Registration No: DHX 347
Chassis No: 55023
A former GN apprentice who became managing director of AFN Ltd on January 1st 1929, H.J. ‘Aldy’ Aldington was also a keen competitor. Dubbed the ‘High Priest of the Chain Gang’ by none other than Bill Boddy, his team finished second overall on the 1933 Alpine Trial. Determined to go one better the following year, he was dismayed to find that his Chain Gang Nashes were no match for BMW’s new 315 Two-Seater Sports. Thanks to financial input from A.F.P. Fane, AFN Ltd became the sole concessionaire for BMW in the UK during November 1934 with the resultant right-hand drive cars being offered as Frazer-Nash BMWs. A more potent evolution of the 315, the 319 featured the same lightweight tubular chassis frame equipped with independent front suspension, rack and pinion steering, and four-wheel drum brakes. The enlarged 1.9-litre straight-six OHV engine was tuned to develop 55hp and allied to a four-speed, synchromesh manual transmission. Imbued with better handling and road-holding than anything else in its class and far nimbler than a contemporary Bentley or Lagonda, the Frazer-Nash BMW 319/55 Sports quickly distinguished itself on rallies, sprints, hillclimbs and racetracks around the UK. Rarer than its 328 successor, just twenty-six were made for the UK market.
Notable as the second Frazer-Nash BMW 319/55 Sports to arrive on these shores, chassis 55023 was initially finished in Primrose Yellow over Blue and road registered as ‘DHX 347’ on 24th January 1936. Although, he did not have a choice with regards to the colour scheme, the first owner – Charles G. Fitt Esq. – was able to specify wire wheels. A wealthy and accomplished amateur racing driver who had formed part of the official MG Car Club Team in 1933 and campaigned a Ford V8 Roadster the following year, Fitt quickly proved his new acquisition’s versatility by contesting a great variety of events including the: London to Exeter Trial; London to Lands End Trial; Brooklands J.C.C Rally (1st-in-Class, 1939); Malden Rally; Coventry Cup Trial; London to Gloucester Trial; Poole Speed Trials; Beechwood Speed Trials; Bullock Cup Trial; Edinburgh Trial; Brighton-Beer (2nd-in-Class, 1936); Lewes Speed Trial; Croydon Speed Trial; and Bagshot Test Ground. He is further understood to have competed at S.U.N.B.A.C Trial, Shelsley Walsh, Donington and in the Colmore Trophy.
A letter on file from Fitt to one of his successors notes that (a) he occasionally ran with MG Magnette front wings to aid visibility and (b) was less than enamoured with the two-seater’s original livery! Known to have belonged to Fitt until the outbreak of World War Two, an accompanying buff logbook shows that from the early 1950s onwards, the Frazer-Nash BMW passed through the hands of John Michael Beddoe Esq; Barry Hamilton Birch Esq; John Dewhirst Handscombe Esq; Francis Richard James Esq; Malcolm Russell Esq and J. H. Baker Esq.
Unused for several years prior to becoming part of the vendor’s collection in 2006, the 319/55 was subsequently gone through ‘stem to stern’ so as to prepare it for a return to competition. An avid pre-WW2 car enthusiast, the seller has enjoyed ‘DHX 347’ on a host of navigation rallies, VSCC rallies, Irish rallies and Historic BMW events over the past seventeen years. Pleasingly unmolested, the two-seater is unusual in retaining an under bonnet fuel tank not to mention its distinctive wire wheels. Uprated with a Fiat gearbox, an original Herth gearbox is accompanying the sale. Although not currently fitted, the original bonnet sides and associated chrome strips come with the car should a new owner wish to reinstate them. Starting readily with a throaty exhaust note, the vendor notes that the Frazer-Nash BMW is a very usable pre-war car and has been extremely reliable during his ownership.
These days finished in the more muted combination of White with Red leather upholstery, ‘DHX 347’ is offered for sale with a history file that encompasses numerous ‘in-action’ period photographs, documentation pertaining to the two-seater’s racing history, buff-logbook covering the 1950s and 1960s, technical literature and a current V5C registration document.
Eligible for a host of prestigious events, the 319/55 Sports is deemed by many to be second only to the 328 in terms of desirability. Considerably rarer than its successor (even in RHD), examples of the earlier machine rarely come to market making this an opportunity not be missed for Frazer-Nash or BMW enthusiasts.
For more information, please contact either Lucas Gomersall or Paul Cheetham:
All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.
You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:
Auction: Pavilion Gardens | Buxton, Derbyshire, 29th Nov, 2023
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An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held in the beautiful surrounds of the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire.
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Tuesday 28th November 2023 from 12pm to 8pm
Wednesday 29th November 2023 from 9am
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