Posted on 27 February 2013
During January TK received an invite from Rob Barrie to join a small group at Goodwood on the 22nd February for a track day.
We extended the invite to a regular customer of TK who also happens to have recently purchased the ex-Bob Gerard Frazer-Nash Le Mans Replica often known by its registration number ‘HBC 1.’ The owner jumped at the chance to test out his new machine.
If you don’t know of these cars, they can simply be described as the most highly regarded and sought after cycle-winged sports cars of the 1950s. Don’t be fooled by the Replica name either. Le Mans Replica was the name given to the cars after a third place at the 24-hour race in 1949. Previously they had been called either “High Speed” or “Competition” models. Indeed so rare and desirable are they, that people have constructed Le Mans Replica Replicas! Known as Le Mans Rep Reps (try and get your head around that) even these are valuable now.
‘HBC 1’ is one of the very best Le Man Reps extant and has a superb period competition history. During the 1950s it was owned and driven by Bob Gerard. ‘Mr Bob’, as he was known, was a garage owner and privateer-racing driver from Leicestershire and was one of the most well respected privateers of the time, able to cut it with the pros. He campaigned the car throughout the early 50s competing at the Le Mans 24-hours, the Reims 12-Hours, and the Goodwood Nine-hours to name but a few…..
So having collected this very special machine from Blakeney Motorsport in Hertfordshire, the new owner left home on a very cold, and slightly snowy, February morning to meet Robert at a service station on the A3 just outside London, with just some small aero screens as protection from the elements! No trailer for this man!
Having met up with Robert in a 1924 Vauxhall 30-98, they proceeded to Goodwood. Apart from being held up by slow modern traffic the journey was completed without any faults with either car.
At Goodwood the Vauxhall was greeted with some polite giggling and confused looks from the other drivers -most of whom were in more modern and closed cars! ‘HBC 1’ and owner also won ‘man points’ for braving the cold and some commented how good it was to see the car at Goodwood where it raced in period.
Suited and booted the owner took HBC 1 for some high speed laps, at which point he was promptly black flagged for making too much noise…from the exhaust, not the driver. Meanwhile Rob Barrie had coerced Robert into doing a few gentle laps on the Vauxhall - which itself only just passed its noise test…
Unfortunately the day was to be cut short when the Frazer Nash blew a head gasket after around ten laps had been completed. With Blakeney Motorsports organised to take the car back in their van, Robert and the customer decided that lunch was the next best plan and headed off in the Vauxhall to Phoenix Arms in Hartley Witney to eat and defrost – This is the very same pub where the VSCC was conceived.
The Bristol engine in the Frazer-Nash will now be repaired in time for the racing season, and we will re-paint HBC back to its correct shade of mid-green in which it raced in period at Le Mans.