Frazer Nash BMW 328

Again we present a brand of which many readers probably have never heard before here on Secret Classics: Frazer Nash. Founded around 1924, Frazer Nash was already Archibald ‘Archie’ Goodman Frazer Nash’s second car company. His previous brand G.N. (Godfrey Nash), which produced cyclecars and sporty small cars with two seats, had to be closed shortly before. Frazer Nash initially continued the production of the G.N. vehicles with only minor changes before Archie sold all shares to the Adlington brothers in 1926. They shortened the brand name to the initialy and placed the first letter of their family name in front. Under the corresponding abbreviation AFN, numerous two-seater sports cars were produced, which in the classic British style of the time actually consisted of nothing more than chassis, engine, seats and a rudimentary small bodywork. The engines were purchased from Anzani, Meadows, Cough, Blackburn or Plus-Power. In 1934 a cooperation agreement was concluded with BMW, which made Frazer Nash the general importer of these German vehicles for the British market and at the same time allowed them to sell the cars under their own brand name as ‘Frazer Nash BMW’.

At this point, we interrupt the history lesson and insert the car, which is the main issue of this article. It is a Frazer Nash BMW 328 manufactured in 1937. With the 328, BMW brought a new sports car to the Eifel Rennen at the Nürburgring on 14 June 1936, which was to collect various race victories worldwide in the following years. It was the top-of-the-line model of the 300-series, which mainly consisted of the sedan 319 and the touring car 321 (two-door) and 326 (four-door), but also included the touring sports car 327 and the convertible 329. Later, also the 335 followed. In contrast to post-war period, these numbers didn’t have much to do with cubic capacity or performance, but were pure model series designations. The 328 as a two-seater roadster was aimed at sports car enthusiasts and racing drivers. Under its hood sits a two-liter inline six-cylinder engine with 80 hp, which was more than sufficient for the time. The Frazer Nash BMW 328 shown by us received the British license plates GML185 and was nicknamed ‘Zoe’ by its first owner.

For many years ‘Zoe’ served as a daily driver, whereby the first owner also undertook long vacation trips to Scotland and continental Europe with the open sports car after World War 2. In 1950 the only change of ownership of this car took place, which  was followed by a longer trip to France. There the new owner visited the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the French Grand Prix in Reims with the 328. Afterwards he used it in various hillclimb events all over the UK. Since 1985 the Frazer Nash was stored in a well dehumidified and air-conditioned hall and was recently completely dismantled and refurbished by the restoration experts at Thornley Kelham. In 2017 the freshly restored car won the ‘Best of Show’ award at the London City Concours. Now it is for sale through the classic car dealer Trofeo Cars. The car documents contain invoices dating back to the 1950s and the complete documentation of the restoration.

A brief return to the brand history of Frazer Nash. After World War 2, the abbreviation AFN disappeared and they used the full name Frazer Nash again and started to build independent sports cars based on the construction sketches and plans of the BMW 328. They worked closely together with Bristol, who also produced comparable vehicles on the BMW base and developed the six-cylinder engine further with good success. Frazer Nash also produced sports cars converted into single-seaters and their own monopostis for racing car events up to Formula 1. The gates were closed in 1957 after the regulations in formula racing made it increasingly unattractive for small brands to develop vehicles and the pre-war construction of their sports cars was no longer competitive. Kampkong Holding owns the brand name and rights since 2007 and is planning a comeback in the field of high-performance electric vehicles together with the Bristol brand, which they also acquired. However, we don’t know exactly when the first results of these plans will be presented.

Images: Trofeo Cars