Introduced in 1953, the Le Mans Coupe was the first closed production car from Frazer Nash. In essence a Targa Florio with a hard top, the coupe used the new parallel-tube chassis frame, wrapped in a striking alloy body.
Independent front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering and torsion bar rear suspension, the engine was, of course, the 2 Litre Bristol unit beloved by Frazer Nash. Of the nine cars completed, three would race at Le Mans, the Coupe taking its name from the success of the prototype in 1953.
FN197 was the penultimate of nine Le Mans Coupe’s, with first owner Anthony Twentyman lending the coupe to AFN for the 1954 Earls Court Motor Show. Correspondence on file shows the engine was specially built by Bristol for the car, upgraded from 7.5 to 8.5.1 compression ratio. The non-standard factory options included adjustable radiator slats, centre lock wheels, Al-fin brake drums, adjustable sliding seats and a ‘fly off’ handbrake.
Twentyman competed in FN197 throughout 1955-56, advertising it for sale in Bugantics with 24,000 miles in 1957. The second owner, F.P. Preece continued to campaign the Coupe at Prescott from 1958-60, whilst he third owner, Anthony Manuael, kept it for over 30 years until his death in 1995. The Frazer Nash, which by that point had been laid up for 20 of those years, was sold at the Brooks Olympia auction (the catalogue describing it as ‘time-warp’) in April 1995 to Gerry Montpellier of Lille, France. Richard Pilkington secured it at the 1999 Retromobile auction in France, before it was Bought in April 2001 by Peter Jay who restored to an exceptional level.
This highly original coupe is eligible for numerous events including the Mille Miglia, Le Mans Classic and Goodwood.