Hershey | Lot 114
1953 HRG 1500 WS Roadster
Offered from the collection of John Moir
$60,500 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
9 October 2014
- Offered from the collection of John Moir
- Ultimate late-specification car with a Singer engine and hydraulic brakes
- Originally owned and raced by American HRG representative Jack Wherry Sr.
- Superb elemental performance and handling
- Includes side curtains and tonneau cover
- Fun to own and drive; known as a “runner”
65 bhp, 1,496 cc SOHC four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid tubular front axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs, solid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 103 in.
After the collapse of the G.N. cyclecar concern, H. Ron Godfrey went on to partner with fellow racing driver Major Edward Halford and fellow automaker Guy Robins to form the H.R.G. Engineering Company. Together, they worked at developing a sports car that used a Meadows four-cylinder engine and was built on a rather primitive chassis that had a solid tubular front axle, a solid rear axle, and leaf-spring suspension in the front and rear, as well as cable-operated mechanical drum brakes on all four wheels. The suspension was stiff and unforgiving, but it allowed the HRG Roadsters to make up in the corners what they lost on the straightaways to the more powerful MGs.
Of the 241 cars produced in two decades of construction, the final 12 sent to the United States, of which the Moir Collection’s car is one, were powered by modified Singer short-stroke engines, which provided significantly better performance. Notes in its file indicate that this was the first of the twelve Singer-powered cars and that it was also factory-equipped with four-wheel Girling hydraulic drum brakes, as well as leather bonnet straps and optional motorcycle-style racing fenders.
In a letter to enthusiast Frank Faeth, a copy of which is on file, HRG Western Hemisphere Works Representative Jack Wherry Sr. writes that “WS.222 was one that I imported…I was the first owner and raced it quite a bit. It was a good runner. I later had it painted British Racing Green, and this is the car that I gave to my son, John.” The May 1971 HRG Owner’s News confirmed that the car would be accompanying Wherry Jr. to school at Northwestern, which, the editor remarked, was “fortunately…a progressive institution, which permits co-ed visits to the men’s dorms.”
Wherry Jr. eventually traded the HRG when buying a Ferrari, and it went on to be sold to Derek Durst, of North Kingston, Rhode Island, in whose ownership it regularly appeared at New England shows. It was acquired from Durst by Mr. Moir and has remained in the collection since. The car will be accompanied by exhaustive documentation from its Wherry racing-and-driving years and a collection of HRG Owner’s News back issues.
This HRG is a proud “runner” that has been well maintained and regularly exercised by members of the Moir family, and it is most certainly one of the most thrilling automobiles in the Moir stable.