Lot 251

London 2023

1952 Frazer Nash Targa Florio


£400,000 - £500,000 GBP | Not Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
Engine No.
BS1 109
  • One of the finest British sports cars of the early Fifties; one of 10 Targa Florio Mk 1s produced
  • Displayed by Frazer Nash at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show
  • Raced by Briggs Cunningham’s eponymous team at the 1953 12 Hours of Sebring
  • Presented with its matching-numbers engine and original body
  • Fully restored by Nick Finburgh of Classic Autos
  • Recently raced at the Goodwood Revival and Members’ Meeting
  • Shown at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court, and toured on the Bassano Rally
Please note if this vehicle is exported outside of the UK an export license will be required.

Frazer Nash was a company that continually punched far above its weight—its cars claimed 3rd overall at the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans, and outright victory at both the 1951 Targa Florio and the inaugural running of the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1952. What was key for Frazer Nash was that it produced lightweight and agile cars, with relatively powerful 2-litre six-cylinder Bristol engines, all in a reliable package.

The Targa Florio model utilised a similar parallel-tube chassis to the Le Mans Rep Mk 2, clothed in a sporty closed-wheel body. Only 15 examples were built, 10 of which were the lighter Mk 1s. As a testament to Frazer Nash build quality and desirability, the vast majority of the 85 post-war cars still exist today.

Legendary American racer Briggs Cunningham placed an order for this Targa Florio, chassis number 412/200/175, during the summer of 1952. As a favour, Cunningham allowed Frazer Nash to display his car at the 1952 Earls Court Motor Show, and it was photographed for press reports at the factory. Delivered in Valentine San Remo Blue and Gran Turismo specification, it is clear this Targa Florio’s competition life was planned from the start as it was fitted from new with features such as a single windscreen for the driver, bonnet louvres, and a lightweight body; it is believed to be the lightest example produced. After the show, the Targa Florio was shipped to Cunningham preparer Alfred Momo in time for its first race, and the competition debut for the model.

Cunningham had high hopes for the 1953 12 Hours of Sebring. He fielded one Cunningham C4-R, an OSCA MT4, and this Frazer Nash Targa Florio, all in different classes to give him the greatest chances of success. The C4-R took overall victory, while the MT4 scored class victory. The Targa Florio, in the hands of John Bennett and Charles Moran Jr., was on course for a potential class win until its wheel nuts worked loose due to the unrelenting bumpy surface of Sebring’s airfield.

After the Sebring race, the hubs were replaced so this Targa Florio changed from running on steel wheels to wires. To accommodate the larger wheels, the wheel arches were very subtly flared out, creating a sportier appearance. Moran was clearly besotted with the Nash so he purchased it from Cunningham.

During 1954, Moran put it to good use at the SCCA races at Westover, finishing 7th in the big-engine race behind a Ferrari 375 MM, a 225 S, and some Jaguars. Moran would run his Targa Florio in SCCA races at Cumberland and Montgomery through to 1956, but the most important race appearance in his ownership would be the 1954 Watkins Glen GP where this Frazer Nash was on the grid with some of the finest sports cars in America.

Following Moran’s passing in 1970, this Frazer Nash passed through two owners before being imported back to England in 1986 by respected Frazer Nash restorer, Bill Roberts. Roberts proceeded to restore the Targa Florio before selling it to David Hargreaves in 1995. Eventually it was sold to famed racer John Coombs, who carried out another restoration including a full rebuild of its original BS1 engine. It is known that Coombs used this Targa Florio as one of his favoured road cars in the final two years of his life, particularly for journeys to Goodwood, before his passing in 2013.

In 2015 the car was sold to Guy Harman, who commissioned Nick Finburgh of Classic Autos to restore this wonderful Targa Florio back to its period specification, including its correct Valentine San Remo Blue, single-windscreen configuration. Since the restoration, this Targa Florio has competed in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy at the Goodwood Revival. Other events include the Goodwood 77th Members’ Meeting, La Leggenda Di Bassano 2019, and the 2019 Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court.

Very few Frazer Nashes formed part of such as famous team as Cunningham, let alone competed in one of the major sports car races of the period. This highly authentic Targa Florio is presented with its matching-numbers chassis, engine (in road tune) and body, and would make the perfect tool for some of the finest events in the world from the Monaco Grand Prix Historique to the Colorado Grand.

1952 Frazer Nash Targa Florio Race Results     
MacDill - SCCA 6 Hours of MacDill21 February 1953BS CunninghamCunningham72DNA
Sebring - 12 Hours of Sebring8 March 1953BS CunninghamBennett/Moran58DNF
Westover - SCCA National Westover EM13 June 1954Charles MoranMoran657th
Westover - SCCA National Westover EM>DM13 June 1954Charles MoranMoran657th
Watkins Glen - International Sports Car Grand Prix of Watkins Glen18 September 1954Charles MoranMoran17916th
Cumberland - SCCA National Cumberland EM15 May 1955Charles MoranMoran24714th
Cumberland - SCCA National Cumberland EM20 May 1956Charles MoranMoran1914th
Montgomery - SCCA Regional Montgomery Sports19 August 1956Charles MoranMoran113th
Montgomery - SCCA Regional Montgomery EM19 August 1956Charles MoranMoran110th