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Van Dijk Collection, H&H Sales Limited (3 October 2005)

Introduced in May 1933, the Blackburne was the first six-cylinder engine ever fitted to a Frazer-Nash. A sophisticated double-overhead camshaft design crafted by H.J. Hatch of Burney & Blackburne Ltd, it was intended to broaden the marque's appeal beyond the hardcore enthusiast. Reputed to develop some 75bhp @ 5,000rpm, its gentle torque curve and notable smoothness were in sharp contrast to the four-cylinder Meadows 4ED upon which Frazer-Nash had come to rely so heavily. In keeping with their more refined nature all but one of the Blackburne powered cars used the longer 9'0" wheelbase chassis. Equipped with all round quarter-elliptic cantilever suspension, four-wheel drum brakes, idiosyncratic chain-drive transmission and hyper-direct rack and pinion steering (less than one turn lock-to-lock) they welcomed drivers to a world of extremely rapid 'power on' cornering and four-wheel drifts. Capable of 80mph plus, they were little if any faster than their more raucous siblings despite being somewhat pricier. Thus, a mere 27 Blackburne engined 'Nashs were built between May 1933 and November 1936. Though, several of these shared the same engine as chassis frames were written-off or broken-up along the way (the AFN Ltd Works being highly adept at recycling). Registered new in the name of Harold Moore on 15th February 1934, chassis 2111 was originally fitted with a 1,500cc Blackburne unit (number EA107), Rotax starter / dynamo, Bosch distributor / headlamps and Telecontrol shock absorbers. Passing from father to son, it is thought to have been in Philip Moore's possession until 1946 when it was acquired by Marcel Frederick Finnemore. Used by the latter for a variety of Vintage Sports Car Club events including the Crofton Hackett sprint and Prescott hillclimb (where it gained a third in class during 1947), it appears to have remained on the road until 1957 (or so a surviving tax disc would argue). Laid-up at some point thereafter, it was 'barn discovered' by Freddie Giles in 1978. A captain of the VSCC Frazer-Nash section, he had chassis 2111 extensively rebuilt by renowned specialist Nigel Stoyel before selling it onto Nicholas Sands in 1981 with whom it remained for the next nine years. Purchased by Mr B. Mather in 1990, it was once again transferred from father to son before becoming a part of the Dick Van Dijk collection in 1998. As it stands today, chassis 2111 looks to be remarkably original with the exception of a later 1657cc Blackburne engine (number DC127). However, (a) it has had this powerplant since at least 1950 (as documented in an accompanying buff logbook) and (b) there appears to be a good chance that it was factory fitted in 1937. The thinking behind this supposition is as follows. According to both David Thirlby's 'The Chain Drive Frazer Nash' and Denis Jenkinson's 'From Chain Drive to Turbocharger', the last Blackburne-engined production car, chassis 2168, was built in November 1936. Its engine number was DC126 suggesting that unit DC127 may well have been from the same batch. Bed hopping or chassis hopping was rife among Blackburne engines (DC126 for example had already seen service in chassis 2161 which was broken up by the Works in June 1936). In early 1937, 'Nash stalwart A.F.P. Fane had his Meadows-engined TT replica, chassis 2167, converted to Blackburne power thus creating the only short 8' 6" chassis six-cylinder car. The unit used was DB113 which had initially been installed in chassis 2137 belonging to fellow 'Nash aficionado T.A.W. Thorpe. Chassis 2137 then acquired EA107 and similarly chassis 2111 (our car) obtained DC127. It would make sense if these engine swaps were performed in a similar time frame so as to avoid the cars in question being off the road for too long. The advantage to Fane and Thorpe of getting DB113 and EA107 respectively was that they were both 1,500cc units and so highly competitive in 1,100cc - 1,500cc events, whereas the larger Blackburnes such as DC127 at 1,657cc were forced to run in the 1,500cc - 2,000cc class. Though, in accepting DC127, the Moore family who are not on record as competing with chassis 2111 did get a new powerplant and one that has lasted rather well! Upgraded with Riley RM con-rods and Riley 9 pistons by Stoyel in 1981, it was last stripped and inspected during the Mather ownership when it was apparently found to be in good order and subsequently re-assembled with new gaskets and seals etc. More recent work has seen chassis 2111 treated to a replated radiator shell in 1997 (381.88), a new radiator honeycomb core in 1998 (933.68) and a refurbished clutch assembly / overhauled starter motor etc in 1999 (986.20) together with some remedial paintwork. Still sporting Bosch headlamps, this wonderful first generation six-cylinder 'Nash is offered for sale complete with history file.

Lot Details
Auction Van Dijk Collection
H&H Sales Limited, Syon Park, Brentford
Lot Number027
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£60000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberAMT 413
Chassis number2111
Engine numberDC127
Engine capacity (cc)1667
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors