The HRG 1500’s life as a macho British roadster was cut short by World War II, but there’s no keeping a good car down. No sooner had VE day been wildly celebrated by a war-weary populace than the HRG 1500 was back, this time with a new body and impressive ‘Aero’ added to the name.
HRG was set up in 1936 by motor engineer Henry Ronald Godfrey (no prizes for guessing where the company name came from). Godfrey and Archie Frazer-Nash had made cycle cars together before World War I and formed a company in 1929 to supply the British forces, one notable product being the Frazer-Nash gun turret. But Godfrey also wanted to build cars for his Brooklands pals and created a wonderful 1.5-liter prototype in the best tradition of classic vintage sports cars.
Prewar examples had been resolutely old-fashioned even when new – but they appealed mightily to amateurs who liked to compete in the hill-climbs and road rallies that were then popular, perhaps with the odd track excursion thrown in. They were successful too, with their low-slung, lightweight bodies and tuned engines beating almost everything on those slippery hills.
The big wheeze for the postwar world was the 1500 Aero – the old chassis with an all-new aerodynamic teardrop body dreamed up (and hammered into shape) at HRG’s Surrey factory. It outshone its spartan predecessor in terms of home comforts – it even had wind-up windows – but sporty buyers were dismayed by a tendency for the bodywork to shake off during hill climbs and imbalance caused by fitting the fuel tank into a front wing. Some of the 35 Aeros HRG built were returned to be fitted with the traditional body, whilst the originals became a quirky footnote in the tale of British sports cars.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1945 (until 1947)
1,496 сс Straight Four
Top speed of 100 mph (161 km/h)
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
HRG also made an 1100 version of their fabled competition car, with tuned engines borrowed from Singer’s Nine Tourer (the 1500 engine саme from the Twelve Saloon) and though only some 250 cars were made during two decades their build quality may be judged by the fact that some 225 are still around.