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Lot 117: 1955 Frazer Nash DKW Roadster

Important Sports & Competition Motor Cars, Bonhams (16 September 2005)

The UK’s DKW importer in the 1950s, AFN Limited - better known as builders of Frazer Nash sports cars - constructed this prototype two-seater sportscar on a right-hand drive DKW Sonderklasse saloon chassis in 1954, hoping to persuade the German manufacturer to put the car into production. Clothed in elegantly streamlined bodywork reminiscent of the Frazer Nash Mille Miglia, the prototype retained the Sonderklasse’s 896cc, three-cylinder, two-stroke engine and four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox.
Registered ‘5 DMP’, the prototype was entered in the 1955 Tourist Trophy at Dundrod - in International Class G, number ‘48’. The car was initially to be driven by works driver Bill Smith but following his tragic death was driven by Ken Rudd and Cecil Yard. It was recorded as buzzing merrily around until at a pit stop the crew filled the fuel tank with neat petrol, instead of the petroil mixture required by two-strokes, and the DKW engine seized at Jordan’s Cross. DKW did go ahead with a sportscar, but preferred the home grown - though American-styled - 1000S, which was marketed as an Auto Union.
For several years ‘5 DMP’ disappeared from view, though it is believed that for a considerable period it was stored at the AFN works. Brian Emblin, a senior DKW technician at AFN Ltd, has recalled working on ‘5 DMP’ at the factory and some race tracks, and that a customer of AFN, Frank Capeman, borrowed the car for the odd race or rally.
‘5 DMP’ resurfaced in the early 1970s when it was retrieved from Birmingham by John Aldington, the then Managing Director of AFN Ltd and currently the chief Frazer Nash archivist. In 1980 AFN at Isleworth undertook a complete restoration of the car, after which it was retained in the collection there. AFN registered the car in 1985, retaining the registration mark ‘5 DMP’ when it was subsequently re-registered ‘JSJ 462’. In 1996 the car was sold by AFN to a dealer, but not registered in his name, and put into storage until 2003 when it was purchased by the current owner. Restored to original specification over the course of the succeeding two years, it has been rebuilt using a reconditioned 1,000cc engine, of correct period, sourced from a DKW specialist in Germany. The gearbox too, has been replaced (with a unit of correct specification) and the electrics converted from 6-volt to 12-volt. We are advised that all the original components have been retained and are included in the sale together with spare seats, hood, side-screens and windscreen.
Finished in red with grey leather interior, the car is offered with detailed history, copy correspondence, road fund licence to April 2006, MoT to May 2006 and Swansea V5 registration document. One of motoring history’s more fascinating might-have-beens, this unique and attractive British sports car comes with FIA papers confirming its eligibility for a wide variety of the most prestigious historic motor sport events.

Lot Details
Auction Important Sports & Competition Motor Cars
Bonhams, Goodwood Revival, Chichester
Lot Number117
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£18000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£20700
Condition rating
Registration numberJSJ 462
Chassis number66532237
Engine number8861051754
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors