Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 132

1956 H.R.G. 1500 Alloy Roadster by St. Leonards

  • Chassis no. WS231
  • Engine no. 18GK E-H 24385

Sold for $121,000


94 bhp, 1,798 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with quarter-elliptical leaf spring suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 103 in.

  • The final iconic HRG sports model shipped from the factory
  • Fresh, comprehensive specialist restoration, in fine condition
  • Extensive documentation


The famous HRG marque achieved remarkable European racing successes at such important venues as Le Mans, Monte Carlo, and Coupe des Alpes, as well as in the United States at Bridgehampton, Palm Beach, Watkins Glen, and others.

The car offered here, chassis number WS231, was the last of the iconic HRG 1500s to be dispatched from the factory, shipped in July 1956. One of 12 ordered by “sole Northern Hemisphere importer” Jack Wherry, it languished at the Works while the customer, a Mr. Olson, hemmed and hawed over right-hand versus left-hand drive. By the time that he finally settled on right-hand drive, two later cars had been completed and shipped! Mr. Olson’s car was bodied by the St. Leonards Engineering Co., Ltd., a small coachbuilding firm located at St. Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex; a small brass threshold plate attests to this.

A prior owner of the car installed a 1,798-cubic centimeter BMC engine. In motorsports competition, more powerful and easily serviced powerplants are often fitted, as was the case here. The work was done, however, without any modifications to the body or chassis, and the original overhead-cam Singer engine is included in the sale.

The previous owner completed a two-year specialist restoration, during which all chassis, suspension, electrical, braking, and transmission components were seen to, as were the classic 16-inch wire wheels. The large high-temperature magnesium hydraulic brake cylinders have all been restored. Correct Brooklands aero screens were installed, along with Simpson 36-inch competition safety belts. All brightwork was tastefully renewed, including the rare nickel-plated rear bumper. The cockpit is done in correct new burgundy leather and is fitted with Wilton wool carpeting. The Jaeger instruments and Scottish Dalvey rally timing equipment were cleaned and recalibrated, as were the canvas top, side curtains, and boot. The bonnet has its original split-yoke strap, crafted of Highland Scottish leather. In addition, the car carries an eight-piece spanner tool wrap, Thor wheel knock-off hammer, Castrol oiler, and a spare spark plug set, all neatly niched under the bonnet.

Since completion in 2014, the car was enjoyed in a sporting fashion, including informal hillclimbs and gymkhanas in New England and extended comfortable touring. It comes with a complete record of the restoration work, a collection of Gaxette magazines published by the H.R.G. Association, an owner’s manual, a workshop manual, and an autographed copy of Ian Dussek’s definitive book, HRG: The Sportsman’s Ideal.

Just 241 HRG automobiles were built in the 22 years of production, certainly a rarity, even for craft-based manufacture. As the last “production car” to leave, this one has a special place in that history. The HRG Association carries a substantial stock of chassis and other parts, including spares for the original Singer engine, a comfort for the next owner.

Fully ready for competition, touring, or simple enjoyment, this HRG presents a chance to own one of the most iconic British sports cars.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more