1947 HRG 1500
H&H Classics | 12-Oct-2016 | Imperial War Museum Duxford | Venue : Duxford Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR
Category : Classic Cars
Lot No. : 131
Year : 1947
Engine Size : 1500cc
Colour : B.R.G.
Interior : Green
Registration No. : JGO 463
Chassis No. : W118
Engine No. : C153Q
No longer available - Sold or withdrawn from sale


- 'The Old Lady' - sold new to John Gott and used extensively in period competition
- Winner of a Coupe Des Alpes on the 1951 Alpine Rally
- Veteran of four Alpine Rallies 1948 - 1951, current family ownership since 1961
Founded in 1936, the H.R.G. Engineering Co. Ltd. drew its name from the initials of its founders - Major Ted Halford (a contributor to the Vale Special project), Guy Robins (formerly of Trojan) and Ron Godfrey (the G in GN and the Godfrey in Godfrey & Proctor). The newcomer initially operated from the Mid-Surrey Gear Company in Norbiton and the design of its products was clearly influenced by the GN and Frazer-Nash motorcars in which Godfrey had previously been involved. The first offering was a traditionally-styled open two-seater sports car with front-mounted 1496cc OHV Meadows 4ED engine mated to a four-speed Moss gearbox and driving through an ENV spiral bevel axle. The chassis members were bought in from Rubery Owen and the steering gear sourced from Marles, while most of the aluminium over ash frame bodies were manufactured by Reall of West London. Priced at £395, the 1.5 litre HRG was half the cost of the equivalent Aston Martin and some 1,000 pounds lighter.
During 1936, the company established its own premises at Tolworth in Surrey. Two years later it launched the '1100' that was powered by a 1074cc 10hp OHC Singer unit and in 1939, as supplies of the Meadows engine dried up, it opted for Singer's 1496cc 12hp engine for what it now called its '1500' model. Car production resumed after the war and continued until 1956, with the business soldiering on for a further ten years in an engineering consultancy capacity. Figures for total production vary, but were in the region of 240, of which some 90 percent are said to survive today.
Supplied new by Follet of Mayfair with Aerodynamic coachwork to renowned race and rally driver and later Chief Constable of Northamptonshire, John Gott, there can be few HRGs with such an illustrious period competition history as JGO 463. Successes include an Open Team Award on the 1948 Alpine Rally, 3rd in class in the 1949 Alpine Rally, fastest 1500 on the Stelvio and Vars Passes in the 1950 event following removal of the Aerodynamic bodywork, 1st in class and winner of a Coupe Des Alpes in the 1951 Alpine Rally - the first British 1500 to win such a prestigious award, and 4th in class (without loss of marks) in the 1952 Tulip Rally. The car competed in a 1950 production car race at Silverstone and was campaigned in numerous other events both national and International before John Gott sold 'The Old Lady' to A S Macdonald in 1954. In 1961 it came into the possession of Mr Roy Keevil who gave it to his son, Michael, in 1978. On his death in 1986 it passed to his widow, Mrs Carol Ann Keevil, and upon her remarriage it was registered in her new name of Lawrence. The car has therefore been in her family for over 55 years.
In the late 1980s Mrs Lawrence sent the car to Forres in Scotland to be looked after by ex-HRG employee and restorer, Dick Watson, who was a family friend. During this period various works were carried out before the car went on display at the Atwell Motor Museum in Calne, Wiltshire, between 1992 and 1998. Following her retirement, Mrs Lawrence brought the car home and used it on occasional outings and events, with servicing being carried out by her husband, a retired qualified motor engineer with guidance and advice from Dick Watson. Most recent works include attention to the brakes and the fitment of a full set of made to measure wool carpets bound and gaitered.
The car is accompanied by an extensive history file including correspondence from John Gott confirming his ownership and some of the car's exploits, buff logbook from 1958, assorted records of work carried out since 1961, numerous invoices, expired MoTs and other sundry correspondence. More recent invoices include re-trimming of the interior in 1999 and replacement of the carpets at a cost of over £1,000 in 2016.
In recent years the car has been used on a number of rallies and events including the 2011 Cotswold Classic. Offered with Swansea V5C document, this historic HRG is 'on the button' and ready to be enjoyed.