Lot 238 - 1988 12919 Le Mans Replica (replica) by Werner Oswald, 'WOK1'
|Engine Number||BS1 MK3 120|
|Odometer reading||28,274 miles|
|Estimate||£105,000 - £120,000|
|Result||Sold - £112,200|
It was in 1922 that Archibald Frazer Nash left GN, the company he had co-founded with Henry Godfrey, and established his own eponymous venture in Kingston-upon-Thames. The initial chain drive examples were a logical development of the GN models. However, within five years, the business was in trouble and went into receivership, re-emerging as AFN Ltd. By 1929, H. J. Aldington had become its major shareholder and was running the company with his brothers Donald and William. During 1934 it became the UK importer and assembler of the BMW marque, the results of which were sold as Frazer Nash-BMWs. Following WWII, the company created a number of new models including the High Speed, Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, Le Mans Coupé and the Sebring, all of which were in essence evolutions of the BMW 328. As its name suggests, the High Speed was a no-nonsense lightweight competition version that featured minimal bodywork and cycle wings. It was powered by the 1971cc straight-six BMW unit that had been developed by Bristol under licence from AFN. This was mated to a Bristol four-speed manual gearbox. Suspension was independent at the front by transverse leaf spring and by live axle and torsion bars at the rear. With some 125bhp powering a two-seater of just 635kg, the performance was predictably impressive, and the High Speed was capable of achieving the 0-60mph sprint in around 8.8 seconds and powering on to a terminal speed of some 110mph.
It was a High Speed that AFN entered for the first post-WWII Le Mans 24 Hours race held in 1949. The result was memorable with H. J. Aldington and co-driver Norman Culpan finishing a magnificent third overall. This prompted the company to rebrand the High Speed as a Le Mans Replica - thereby resurrecting a type of nomenclature from its past. The model was immortalised at the hands of such racing legends as Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori, Tony Brooks and Tony Crook of Bristol Cars fame. And, bearing in mind a total of just 34 examples of the High Speed/Le Mans Replica were built before production ceased in 1953, these cars are now highly prized by collectors. Moreover, with demand falling some way short of supply, a market for quality evocations of the Le Mans Replica has understandably evolved over the years.
A small batch was constructed by the renowned restorers Crosthwaite & Gardiner. A further series of some 11 cars were also built in 1990 by Werner Oswald, reputedly based on a Mk. I Le Mans Replica owned at the time by well-known collector and historic racer, Frank Sytner. Never offered in fully assembled form, they were sold as kits leading to them being known as 'WOK's - i.e. Werner Oswald Kits. During the production phase it was discovered that the name Frazer Nash Cars had remained dormant for a number of years and so was duly purchased by the company in order to legitimately allow its products to be advertised as `made by Frazer Nash Cars`.
The Le Mans Replica Evocation on offer today is 'WOK1'; Oswald`s personal prototype, manufactured in 1988 and employing parts, as required, from a Bristol 405. Once finished with by its constructors, it was apparently purchased by Peter Mann and then subsequently owned in turn by Bob Beck and Robert Brock of Longnor, Buxton, before being acquired by the vendor. Sporting black coachwork and black interior trim, `625 PP0` has been treated to a considerable amount of remedial work in the last four years courtesy of Spencer Lane Jones. This has included a gearbox overhaul and the fitting of high-ratio gears, the refurbishment of the cylinder head, oil pressure relief valve, trio of downdraught Solex carburettors, clutch (new centre plate), brakes, steering column and rear suspension. Commenting on the condition of the Frazer Nash recently, Spencer Lane Jones said: "When we last test drove the car in February 2011, it was an extremely good example of such a model and the owner was very good at constantly improving it." This well-presented and extremely competitive example is being sold with FIA Appendix K papers as well as an HTP passport that make it eligible for most of the world's high-profile historic racing events. UK road registered and with a comprehensive history, this represents extremely interesting access to Goodwood, the Tour Auto and the Mille Miglia...
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