HRG sports car (Roadster and Aerodynamic)
|Production||1936 to 1956|
|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Front engine, rear drive|
HRG sports Car Built: Tolworth, England, from 1936 to 1956
Messrs Halford, Robins and Godfrey came together in 1935, set up a small business in Surrey, and began selling limited numbers of small, hard-sprung and stark little sports cars. These models, appropriately named HRGs, remained in production without serious change for twenty years. All the partners were renowned enthusiasts, Godfrey having been the 'G' in the GN concern, Robins having been associated with Trojan, and Halford being an engineer and Brooklands racing enthusiast.
The prototype HRG was revealed in 1935, and the first production cars were delivered in 1936. The basic design was clearly influenced by Godfrey's GN experience, though the HRG was an altogether better-equipped car. Prewar cars were sold with Meadows engines at first, but an overhead camshaft Singer unit was offered from
1938. The HRG was re-introduced after the Second World War in virtually unchanged form. It featured a simple ladder-style chassis frame, and very hard suspension of front and rear beam axles by leading quarter-elliptic springs (front) and half-elliptic springs (rear).
The style was strictly '1930s traditional', which meant that it was narrow, draughty, and completely functional, without such niceties as a heater or glass sidescreens. There was a choice of engines until 1950, after which only the 1496cc engine was available. The other engine was a 1074cc design, both being bought in from Singer of Coventry, both having single overhead camshaft valve gear but a typically 1930s 'long-stroke' layout, and both were capable of being tuned to give higher outputs.
The HRG, though not at all aerodynamic, was very light, and its engines were ideally sized for competition in the 1100cc and 1500cc competition classes. HRGs, therefore, were popular for sports car racing and for rallying though in truth they were a little bit cramped and fragile for the rough and tumble of major rallies. For all that, the HRGs achieved remarkable success in the 1940s and early 1950s.
HRG only ever made one concession to modernity, by introducing the 'Aerodynamic' model for 1946. This was a streamlined but simple full-width bodyshell built on the original narrow-based chassis. The two components did not seem to suit one another very well, nor did the customers rush to buy, and only 30 were sold. In this respect, HRG had the same experience as did Morgan with the Plus Four Plus in the 1960s.
Production was at its height in 1946 and 1947, when there was a huge pent-up demand for this sort of car, during which HRG delivered more than 70 cars, which was the limit of the resources and man power of the little factory near the Kingston By-Pass in Surrey. By 1949, however, only 14 cars were delivered, and thereafter production was still to special order. The last car of all was built in 1956. HRG never replaced their original and popular design, of which about 240 cars were built in total, though a prototype with a Vauxhall engine was constructed in the
1960s. HRG had also been tempted to use the Singer twin-cam engine during the 1950s, but this engine died almost as soon as it was revealed.
HRG sports car Aerodynamic streamline
Engine and transmission: Four-cylinders, in-line, with single overhead camshaft cylinder head, built by Singer. Two sizes of engine: (1100) Bore, stroke and capacity 60 x 95mm., 1074cc. Maximum power 40bhp (net) at 5200rpm. (1500) Bore, stroke and capacity 68 x 103mm., 1496cc. Maximum power 61bhp (net) at 4800rpm.; maximum torque 711b.ft. at 2000rpm. Four-speed manual gearbox in unit with engine. Spiral bevel final drive.
Chassis: Front engine, rear drive. Separate chassis frame, with channel section side- members. Front suspension of tubular beam axle by leading quarter-elliptic leaf springs. Worm-type steering. Suspension of rear live axle by half-elliptic leaf springs. Four-wheel drum brakes.
Bodywork: Coachbuilt, of wood framing, with light-alloy skin panelling. Most bodies of two-door traditional style two-seater open sports, but some 'Aerodynamic' types with two-door two-seater full-width open sports style, both by HRG. Open car: Length 12ft. Oin.; width 4ft. 7in.; height 4ft. 2in. Unladen weight (1100) 15101b. , (1500) 17501b.
(1500): Maximum speed 83mph. 0-60mph 18. Isec. Standing 1/4-mile approx 19.6sec. Typical fuel consumption 30mpg.
(1100): Maximum speed 73mph. 0-60mph 24.6sec. Typical fuel consumption 33mpg.