Classic AutoRAI 99: pre-war cars:
Frazer Nash, Graham & Hotchkiss
Frazer Nash is best
known for making very traditional English sportscars, light weight and chain driven like
the TT Replica (1931, only 90 built up to 1938) or the more modern Le Mans Replica (1950,
a replica of the second place finishing Frazer Nash High Speed in the Le Mans race of
1948), but Frazer Nash biggest commercial success was the licensed production of German
BMW models. Starting from 1934 Frazer Nash built British versions of the BMW 315, 319,
326, 327 and 328 series.
This is a Frazer
Nash version of a 1937 BMW 327 Sport Convertible. The cars were more or less identical
except for, you've probably already guessed it, the driving position. BMWs had the
steering wheel on the left and the Frazer Nash produced cars on the right, as you see on
this picture. Frazer Nash designated this car as the Type 55 (so officially it's called
the "Frazer Nash Type 55").
Enginewise it was identical to the BMW: 6 cylinder 1971 cc in-line, producing 55 hp @ 4500 rpm. Top speed is about 125 kph for this 1100 kg car.
Graham was an
American car manufacturer with only a short life span (from 1927 to 1940) but with
remarkable influence. For instance the moulds and tools for the obsolete Graham Special
Six model were sold to Nissan of Japan in 1936, which started that company off into car
production. The Graham Blue Streak models of 1932 with their flowing elegant lines and
pointed radiator grilles set the car styling fashion for the following decade.
This 116 model was a nice but failed attempt of Graham to stay alive in the sporty luxury car segment. Its modern and becoming bodywork and supercharged six cylinder engine didn't attract the number of buyers Graham needed. The supercharged straight six has a displacement of 3.4 litre and produces 106 hp.
This rare and original car was actually for sale on the Classic AutoRAI, but didn't seem to attract too much attention.
Hotchkiss was a French ammunition factory founded by American Benjamin
Hotchkiss in 1870. In 1903 car production was taken up as a means to keep up factory
production between wars.
Hotchkiss' cars stood for excellent quality, reliability and upper-middleclass. Production numbers were never very impressive and most cars were sold in France. From 1928 till 1950 almost all cars were based on one chassis/engine design: the AM 80. The engines were 6 cylinder in-line units with 3.0 or 3.5 litre displacement and overhead valves.
This 411 model is of a stately and elegant design like most Hotchkisses, but also conservative as can be seen by the steering wheel that is placed on the right hand side, while most French manufacturers placed it on the left hand side starting from the early twenties. It is fitted with the normal 6 cylinder 3.0 litre AM 80 unit.
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