1949 HRG Le Mans Lightweight
Serial Number: HLO 168
Frame Number: W80
Engine Number: 2116
Logbooks: English Logbook, FIA
Condition: Concours Excellent
Price: $73,500£ (approx $ 118,000 USD)
DescriptionThis open two seater with cycle mudgaurds is finished in Green with Black wheels. It features an H.R.G. 1-1/2 litre twin overhead camshaft 100 B.H.P. engine mated to a four speed gearbox. This lovely car was completely restored 1996. It is taxed in the U.K. for road use and ready to race. The recorded mileage since 1996 is approximately 2000 miles.
This car was originally built in 1946 as an all enveloping 'aerodynamic' bodied model and was one of the first to be sold.
The car was originally purchased by Peter Clark, who had experienced much success before the war with Marcus Chambers, winning the 1-1/2 litre class at Le Mans in 1939. In 1947, he campaigned the car in international events, notable successes being a 3rd place in the Grand Prix des Frontieres at Chimay and winning the Isle of Man Empire Trophy Team prize.
In 1948, a 4th place at Chimay was followed by a 4th in class and the team prize at the Spa 24 hour race. At this race, the innovative team leader Clark arranged for the cars to carry two-way radios to aid team tactics and pit work. Common place today, HLO 168 is probably the first racing car ever to carry such equipment. The year was completed with the Paris 12 hour race at Montlhery with a 3rd in class.
For 1949, Peter Clark decided on another serious attempt at Le Mans and used HLO 168 as a prototype for a new body. The Aerodynamic body was removed and a lightweight body with fully exposed wheels and a small frontal area was designed and built by Monaco Motors under the direction of John Wyer. All details and measurements were to conform exactly to the FIA sports car rules of the era.
Three identical cars were entered under the team name 'Ecurie Lapin Blanc'. They were prepared with the sole idea of racing for 24 hours and winning. The standard engine was mildly modified and much attention was paid to lightness. During the race HLO 168 unfortunately broke down but Eric Thompson and Jack Fairman went on to win the 1500 cc class and finish 8th overall in their similar car.
Immediately after the race, the cars were transported to Brussels and overhauled in preparation for the Spa-Francorchamps 24 hour race, only two weeks later. A repeat performance in this race produced another 1500 cc class win, the team prize and the Richard Seaman Cup for best placed British cars. This success for team manager John Wyer was to start a long association with endurance racing leading to his management of the Gulf Racing GT 40's in the 1960's.
On return to England in 1949, the cars competed in the first ever Goodwood members meeting and were raced in several other meetings before being sold as a team. HLO 168 was acquired by David Blakely, an up and coming driver, who raced the car successfully in many events including the Goodwood 9 hour race in both 1952 and 1953.
In 1952, HRG Engineering developed a potent twin cam version of the 1500 cc engine and this was tried and evaluated in Blakely's car. It was quick in his hands, but during this period he gained fame after being murdered by Ruth Ellis, who became the last woman to be hanged in Britain.
After Blakely's death the twin cam engine was retrieved by the HRG works and the car fell on hard times until being purchased by the current owner in 1973. After a long very detailed rebuild the car has been reunited with the unique twin cam engine and is now in the form that Blakely drove.
Today, the car performs well with 100 bhp available and a running weight of 13d cwt. It has undergone much road use and some track testing to sort out details, handling and gearing for competition use. No bolt or bearing has been left untouched and all work has been carried out to the highest standards. The bodywork now incorporates discrete framing for durability. It is eligible for VSCC 1950's sports car races and many other club events.
HL0 168 is possibly the most extensively raced HRG and carries a fine and well documented history. Many of the original reports written on the cars and the races have been collected by the current owner. This is a rare opportunity to purchase an important part of the early post war scene and a true British Le Mans competing car.
|15/6/46||COAC Gransden Races||1st 1500cc class|
|22/9/46||Prescott Hill Climb||3rd 1500cc class|
|25/5/47||G.P. de Frontierer Chimay||3rd under 2 ltr class|
|21/8/47||IOM Empire Trophy||Team Prize|
|9/5/48||G.P. de Frontierer Chimay||4th and fastest lap|
|10-11/7/48||Spa 24 HR Race||4th 1500cc class and team prize|
|12/9/48||Paris 12 HR Montlhery||3rd 1500cc class, winning team|
|25/5/48||10M Manx Cup||7th Place|
|As a Lightweight (Current Body)|
|25-26/6/49||Lemans||Retired 11 Laps|
|9-10/7/49||Spa 24 HR||4th 1500cc Class Team Prize|
|4/50||BARC GOODWOOD||4th 3 Lap scratch|
|With David Blakely|
|28/7/51||A.M.O.C. Silverstone||5 Lap H/Cap 1st|
|29/8/51||750 mc 6hr relay||3rd Chiltern HEA Team|
|10/7/52||Jersey International Road Race||22nd overall 5th in Class|
|16/8/52||GOODWOOD 9hr Race||4th in Class|
|22/8/53||GOODWOOD 9hr Race||Retired|
|GOODWOOD Members Meeting|
|22/3/52||5 Lap Handicap||3rd|
|17/5/52||5 Lap Scratch||4th|
|17/5/52||5 Lap Handicap||4th|
|7/6/52||Eight Clubs Silverstone 5 Lap Scratch||1st|
|With Twin Cam Engine|
|19/9/53||1/2 Litre Crstal Palace Sports Cars up to 1500cc||3rd|
|17/10/53||West Essex CC Snetterton 5 Lap Scratch||3rd|
|17/10/53||West Essex Snetterton 5 Lap Handicap||2nd|