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The HRG 1500

HRG 1500

In 1935 three racing drivers, who raced together on the Brooklands circuit, got together with the intention of making and selling racing/sports cars. They were called Ted Halford, Guy Robins and Henry Ronald Godfrey. Perhaps unimaginatively they decided to name their company and cars after their own surname initials; and HRG (known to its many fans as the HURG) was born.

This was not a sophisticated car by any stretch of the imagination. The truth was that the design of it was completely out of date. However it was fun to drive, and handled corners easily, which enabled it to have at least one advantage over bigger and more powerful cars. This set it apart from sports cars with more modern designs, which had become less 'sporting', heavier and less responsive.

Godfrey had been in business in the past with his friend Archibald Frazer–Nash Manufacturing lightweight cycle cars and sports cars and the design of the HRG reflected his earlier experiences. It had a rugged chassis composed of two C-section channels running the length of the car, braced by tubular cross members. There was an ash frame beneath the bodywork which was designed to be flexible. The car handled very well, and became popular with amateur racing drivers who competed in events such as the Monte Carlo rallies, Brooklands, RAC rallies, Le Mans, etc.

The first model, with a Meadows 1500 cc engine, was also cheap, at around half the cost of the equivalent 1500 cc Aston Martin, and it was lighter too, by almost 1000 pounds. Eventually the old Meadows engine was replaced with a Singer Twelve engine (the 12 referred to the taxation horsepower class, not the number of cylinders) and subsequently the Singer Roadster engine. At the same time an 1100 cc variant was introduced.

The company's racing team had a fair measure of success. In 1938 a 1500cc was the most successful British car in the Le Mans 24 hour race, and then the following year they actually won the 1500 cc class.

When the Second World War ended production restarted, using the same designs as before. A new model, called the Aerodynamic was also introduced; this was not terribly successful however since the aluminium body couldn't counteract the flexing that was built into the basic structure.

The company ceased manufacturing sports cars in 1956; by that time 241 cars have been sold, the majority of which are still in existence today. They continued for another 10 years as an engineering company but ceased trading in 1966. Perhaps uniquely amongst all British car manufacturers, the HRG Engineering Company not only managed to stay solvent, but actually made a profit right up to the end of it's life.

Many of the HURGs still in existence are still in regular use in classic trials and Vintage Sports Car Club events.

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