John Gordon's "Mystery Car"

From John Gordon:  "Early 1950's aluminum bodied racer?  I purchased this car earlier this year north of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  It was reported to have raced at Mosport.  The car appears to be factory made (i.e pressed aluminum dash, hinges, hood release, roller gas pedal etc.) but to date I haven't been able to identify this car." 

More from John:  "The body, at some time in its life, was transplanted onto a 1976 Corvette chassis. The chassis was elongated to accommodate the body. The firewall was damaged and there were no identifying #'s or markings."

(6-30-08)  From John Gordon:  "I was hoping you could add some additional information to my listing that might solve the mystery.  The car measures 156 1/2 inches in length (1/2 inch shorter than an Austin Healey 3000)! with a width ranging between 66 & 68 inches 
(original car)."

"The body has been modified:  The front wheel wells cut to accommodate the Corvette tires; headlight pockets cut into the front fenders; aluminum gusset plates added to widen the rear end; the windshield frame is not original; an aluminum rear bumper was added;      Honda steering wheel etc."
"It has many features of other early 50's factory race cars and its distinctive "parrot's beak" front end hopefully will help solve the mystery."
"The car is left hand drive and the rear lights and front turn indicator pockets appear original." 
"This is a rendering of how the car might have looked in its glory days."  If you can help John identify his car Please email me!
(2-2-09)   From Darrell Wilhelm:

"My name is Darrell Wilhelm, and I am a regular at and aficionado of sports and GT cars with 1500cc or smaller engines, who has a very likely solution to John Gordon's mystery car. 

The car is most likely a Frazer-Nash Fast Tourer roadster**, circa approximately 1949-56. The Frazer-Nash was also 156 1/2 inches in length, had a petrol tank between the cockpit and boot like this car, it had the same style of grille, but with horizontal bars rather than the eggcrate design in the illustration, it had a full-height curved windshield, an aluminum body with low doors and driving lights beside the grille like John's car has holes for, in addition to two conventional Lucas headlamps in the front fenders and was sometimes seen with left-hand-drive, and the car came new with a 2-liter Bristol straight- six that was designed for the BMW 328 sports car before World War II and came to Bristol Aeroplane Co. along with plans and patents for the 328's chassis, transmission, other parts and the services of former BMW engineer Fritz Fiedler as war reparations, the chassis was a tubular steel affair rather than the BMW 328-derived box-section unit that Bristol still uses today on their Brittania coupes, the spare wheel was stored in one of the front fenders, and the car would have come new with a leather interior. 

The suspension in the back was comprised of a live axle with torsion bars, and the front suspension was independent with a transverse leaf spring and wishbones. I hope that this information will be of use to John, and please forward it to him and/or place it on your website."

(2-3-09)  ** More from Darrell Wilhelm:

"I have a correction to make about John's car. It is actually a Frazer-Nash Sebring, which is even rarer with only 3 made, but all dimensions and statistics are the same. I did more research, and the Sebring is shaped exactly like John's car, where the Fast Tourer is shaped more like a chunkier version of an A.C. Ace or Shelby Cobra, but with a Riley RM-like grille and MGA-like windshield. Please correct my post with this information when you have the time."

(2-5-09)  From Frazer Nash enthusiast Bob Schmitt:

Just got a reference on this from Ron Cummings.  The car has many style elements similar to my Frazer Nash, a Mille Miglia.  Some similar elements also are on the Sebring, but it's definitely not a Targa Florio or Le Mans Coupe.  Windshield frame is nothing ever seen on a FN.

But I keep current with all post war Frazer Nash cars through the registrar/archivist in England, Jim Trigwell and all Mille Miglias and Sebrings are accounted for.  See:

Only car like this missing is the Spyder, last known with the Shah of Iran.  Unlikely this is it!

Perhaps someone copied a Frazer Nash long ago.  I expect we'll hear from Jim Trigwell with a more informed opinion.

(2-6-09)   From Jim Trigwell:

"Definitely not a Frazer Nash body (although it would be wrong to say it is not a Frazer Nash chassis until we have seen a photo of that - but very unlikely; only one Nash was left-hand drive and only two had coil spring front suspension).

Apart from the fact that it does not look like a Frazer Nash, all Fast Tourers (there was only one!), Sebrings (three) and Mille Miglia (eleven) are fully accounted for.   Altogether there were 80-odd Nashes made post-war and we know what they all looked like and where they are. Sorry.

Best regards, James Trigwell
Registrar, Frazer Nash Archives, Henley-on-Thames, England

(7-17-09)   More from Darrell Wilhelm:

"I have a little bit more on John Gordon's mystery roadster.  John's car appeared very similar to a Kellison J4 roadster, and although I was told of the fact that Jim Kellison used aluminum to make his prototypes by a friend who is the owner of a beautifully-restored Kellison X300GT, Steve from the Kellison Registry (if this old tired brain can recall correctly) said that he knew of no cars similar to John's. 

I also tossed around the ideas of it being a Nardi-Alfa of 1940s-early-1950s vintage or a Veritas, neither of which matched up when I compared them to pictures of restored Nardi and Veritas cars. However, John and I have been in contact, and we are tentatively saying that is a Tojeiro Special due to the visible A.C. Ace and Jaguar C- and D-type influences and the fact that John Tojeiro produced race cars to order, many of which went to North American drivers. However, we are not absolutely certain, and I am awaiting a response from marque expert Graham Gauld regarding John's car."

(9-13-09)  From Hugh Nutting:

"It's my guess that if the body is steel, the rear quarters were formed using 1940 Hudson rear fenders and tail lights".

(11-8-09)   More from Darrell Wilhelm:

"I have a little more regarding John Gordon's car for you.  John heard back from Graham Gauld, who said that if the body was a Tojeiro product, that it would have been produced for somebody who already had an engine and would have had a proprietary chassis, such as a Buckler or an R.G.S. Atalanta, used as the underpinning for the body, and Mr. Tojeiro would not have affixed a serial number to the body. More about the car's possible background was told to me by John himself, such as the fact that he had to move the firewall about 6" back to accommodate him, meaning that the person the car was built for was short in stature, specifically, around 5'4", considering that John himself said he was 5'10".

Looking back at the pictures, the front marker lights seem to be off-the-shelf Lucas items, although I cannot be sure without seeing lenses, or better yet, the car in person, the petrol filler cap looks similar to that used on a 1950s Triumph TR2 or TR3, and the windshield wiper stanchions appear to be standard 1950s-era Lucas or Smiths parts as used on many British cars and a few Continental European cars of the era.

If indeed the car had a proprietary chassis along the lines of an R.G.S. or a Buckler, then the engine may well have been a Ford Anglia sidevalve, a Riley or Lea-Francis four, an Austin A40 overhead-valve four, or an MG XPAG, and the comparatively small bonnet opening seems to rule out a six- or eight-cylinder engine. A Jowett flat-four also seems possible due to the low front-end profile, and there is an off chance that a complete Jowett Jupiter chassis could also have been used, especially considering that they are of space-frame construction and that Jowett flat-fours were notoriously unreliable back in the day."

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