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1949 HRG le Mans lightweight


 

  HLO168

 

History

This car was originally built in 1946 as an all enveloping 'aerodynamic' bodied model and was one of the first to be sold.

The car was originally purchased by Peter Clark, who had experienced much success before the war with Marcus Chambers, winning the 1-1/2 litre class at Le Mans in 1939. In 1947, he campaigned the car in international events, notable successes being a 3rd place in the Grand Prix des Frontieres at Chimay and winning the Isle of Man Empire Trophy Team prize.

In 1948, a 4th place at Chimay was followed by a 4th in class and the team prize at the Spa 24 hour race. At this race, the innovative team leader Clark arranged for the cars to carry two-way radios to aid team tactics and pit work. Common place today, HLO 168 is probably the first racing car ever to carry such equipment. The year was completed with the Paris 12 hour race at Montlhery with a 3rd in class.

For 1949, Peter Clark decided on another serious attempt at Le Mans and used HLO 168 as a prototype for a new body. The Aerodynamic body was removed and a lightweight body with fully exposed wheels and a small frontal area was designed and built by Monaco Motors under the direction of John Wyer. All details and measurements were to conform exactly to the FIA sports car rules of the era.

Three identical cars were entered under the team name 'Ecurie Lapin Blanc'. They were prepared with the sole idea of racing for 24 hours and winning. The standard engine was mildly modified and much attention was paid to lightness. During the race HLO 168 unfortunately broke down but Eric Thompson and Jack Fairman went on to win the 1500 cc class and finish 8th overall in their similar car.

Immediately after the race, the cars were transported to Brussels and overhauled in preparation for the Spa-Francorchamps 24 hour race, only two weeks later. A repeat performance in this race produced another 1500 cc class win, the team prize and the Richard Seaman Cup for best placed British cars. This success for team manager John Wyer was to start a long association with endurance racing leading to his management of the Gulf Racing GT 40's in the 1960's.

On return to England in 1949, the cars competed in the first ever Goodwood members meeting and were raced in several other meetings before being sold as a team. HLO 168 was acquired by David Blakely, an up and coming driver, who raced the car successfully in many events including the Goodwood 9 hour race in both 1952 and 1953.

In 1952, HRG Engineering developed a potent twin cam version of the 1500 cc engine and this was tried and evaluated in Blakely's car. It was quick in his hands, but during this period he gained fame after being murdered by Ruth Ellis, who became the last woman to be hanged in Britain.

DATE EVENT RESULT
15/6/46 COAC Gransden Races 1st 1500cc class
22/9/46 Prescott Hill Climb 3rd 1500cc class
25/5/47 G.P. de Frontierer Chimay 3rd under 2 ltr class
21/8/47 IOM Empire Trophy Team Prize
9/5/48 G.P. de Frontierer Chimay 4th and fastest lap
10-11/7/48 Spa 24 HR Race 4th 1500cc class and team prize
12/9/48 Paris 12 HR Montlhery 3rd 1500cc class, winning team
25/5/48 10M Manx Cup 7th Place
As a Lightweight (Current Body)
25-26/6/49 Lemans Retired 11 Laps
9-10/7/49 Spa 24 HR 4th 1500cc Class Team Prize
4/50 BARC GOODWOOD 4th 3 Lap scratch
17/6/50 BARC GOODWOOD Unplaced
With David Blakely
28/7/51 A.M.O.C. Silverstone 5 Lap H/Cap 1st
29/8/51 750 mc 6hr relay 3rd Chiltern HEA Team
10/7/52 Jersey International Road Race 22nd overall 5th in Class
16/8/52 GOODWOOD 9hr Race 4th in Class
22/8/53 GOODWOOD 9hr Race Retired
GOODWOOD Members Meeting
22/3/52 5 Lap Handicap 3rd
17/5/52 5 Lap Scratch 4th
17/5/52 5 Lap Handicap 4th
7/6/52 Eight Clubs Silverstone 5 Lap Scratch 1st
With Twin Cam Engine
19/9/53 1/2 Litre Crstal Palace Sports Cars up to 1500cc 3rd
17/10/53 West Essex CC Snetterton 5 Lap Scratch 3rd
17/10/53 West Essex Snetterton 5 Lap Handicap 2nd

 


 

Engine

  • 1952 Singer HRG Twin Cam
  • 1496cc
  • Bore: 68mm
  • Stroke: 103mm

Fuel System

  • SU electric pump

Oil/Water System

  • Wet sump pressure fed
  • Front water rad

Gearbox

  • Singer 4 Speed manual

Final Drive

  • 4:1 Ratio

Body

  • Aluminium on steel frame 

Chassis

  • Channel Steel
  • Dampers: Friction (HRG)
  • Front Suspension: Beam axle, 1/4 elliptic leaf spring
  • Rear Suspension: Beam axle, 1/2 elliptic leaf spring
  • Steering: Worm and Wheel (Marles)
  • Brakes: HRG Drum Frt and Rr
  • Wheels: 16" Wire C/Lock
  • Weight: 14 CWT

Interior

  • 2 Seater