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1935 Frazer-Nash BMW 319

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  • Stylish body drawing inspiration from the best of the 319 and 328, nicknamed ‘The Outlaw’

  • Retains its original chassis, engine, gearbox, brakes and axles

  • Recently subject to top-end overhaul and well-known in VSCC circles

Built between 1934 and 1937, the BMW 315 and 319 were important models not only for the German marque, but also Frazer Nash. Managing Director H.J. Aldington was so impressed after his chain-driven Frazer Nash cars had been beaten in the 1500cc class of the 1934 Alpine Trial that the company became BMW’s UK importer, starting a new chapter in its history. The 303 had been the first BMW to use a six-cylinder engine – as well as being the first to feature the famous ‘kidney’ grille – but it had a short production run and in 1934 it was replaced by the 315. This new model had an engine that had been enlarged to 1490cc, and the triple-carburettor Sports roadster was good for 40bhp and a top speed of 74mph. Other 315 models were fitted with a twin-carburettor engine that produced 34bhp, while the 319 had an enlarged 1911cc version of the same unit. When running on triple SU carburettors for the roadster model, it was good for 55bhp and a top speed of over 80mph.The basic specification was shared between 315 and 319, and included independent front suspension, rack and pinion steering, a synchromesh gearbox, and a live rear axle with semi-elliptic springs and hydraulic lever-arm dampers. Both models could be fitted with a variety of body styles, including a saloon and a convertible. It’s thought that only 26 examples of the 319 ‘open two-seater’ were imported into the UK, with the model discontinued in 1937.

This spectacular Frazer Nash-BMW 319 special is a well-known car within the Vintage Sports Car Club, having regularly competed in trials, hill climbs and driving tests. A 1983 letter from BMW to the car’s then-owner stated that chassis number 54158 was supplied to Frazer Nash’s Falcon Works in Isleworth on 3 July 1935. It was a right-hand-drive 319/ 45 two-seater Cabriolet, but it appears to have been almost five years before the car was first registered on 30 March 1940. At that point, it was given the number it still wears today – 'LMF 37'.

In the early 1960s, ‘LMF 37’ was acquired by a J.G. Shaw, who bought it from Bruce Hallsworth. The car had last been taxed in March of 1960 and Shaw would end up owning it for 40 years. In a 1993 letter to marque authority Mark Garfitt, Shaw wrote that he had started restoring the chassis, which he described as being ‘a real “from nuts and bolts” effort’. When Shaw sadly passed away, the project was taken on by his son. By 2003, he reported that ‘the chassis, motor and running gear of the car have been extensively overhauled/ renewed’ and that he was about to start rebuilding the body, which was said to be in a very poor state. Having decided that he didn’t have time to do it justice, he then sold the car to a new owner who also intended to complete the rebuild by restoring the original body. When his personal circumstances changed, however, he sold it to its next owner, who had a new aluminium body made by Jonathan Rose. Further work was carried out by Ashridge Automobiles and pre-war BMW specialist Steve White, with the engine being rebuilt and converted to shell bearings using later Bristol con-rods, while a Bristol high-capacity oil pump and remote oil filter were added. The gearbox, steering, suspension, dynamo and starter motor were all overhauled at the same time, and the wiring was renewed throughout. The car subsequently competed at various events, including the VSCC’s flagship Prescott meeting and the Brooklands New Year Driving Tests.

Still retaining its original chassis, engine, gearbox, brakes and axles and incorporating the original wings in its wonderful mix of 328 and 319 styling, ‘LMF 37’ is fondly nicknamed ‘The Outlaw’. Having recently been subject to a top-end overhaul including replacement valve stem guides, a replacement head gasket and water pump, as well as the manifold machined, a replacement clutch thrust bearing and a full service with Frazer Nash specialists Oliver Penny and Eddie Williams, the car is offered for sale with a photographic record of its restoration plus copies of correspondence with marque experts in which its long history is documented.

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