Motor SportNovember 1931
THE T.T. FRAZER-NASH
LATEST VERSION OF POPULAR 1,500 c.c. CAR
THERE are some motor cars which differ only in detail from other makes of the same size and while satisfying their owners do not so inspire them as to prevent them ever wanting anything else.
Built for the job. The T.T. Frazer-Nash which has a maximum speed in the neighnourhood of 90 m.p.h.
On the other hand there are a few makes of sports cars which are so outstandingly individual in their design and performance that an owner, once used to their ways, becomes enthusiastic to such a degree that he considers his car the only one of its type worth having.
It is to the latter category that the Frazer-Nash belongs, and always has from its inception. It is a car about which motorists may argue and wrangle, but about which they are bound to have a very definite opinion. If you like it, you like it very much indeed, and we have yet to meet a keen a sports car owner who did not like driving one of the latest models.
Many and fierce have been the arguments among motorists as to whether chain drive is suitable in theory or practice, but such arguments dissolve in praise after a run in the car. Incidentally chain drive is one of the most efficient forms of transmission extant, and is very light for a given power, but in the case of the Frazer-Nash such points are entirely forgotten in the remarkable efficiency with which the vehicle operates as a whole.
As the T.T. type car is now in production as a standard model, it was one of these cars which we took out for a road test, and which we must admit left us as enthusiastic about it as the most rabid owner.
The main features of this car follow the lines already familiar to MOTOR SPORT readers, in that it incorporates the unique dog clutch gear with a final chain drive for each gear, which has long been a feature of this make. The power unit is an unsupercharged O.H.V. unit of normal layout with pushrod operated valves and two carburettors. Four forward speeds and reverse are fitted, and owing to the principle used all gears are as silent as top, being equally direct but merely of different ratio. This arrangement also gives the very valuable property of being able to alter any gear ratio without affecting the others. The advantage of this to an owner who goes in for competition work hardly need stressing. With the same car he goes in for trials, speed hill climbs, or road races, as well as using it for normal road work.
The standard gear ratios of a 4-speed Frazer-Nash are 11.5, 7, 4.8 and 3.7, but all these are optional and can be varied to suit individual requirements. On the T.T. model a low gear of 10 to 1 is fitted and owing to the light weight of the car (approx. 13 cwt.) this is fully low enough, and the getaway and acceleration are really remark able. 10 30 m.p.h. on this rather high bottom gear takes 4 seconds, but if the clutch is slipped and the engine revved up, as one would normally do when getting away from such a low speed, this time can be reduced to a fraction over 3 secs. 60 m.p.h. can be reached from the same speed in well under half a minute through the gears.
These figures give some idea of the terrific "pep" of the model, but no figures can give a full impression of the fascination of driving the car. The high-geared, dead accurate steering, the low build, and excellent weight distribution inspire one with complete confidence in the car and in oneself. Alter a short spell of driving one finds oneself doing things safely and neatly which one would never dare to attempt in the majority of cars.
Corners merely encourage the driver to prove the car's stability. One of the best things about the car's cornering is the way it can either be coaxed round in a gentlemanly fashion, or deliberately thrown into a controlled skid as and when required. This is a great help in a tight corner, as the slowing effect of the skid and the fact that a slight movement of the wheel corrects it with ease and certainty, means that one can "get away with it," under the most awkward conditions.
By this we do not wish to convey the impression that it is the sort of car in which one is always getting into difficulties, but merely that it is so inherently safe that one cannot help taking liberties with it.
The driving position, like other fatures of the new Frazer-Nash makes an immediate appeal to
the sporting motorist.
A further attraction when scrapping on the road is the ease of gear changing. Owing to the dog-clutch arrangement, changes up can be pulled right through without a pause, and the downward change is also practically fool-proof. Our only criticism of this change is a slight tendency to "hang" when trying to get out of gear when overrunning the engine, as when changing down for a corner. We soon got used to this, however, and found a touch of throttle at the right moment made it slip out easily.
Experience of older Frazer-Nashes has showed us that this tends to get easier with use. However, the car we tried had only done the Double-Twelve, a few Brooklands races, "round the mountain" events, high speed trials, and the Ulster T.T., and judging by the service some owners extract from these cars might still be considered fairly new.
We have not yet mentioned the maximum speed, as the acceleration and road holding were the first things we noticed, but for a 1,500 c.c. engine they are rather remarkable especially as excessive revs, are never resorted to. The maximum speed on the level was just under 90 m.p.h., but with a slight downhill gradient 95 m.p.h. was easily attained.
This car has been officially timed in a race to lap Brooklands at 91.72 m.p.h., so that it has every right to be placed in the exclusive class of genuine 90 m.p.h. sports cars. Another interesting fact is that it will comfortably exceed 80 m.p.h. on third !
Taken all round it is an ideal sports car for the competition enthusiast who also wants to use his car on the road, and its performance can only be fully appreciated by actual trial. The works are at London Road, Isleworth, and the price of the model with 3-speeds is £425, and with 4-speeds £445.
Frazer Nash Boulogne in Double Twelve race at Brooklands. Did not finish.
J.C.C.'s Day at Brooklands