
Frazer Nash history                
Frazer Nash 'chain gang'
Frazer Nash le Mans rep.
Frazer Nash photo album

 


Frazer Nash chain gang (1925 - 1936)

 

The Frazer-Nash had much in common with the G.N., and when production started early in 1925 it was apparent that quite an exceptional sports car had been born. The earliest cars had an overhead-valve engine of high compression known as the "Powerplus", but later the tough, light, and surprisingly potent British Anzani 12 h.p. was adopted. This side-valve engine, which was supposed to deliver about 40 b.h.p. was strong but noisy; it was incapable of much development, though, even when a Cozette supercharger was added in 1927 to some models. It was finally superseded by the popular 4ED Meadows engine of the same dimensions in 1929, when a fourth speed was added. This gave an altogether more vivid performance, even with the heavier coachwork (15-i cwt.) then fitted, and combined a maximum of over 80 m.p.h. with a fuel consumption better than 30 m.p.g. Blackburn engines were also fitted on occasion.

In the Anzani-engined 'Nash, three-speed (four to special order) and reverse chain drive and quarter-elliptic springs were used as on the G.N., and coupled with elegant and very light aluminium coachwork gave an extremely snappy performance. A touring version was tested by the motoring press at 70 m.p.h. in 1925, and gave 40 m.p.g. thanks to an all-up weight of only 13 cwt. It is an interesting reflection that even then it was thought worth mentioning that such a car would "carry on all day at 40 m.p.h."-although in fact such a car would cruise between 60 and 65 m.p.h. Considering its fairly low price of 315, the "Nash", though distinctly crude in places, with almost solid suspension at low speeds, represented very good value for money, for such performance could not be bought elsewhere for the same cost.

The chain drive and very smooth plate clutch gave an exceptionally rapid gear change and the solid rear axle made the car stable under the most difficult conditions, although with some tendency on greasy surfaces to go straight on. The steering was always of the highest quality, absolutely accurate and devoid of play, rather heavy, and very high-geared (usually less than one turn from lock to lock).

A downturn in the business in 1928 coincided with a serious bout of nephritis for Archie (he later recovered and started an engineering firm which exists to this day, Frazer-Nash Limited) and the Frazer Nash Company was sold to H.J. Aldington ("Aldy").   Aldy's brothers Donald and Bill joined him in the business and about 360 chain-drive Frazer Nash cars were built, in many models, by AFN Limited (AFN, A.F.N., Ltd.) until production ceased in 1939.


interior of a TT rep.