Alan Fraser - 1963
1930 - 27th October 2010
Alan Fraser was born in 1930 of Scottish parents at Hildenborough, Kent. In the motorsport everywhere in the UK, he was known as 'The little hurricane', as he was likely to go through any competition circuit like a blast of wind. A particular style without compare.
At age 16, he was the owner of a Morgan 3-wheeler, and his first Sunbeam at 20. At 22 he drove with distinction (14th, 4th in class, 5 minutes behind 3rd) in the arduous 1952 International Alpine Trials, his first competition appearance. Both Jack Fairman and George Hartwell had been urging him to have a go.
In 1953 he started his motoring business at Mountains Garages on the A21 at Hildenborough, Kent.
Painting, Rootes calendar '67. (suppl.: J. ten Hoeve)
Text on the calendar with this picture: Record-Breaking Imp, Easter, 1966, at Britain's Brands Hatch circuit when Bernard Unett of the Alan Fraser Racing Team, set a lap record of 59.8 secs. and Imp thus became the first ever in its class to lap Brands in under the minute.
Graham Coomber, 29 Jul 1999
Frank I have just gone on line, found your site very interested as I was Ray Calcutt's mechanic. Still see Ray once a week. If you would like more info would be happy to chat. By the way the picture of Bernard Unett was in fact Ray Calcutt taken at the chicane at Snetterton. We still have the original Roots Poster which is the size of the car.
Ray Calcutt told Robin Human that it's actually him in this picture, not Bernard.
Stuart Kennedy, 21 May 2006
I was intrigued when I found this site for the fact that I am Bernard Unett's grandson. [...] The picture that shows the sub 1 minute lap of Brand's Hatch is in fact of Bernard Unett. I can clarify this since we are in possesion of the painting and it is definitly of my late grandfather - not Ray Calcutt.
The stag is the emblem of the Fraser clan
Alan Fraser had already had a successful competition carreer with Sunbeams when the Imp arrived on the scene in 1963. By that time he was le patron of a racing team, formed in 1962 with Sunbeam Rapiers. He himself did still turn out whenever possible with one of his own team cars to 'have a bit of a go'.
He was president of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club, and in 1965 he won the Brighton Speed Trials, driving one of his Tigers.
In 1963 Fraser was racing (as well as rallying) Rapiers, and though he had had considerable success with them, the appearance of the Lotus Cortina seemed to mark the last of the Rapier's racing days.
Fraser, as many others, looked at the Imp with some interest, impressed by the car's specifications and design. In the second half of 1964 he entered a virtually standard 875 Imp, with rally-modified suspension, for a couple of meetings with Rosemary Smith as driver - purely for test purposes.
In October Fraser and company devoted their time to the development of a 998 Imp for racing. They were sure that such an Imp could beat the Cooper 'S' and they were determined to prove it. Just eight months later the team had its first win ! Though another source says it was June 1965 before a Fraser Imp appeared on the circuits.
|A brief 'Who's who' of the drivers - spring 1966|
|Ray Calcutt, aged 28, lives at Hildenborough, Kent. Ex-police patrol driver, and signed as no. 1 driver for Alan Fraser in 1965. Scored eight victories, established new circuit records at Silverstone, Lydden and Brands Hatch in the competition Imp.|
|Jacqui Smith, 22. Freehand artist, specialises in painting cars and portraits of racing drivers. Began hillclimb and sprint events in 1964. Won her class easily in first drive in Fraser Imp, at Brands Hatch in February.|
|Nick Brittan, 29-year-old director of a London public relations consultancy. Entered motor racing after five years of go-kart racing, during which time he held the European Championship title.|
|Bernard Unett, 29-year-old Rootes Development Engineer, from Wolvey in Warwickshire. Started racing in 1961.|
|Peter Harper, while not an imp-racer in 1966 (or maybe he was, I don't know), he was part of the team. He used an Imp for rallycross.|
Development is a continuous proces, and as there were troubles to overcome, a few more things got changed. But the Imps remained surprisingly standard. The rear suspension was not altered at all, the swinging arms were only strengthened. Drive-shafts from the Imp Van were used, as those are stronger. They fitted stronger springs and adjustable Armstrong dampers, but the design and layout remained unchanged. (Summer '66 they tested a rear anti-roll bar - they may have kept it on...)
At the front, the pivot point was dropped, to keep the wheels more or less upright. Stronger springs were fitted, again with adjustable Armstrong dampers and a stronger anti-roll bar is used.
Sometime in the autumn of 1965 a well-known Mini-driver (who?) virtually wrote off the 2nd Fraser Imp when he tried it on a circuit.
In 1965 the Fraser team cars got 31 awards, including 9 first, in 27 events.
Late 1965: Bernard Unett in a 998 c.c. Fraser Imp at Brands Hatch was showing a 1299 c.c. Mini the way round on occasion of the 'Motor Show 200' meeting.
Standard body panels are used, but considerably lightened (though not shown in this photograph), by many strategically placed holes.
The Fraser Imp of late 1965 did the standing ¼ mile in 16.5 sec. (a standard Imp takes 23.0 sec.). The Webers and an oversized dynamo pulley are obvious.
Motoring journalist G.P. of Motor Sports went to Fraser's (Mountains Garage at Hildenborough in Kent) in November 1965 for a track test.
Both Fraser's no. 1 driver, Ray Calcutt and the chief mechanic, Norman Winn, came along to the test track.
The officials of the track were amazed at the amount of noise coming from the small car.
G.P. wrote that the Imp 'handled extremely well. The steeing was light, responsive and possitive, with little or no trace of the understeer normally associated with rear-engined cars'. The steering had been amended by a smaller diameter steering wheel and a lower column angle.
Alan Fraser's principle for racing development of the Hillman Imp was to keep as many original parts as possible - only when absolutely necessary were basic designs altered. The Imp suspension was perfected but not changed. The main tuning had been on the cylinder head and the camshaft. Brian Lovell, 'the Fraser Organisation', had designed these. A special unit of Rootes supplied the head, which had thicker walls to allow for any machining.
The 998cc engine give more than 90 bhp at 7500 rpm. At 6000 rpm 80 bhp is given - an indication of a useful torque curve. More figures or preciser ones were not obtained from the Fraser team.
At low speeds in high gears the Imp was reasonably flexible - more so than expected from a racing car. Some other racing Imp had the engine bottom up, but the Fraser engine is the right way up.
|inlet and exhaust ports||enlarged ports
|valve springs||double valve springs|
|cranshaft||balanced; no further change|
|clutch||6½ in. diameter, like the Singer Chamois and all standard Imps from that time on (earlier Imps had 5½ in.)|
|carburettion||2 twin choke Webers|
|exhaust||a 4-branch system, designed by Brian Lovell, Fraser's development engineer
a straight through 'silencer'
|radiator||moved under the bonnet
Hot water pipes run over the floor inside the car for a short way.
|oil cooler||moved under the bonnet|
|fuel pump||Bendix electric fuel pump, up front under the bonnet|
|suspension||lowered 1 ½ in.|
|anti-roll bar||up front
Fraser's own design
|gearbox||ratios of 3rd and 4th gear were changed
final drive ratio unaltered (?)
|distributor drive shaft||strengthened (after one broke at Goodwood)
|pulley||standard dynamo with enlarged pulley to reduce dynamo rpm|
|wheels||Dunlop 13 in. wheels|
|tyres||R7 tyres, rear: 5.50 x 13 in. ; front: 5.00 x 13|
|brakes||standard 8 in. drum brakes with Ferodo competition liners|
|lightened||all trim removed|
rear seats conform regulations
perspex windows to the side
Testing was done with the motoring journalist in the passenger seat and the bulk of the timing gear (and a bumper to attach it to).
|0 - 40 mph||4.5 sec.|
|0 - 60 mph||8.3 sec.|
|0 - 80 mph||14.7 sec.|
|Standing ¼ mile||16.5 sec.|
|Speed in gears|
the straights of the test track were not long enough
They got the Imp to 105 mph (169 kph), but this was before 7,500 rpm was reached. During the test 7,500 was set as the maximum rpm, although in a race 8,200 rpm was used - when pressed.
Ray Calcutt said that he got to 118 mph (190 kph) up the straight at Snetterton (calculated from rpm and gearing).
The last 7 firsts were consecutive.
|Date Firsts||Circuit||Sponsor||Type of Meeting||Driver||Results|
|3rd July||Goodwood||B.A.R.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt||1st|
|17th July||Oulton Park||B.R.S.C.C.||Restricted event||P. Brown
|1st (Fastest Imp)
Failed to finish
|12th Sep.||Brands Hatch||B.A.R.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt
|1st (lap record)
Failed to finish
|19th Sep.||Mallory Park||London M.C.||Restricted event||R. Calcutt||1st|
|26 Sep.||Lydden||Maistone & M.D. Kent M.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt
|1st (lap record)
|2nd Oct.||Brands Hatch (full circuit)||B.R.S.C.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt
Failed to finish
|9th Oct||Silverstone||B.A.R.C. and/or
|Closed event||R. Calcutt
|1st (lap record: 1 min. 13.8 sec.)
|10th Oct.||Mallory Park||Nott. Sports Car Club||Restricted event||R. Calcutt||1st (fastest lap)|
|17th Oct.||Mallory Park||B.R.S.C.C. & Mallory Park||Closed sprint||R. Calcutt
|1st (fastest lap)
Failed to finish
Because the editor of Motor Sport had been at Silverstone on 9th October, a track test appeared in the December issue.
|Date Firsts||Circuit||Sponsor||Type of Meeting||Driver||Results|
|27th June||Snetterton||B.R.S.C.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt||2nd|
|18th July||Mallory Park||B.A.R.C.||Closed event||P. Brown
|26th Sep.||Lydden (Handicap)||Maidstone & Mid Kent M.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt
|2nd (fastest lap)
|Date Firsts||Circuit||Sponsor||Type of Meeting||Driver||Results|
|19th June||Silverstone||B.A.R.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt
|31st July||Crystal Palace||B.A.R.C.||National British||R. Calcutt
|15th Aug.||Croft||B.A.R.C.||National British||R. Calcutt
|21st Aug.||Oulton Park||Chester M.C.||Restricted event||R. Calcutt
Failed to finish
|31st Oct.||Brands Hatch||B.A.R.C.||Closed event||R. Calcutt
Failed to finish
1965: a succesful season with 9 overall and 3 class wins in production car events.
Ray Calcutt: 8 wins and lap records at Silverstone, Lydden and Brands Hatch
Nick Brittan: 8 wins in his 1st car racing season with 'Green Bean' Anglia
Rootes had decided that they would like to enter Hillman Imps in saloon racing, but as their Competition Department was heavily involved in preparing rally cars, they had to use an outside tuning firm. Their choice fell upon Alan Fraser. December 1965 the Rootes Group and Alan Fraser signed a 3-year agreement for the Rootes Group's racing activities.
Fraser Imps also collected 7 sprint awards in the 1965 season.
standard engine lids, no Sport lids.
Alan Fraser (35)
Motor Racing said (sounding like they are quoting a Rootes Group press release) in their issue of February 1966 (on p.41):
Alan Fraser, head of the Alan Fraser Engineering Company, with headquarters at Hildenborough, Kent, has signed a three-year agreement with Rootes under which he will have the official backing of the Group's engineering and competition departments, and will be responsible for the Rootes racing programme both in Britain and overseas.
Alan Fraser, aged 35 and a former rally and racing driver, already has considerable experience of racing Imps, and in addition to entering Imp teams for an extensive programme of production car racing, he will also race other Rootes models in suitable events.
The Rootes rally programme is not affected by this new arrangement, and Marcus Chambers, as competitions manager, will still be responsible for these activities.
In 1966 the Fraser Imps had a packed programme - they were scheduled to be active almost every weekend until late October.
Nick Brittan, who had a column in 'Motor Racing' wrote (Febr. issue, p. 70):
Now that Rootes have officially joined the saloon car circus, the tri-corner between them, Ford and BMC should bring back an awful lot of fun and drama to saloon car racing. If the cars ever get out of the scrutineering bay. Ho hum... we shall see.
Alan Fraser said: "I think we're in for an interesting season."
In his column of the April issue, Nick wrote: "I've signed with the Alan Fraser team to run Imps this year, both in club and Group 5 events. So once the season really begins to swing, there should be some more newsworthy news about."
The test house, Competition Department and stores were housed in a couple of farm buildings in the spring of 1966, but there were plans to move to somewhere more convenient. They were trying to get more than 95 bhp from the 998cc. They were modifying the camshaft and re-working the cylinder head.
In 1966 the Saloon Car Championship went to Group 5. The public expected that the Fraser Imps would not stand a chance against the Anglia 105 little Fords of Ralph Broad. But particularly Bernard Unett gave John Fitzpatrick a fight for every win.
5 Fraser Imps were prepared:
For the 3 Group 5 Imps they were working on a new cylinder head. The power increase would need different materials. The new engines were hoped to be ready for Oulton Park omn April 2.
The Fraser 850 Imp got its smaller capacity by sleeving down the block, and using a small valve head. For the rest it was just about standard. It kept on winning races, despite the fact that no development work was done to it at all !
"Have been looking through some old copies of Autosport and Motoring News and pulling out some interesting bits and pieces.
Also have some old photos of the Fraser cars, as I used to cut them out and put on my bedroom wall, long before I started racing . I recall they used to run a 1001cc Imp in the 1001 to 1300cc races, driven by Tony Lanfranchi."
There was a ladies-only competition for the Embassy Trophy that Jacqui Smith (22) had her eyes on. With the Imp she finished 2nd, just one point behind Jean Denton who drove an MGB sports car.
February 13th 1966, Jacqui Smith was third in the All Saloon car meeting at Brands Hatch in one of the Fraser Imps in the first race. The journalist, John (married) Miles wrote 'Jackie Smith' and 'Frazer Imps'. In the third race for up to 850cc cars resulted in an initial dice between Bernard Unett in Alan Fraser's car (which Jacqui drove in the first race) and Tony Lanfranchi (who drove a 1300cc Mini in the 2nd race) in Paul Emery's lower roof line 'lot'. Soon Bernard taking things quite easily strode away from the opposition to win and set an new class record of 62.4 which broke the existing record of 65.8! Obviously these Imps at such an early stage of their development are going to be the car to beat. [CCC 1966, April, p.602]
Rootes Motors Ltd. PR photo RL2668
"A Hillman Imp of the Alan Fraser Racing Team in its 1966 colours - white and blue with a cross of St. Andrew on th roof."
The Racing Team got off to a distinguised start in March, winning all four races in which they were entered that weekend. At Goodwood, Nick Brittan won the 1,000cc class, and at Brands Hatch, Ray Calcutt won the 850cc and up to 1,000cc classes, and Bernard Unett the 1,000cc.
By August 1966 the team had got 16 first places; 2 second places; and 7 class lap records ! Imps held an overall lead in this British Championship series.
One of the Imp's strongpoints is its cornering power, they have always been able to outcorner the Coopers.
The Imps are running in the Free Formula club events, and bear the Saltire, the Alan Fraser racing colours of Scottish blue and white with the white diagonal cross of Saint Andrew across the roof.
Rootes Foam White or Polar White for the lower section and the closest match for the blue on the later cars is Ford Gentian Blue.
Also check out the flag of Tenerife.
Easter Monday 1966 Bernard Unett set a lap record at Brands Hatch circuit of 59,8 secs. and the Imp thus became the first ever in its class to lap Brands in under a minute. He clipped a second off the lap record for special saloon cars up to 1,000cc, and averaged 72.63mph.
Unett won the Edward Lewis Trophy Race
Nick Brittan had 6 wins and the Oulton Park lap record.
On 7th May 1966 at Oulton Park he finished first in his class in the Spring Grove Saloon car Championship race. His speed of 82.01 took two seconds off the existing lap record for the up to 1,000cc class.
On August 29 1966 at Brands Hatch, Nick Brittan won his class (saloons up-to 1000cc).
Classic Cars Who dares, wins
Pete Stenning writes on the forum of Ten-Tenths Motorsport that Ian [sic] Fraser, Imp tuner and racer, owned Mountains Garage in Hildenborough. He tells that his late father used to work there. His father had one of the first production Imps.
On the same forum someone with the nickname Davrianmk5 tells [22 Jun 2007] he used to work for Alan Fraser in the 60s and that he is still in contact with one of his old mechanics.
"As Rootes produced any update, Alan gave Dad the mod to put on his car to see if it worked."
"I am glad to say they did, and, as a small boy, it was great to see my Dad and me sitting at a set of trafic lights on the north circular with an E-type Jag next to us reving his engine like a twot. Lights change and the Imp was across the junction before the Jag moved. lol. A rather silly looking driver soon went passed. I expect he did not sit reving it the next set of lights."
Ray Calcutt, the chicane at Snetterton
Their Group 5 engine at that time delivered 106bhp @ 8200, and 100bhp @ 7000. The club engines gave about 95bhp.
The Development Engineer at Fraser's, John Griffiths, kept many of the standard Rootes parts of the Rally Imp engine: standard block, standard liners, rods and crankshaft. Fraser specials are the camshaft, head and pistons. The heads for the Group 5 were made from a larger casting which had been made available to the Fraser team. The bottom end is pretty well standard (the flywheel is balanced and lightened).
Club cars ran with oil and water radiators in the front. Group 5 Imps had to maintain the original water radiator, but they also had a supplementary radiator at the sharp end which got its air through the heater intake. (In Group 5 cars you're not supposed to cut any holes where they don't belong.)
Other Fraser Team solutions
Even the Group 5 regulations permit more than was done to these Imps (Sept. '66), so there was room for improvement.
Silverstone, autumn 1966
Nick Brittan wrote (December 1966):
Silverstone was the next stop, and for this meeting we had 'borrowed' Rosemary Smith from the rally department to run in the saloon car race. Over the past couple of seasons Rosemary has proved herself to be a force to be reckoned with on the tough rally grounds of Europe, and she has a great string of wins to prove it.
On the relatively smooth tarmac of Silverstone she shook everyone by posting fastest time in morning practice with a lap of 74.4 m.p.h. to take pole position on the grid for the race.
For three laps she led from a great challenge by Imp-man Tony Taylor and then her third gear broke. With only second and top as useable gears she dropped back a couple of seconds a lap, leaving Taylor to win.
Rosemary finished a good second despite the missing gear and we were all very impressed afterwards when she told us it was her first-ever ride at Silverstone.
Cars must weigh at least 97% of catalogue weight.
Group 5, 1967
Bore x stroke (mm)
Anti roll bars at
72.5 x 60.3
F & R
7J x 13in.
|Engine will not run smoothly below 4,000rpm, useful torque range starts at 5,000. They kept it between 7,000 and 9,300|
The team acted as the official Works entry when it came to motor-racing. But while it did get Works support, most of the development was done by themselves. Rootes used their results in adverts:
Place and date:
|1st and 2nd|
Brands Hatch, 12th March, 1967
International Saloon Car Race
Up to 1000cc
998cc modified Hillman Imps
Bernard Unett and Tony Lanfranchi
Brands Hatch, 2nd July 1967
Event 2: Redex Gold Cross Saloon Cars (10 laps)
36 Hugh Lamont, Singer Chamois, 998
38 Jeremy Nightingale, Hillman Imp, 998
40 Alan Fraser Racing Team, Bernard Unett, Hillman Imp, 998 - 1st
41 Tony Taylor, Hillman Imp, 998
42 Special Motor Racing T., Peter Gaydon, Hillman Imp, 998
43 Andrew Allen, Hillman Imp, 875
What? Where? Who?
2 Fraser Imps, 1 with #50, another Imp and an Emery (?) Imp with #46
Brands Hatch. Maybe the Brands race meeting was on the Sunday after the cancelled RAC Saturday start. 26 November? Ray Calcutt.
source: Thomas Lundevall @ forums.autosport.com (Aug 20 2008); Lars Helmer private collection
The 1967 season, the Anglias won 7 times and the Imps 3 times in the group 5 Saloon Car Champioship, but it might have been the other way around, that's how equal they were. Here seen at the Race of the Champions, March 1967 (Brands Hatch).
Brian Muir's Falcon leading the 'Rhodes Mini' and a Fraser Imp under the bridge and up the hill.
Lombank Trophy, Brands Hatch, March 1967
History on the Group 5 Fraser Imp:
[...] In the Fraser competition part there is a photo of the Tiger and two Imps on the docks at Teneriffe - the Tiger was subsecuently driven by Peter Harper to a win in the '4th GP'.
Motor Racing of February 1967 wrote that Alan Fraser would retain Ray Calcutt and Bernard Unett as team drivers for the season. A 3rd driver had yet to be signed.
The Club Championships opened on January 22nd 1967 at Brands Hatch. The BRSCCs Racing Car Show Trophy meeting saw the 1st rounds of 4 champiosnhips and a well-known name amongst the entries was Bernard Unett.
In 1967, Alan was invited by Rootes concessionaires in Tenerife to take a team of Imps and Tigers to the fourth Gran Premio de Tenerife. Peter Harper finished in first place, driving a Tiger.
Spanish magazine 'Anaga' wrote [20 de Abril 1968]: Participacion Inglesa - Los automóviles de la izquierda Hillman Imp y Sunbeam Tiger que con pilotos venidos de Inglaterra pariciparán en el Circuito del Puerto de la Cruz y Gran premio de Tenerife. Los ingleses han traido tambien mecánicos propios.
Los tres coches ingleses vienen pintados con los colores de Tenerife por gentileza de sus pilotos. En sobreimpressió se ve el motor.
Team manager Ray Calcutt was off the tracks in 1967. That year Alan Fraser's team stars were Bernard Unett and Tony Lanfranchi. They won three times. The racing against John Fitzpatrick in his Broadspeed Anglia had been very close and could easily have gone the other way. As it was, the 1967 British Saloon Car Championship Class D (Up to 1,000cc) went to Fitzpatrick (62 points). The two Hillman Imps were next: W.B. Unett (54 pts.); A. Lanfranchi (34 pts.). The two Fraser Imps were distinguisable from each other by different paint schemes. The one with the all blue front was usually driven by Lanfranchi. But the photo above shows two with that front, nor do they seem to have crosses on the roofs...
|Bernard Unett||points||Tony Lanfranchi||points|
|R. of C., Brands Hatch||1st in 1st heat in class
1st in 2nd heat in class
Fastest Lap in 1min57sec; 81.54mph
1st on aggregate in class
|8||2nd in 1st heat in class
2nd in 2nd heat in class
2nd on aggregate in class
|Guards Trophy, Snetterton||retired with puncture||0||retired with broken conrod||0|
|B.A.R.C. Silverstone||4th in class||2||2nd in class||6|
|B.R.D.C. Silverstone||3rd in class||4||2nd in class||6|
|Guards Trophy, Mallory Park||2nd in class||6||3rd in class||4|
|Martini Trophy, Silverstone||1st in class||8||2nd in class
Fastest Lap in 1min53sec; 92.76mph
|British G.P., Silverstone||1st in class||8||4th in class||2|
|Guards Trophy, Brands Hatch||2nd in class
Fastest Lap in 1min56.8sec; 81.68mph
|Gold Cup, Oulton Park||2nd in class||6|
With three more races to go in the BRSCC 1967 season, Unett was only two points behind Fitzpatrick. At that time the two Fraser Imps of Tony Lanfranchi and Bernard Unett had scored three class wins, 6 class seconds, 2 class thirds and 2 class fourths.
In one and a half seasons, John Griffiths (by the end of 1967) had the power increased from 95 to almost 120bhp.
The power came from
a large-valve high compression cylinder head
a racing camshaft and
Tecalemit-Jackson fuel injection.
It could safely rev up to 9,000rpm.
Rosemary Smith drove one of the Fraser Imps in the Martini Trophy of 1966 or '67 (?)
1968, perhaps at Snetterton:
The March issue of CCC shows a photo (by Dave Gray) of a Fraser Imp on p. 234 in an article on how to start racing. The driver is stated to be "Keith Holland, about to smash the 850 c.c. Brands club lap record in a Fraser 'Frimp'." The Imp has competition number 76.
At the end of the 1967 season, Chrysler, having bought a majority in Rootes, decided they did not want to spend money on motorsport when victory was not guaranteed. Therefore the Fraser Imp programme was abandoned for 1968. In 1968 the suitably updated Fraser Imps were not up against the Anglias anymore, but against the fuel-injected 1.0 litre 'works' Mini Cooper S. Resources were very limited. They appeared only four times and on three of those occasions Ray Calcutt won their class at Brands Hatch; Tony Lanfranchi came third.
Threatening skies, but dry; a large crowd
...A qualifying round for the Osram-G.E.C. saloon championship, his first of the tin-top races was divided into two classes, up to 850 c.c. and 851-1,000 c.c. Sitting pole with a time under the existing class record was John Chappel's Mini, with the Adcocks of Chichester Hillman Imp, driven by Alastair McHardy, also under the bogy time beside him. Peter Vann completed the front row, while fastest 850s, equalling the lap record in practice, were John Peachey-Austing's Mini and Keith Holland's Fraser Imp.
Trouble struck on the grid with Brian Cutting's 850 Imp was wheeled off with a blown head gasket, and Bill Durst's ver standard-looking Fiat 850 succumbed to wheel trouble. Mike Hallett's Mini wet out with a broken oil seal, and then Chappel's engine wouldn't fire and the rest of the field screeched off leaving him to be pushed-started and docked a minute.
McHardy snatched an immediate lead from Chris Inch's second-row Mini and Peter Vann, with Holland fourth and leading the 850s, just, from Peter Wilcox's 1-litre Mini and Graham Ayes'850 example. Inch shouldered past the blue and grey Imp by the completion of lap 2, and Vann was snapping at McHardy's heels. This trio had left the next bunch, containing Holland, Wilcox, Ayres and Peachey-Austing, and were drawing away steadily, Vann also passing the Imp to make it a B.M.C. one-two on lap three. Wilcox had got past the smaller-engined Imp, which had Ayres and Peachey-Austing right up its exhaust, and on lap four Vann and McHardy gor the better of of Inch's yellow Mini and took the lead as Holland nipped back in front of Wilcox, and Ayres spun under braking for Club and lost contact.
Vann and McHardy completed lap five inches apart with Inch trailing slightly with a wooly-sounding motor, and John Chappel, who had been eighth on lap three, had scratched up into fourth place behind him. Holland still held his advantage from Wilcox and as Graham Ayres entered the chicane again after his earlier spin, he lost the lot and went nose-first into the barrier, bending the body but escaping personal injury.
On lap severn McHardy outfumbled Vann into the Club chicane in a well-judged effort and led over the line with Inch dropping further away in third place and being closed on by Chappel. As they came up to the line for the last time McHardy had pulled out quite a lead to win by 1.6 sec. from Vann, while Inch held third place from Chappel who was right behind on the road but was docked his minute, dropping to 12th in the results. Holland won his class, finishing fourth overall, only 0.2 sec. ahead of Wilcox's 1-litre Mini. Chappel and Holland both got new class lap records.
1. A. McHardy (Hillman Imp), 13 m. 0.0s., 84.82 m.p.h.
2. P. Vann (Morris Mini)
3. C. Inch (Austin Mini)
4. K. Holland (Hillman Imp)
Fastest lap: J. Chappel (Austin Mini), 1m. 37.0s, 87.44 m.p.h., new class record
Up to 850 c.c. Class:
1. Holland, 13m. 36.0s (83.15 m.p.h.)
2. J. Peachy-Austing (Morris Mini)
3. C. Hall (Austin Mini)
4. R. Fox (Austin Mini)
Fastest lap: Holland, 1m. 40.4s. (84.48 m.p.h. (record)
851-1,000 c.c. Class:
4. P. Wilcox (Austin Cooper)
Fastest lap: Chappel
|Overall||No.||Cl.||Entrant||Driver||Car||CC||Fastest lap||laps||min. sec.||MPH|
|1st||41||A1||Adcock's of Chichester||Alastair Hardy||Hillman Imp||8||13 20.0||84.82|
|2nd||63||A2||Peter Vann||Morris Mini||8||13 21.6|
|3rd||54||A3||Chris Inch||Austin Mini||8||13 25.6|
|4th||68||B1||Alan Fraser||Keith Holland||Hillman Imp||8||13 36.0||83.15|
|5th||52||A4||Janspeed Engineering Ltd.||Peter Wilcox||Austin Cooper||8||13 36.2|
|6th||79||B2||John Peachy-Austing||Morris Mini||8||14 02.4|
|7th||61||A5||Ian Pettie||Morris Cooper||8||14 05.0|
|8th||74||B3||Conway Hall||Austin Mini||8||14 06.2|
|9th||56||A6||John Wines||Austin Mini||8||14 08.2|
|10th||75||B4||Bob Fox||Austin Mini||8||14 08.8|
|11th||80||B5||Gerry Allen||Austin Mini||8||14 30.0|
|12th||55||A7||John Chappel||Austin Mini||8||14 25.4|
inc. 1 min. penalty
|13th||42||A8||Michael Ford||Hillman Imp||8||15 05.6|
|14th||59||A9||Martyn Crosthwaite||Morris Cooper S||7||13 29.2|
This completes the list of finishers
Non-starters: 45, 48, 49, 66, 76, 70, 67. 81
A qualifying round of the Osram-GEC BARC saloon car Championship
Class A: 851-1000 cc
Class B: up to 850 cc
|1st||1||A1||The Steering Wheel Club (West Bromwich)||Lawrence Hickman||Ford Anglia||13||06.2||86.30|
|2nd||23||B1||Alan Fraser||Keith Holland||Hillman Imp||13||36.4||83.11|
|3rd||4||A2||Adcocks of Chichester||Alastair McHardy||Hillman Imp||13||39.2|
|4th||21||B2||Team Hartwell||Ray Payne||Hillman Imp||13||53.2|
|5th||25||B3||Janspeed Engineering Ltd.||Graham Ayres||Austin Mini||13||59.0|
|6th||26||B4||Stephen Marshall||Austin Mini||14||07.2|
|7th||14||A3||Chris Inch||Peter Wilcox||Austin Mini||14||34.6|
|8th||30||B5||Trevor Moore||Morris Mini||14||54.4|
|9th||28||B6||Thomas Jay||Austin Mini||7||13||26.0|
|10th||27||B7||Derek Bennett||Austin Mini||7||13||52.4|
|11th||22||B8||Bill Keppler||Hillman Imp||5||16||29.0|
This completes the list of finishers.
Retirements (Laps completed in brackets):
Cars no. 12 (7 laps); 19 (7 laps); 29 (1 lap)
3, 5, 6, 9, 16
Hot Car of June 1968 reported (p.25):
"Fraser changes plans. This has become necessary because of the withdrawal of all financial support by the Rootes Group. One Fraser Imp will still be entered by the team's patron for Ray Calcutt to contest the Redex Championship." Hot Car mentioned that the Fraser GT should be seen before long as well.
In 1969 one of the changed BTCC rules banned the use of non-homologated cylinder heads, so the Fraser specials were no longer welcome.
After Rootes had withdrawn their support from Alan Fraser's racing team, he terminated his business commitments and went to Tenerife.
The April 1969 issue of CCC says: in the lowest class, the Mini is still very much in the hunt, especially so as Alan Fraser seems to have moved on to better and very much bigger things.
These days Mr. Fraser resides less than 30 miles from Aberdeen, and now runs the Mountains Animal Sanctuary, which he founded in May 1982.
|Photo of a Fraser Imp
on the Hillman Imp Web site (N.B.1: Japanese! N.B.2: the link goes to an overview at Wayback Macine, since the site has disappeared) by Kazunori Yokoo (Papachi)
The Imp Club
Model Registrar for Fraser Racing Imps: Robin Human (Surrey SM4)
Murray Hart from Auckland has been building (for quite some time now) a replica of one of the original Fraser Imps.
ImpWerks NZ understand the car is, quite simply, magnificent. [newsletter Feb 1999]
Chris Ledbury raced his 998 Hillman Fraser Imp in the Class SK: Special up to 1000cc, competition no. 9. - Castle Combe, Monday 17th April 2006, Easter Monday Race Day
Robert Waid bought a Group 5 racing Imp of Alan Fraser in 1967.
He and his wife Gloria ran it in several races in Tenerife, Gran Canary and Madrid.
Goodwood Revival, 6-7th September. - Impressions 2003, December
Was shown on tv, too. Three Imps appeared of which two Fraser Imp replicas:
Jim McKenzie, Aug 2007, The Imp Club forum
building a Fraser Imp replica over de last two years, nearly there now. It was built up for the HSCC series. Ron Aspinwall at Impspeed was preparing it. The car is the ONLY authorised repilca by Alan Fraser himself of a Fraser Imp I know off and the car is painted in the colours 1966. I did try and get some photos from the great man himself at the start of this project but he said all his race stuff is in storage
Colin Rooney: This car is a credit to Jim for his money spent and to Ron for his time spent on it. I cant wait to go to a track day with Jim next year to start setting her up for his 1st race
Grahame Pearson: A glance at the interior of Jim's car shows all manner of modern equipment (steering wheel, seat, fire extinguisher, etc) so it is clearly not a 100% faithful replica - that is not adverse criticism, my point is that the car is built to race (hence the modern equipment) and when doing so, it will perfectly conjure up evocative memories of the Fraser Imps of the 60s. That is the important thing, not whether the blue is absolutely spot on, or the shade of red for the seats, come to that!
Jim: 'trying' my best to make the car look as close as it can to what they did in 65/66. I have to have the modern safety equipment in able to race ! Red door cards and passenger seat are all original, just re-made and in the same colour red as was new. Can't do much about the driver seat!
Jim, Dec 17, 2007: Its getting there. Shell / car should be finished early Jan. '08 and then transported to Transimp in Hemel Hempstead to have a new 998 installed and a shake down off all the systems, prior to running in and some track day testing / fun ! Only thing I am a bit worried about is hole in the front panel for smart roadster radiator and fan assembly!
Chris Astley, Nov 09, 2007, The Imp Club forum
I am also building a replica of the late Tony Lanfranchi Fraser Imp.
The Fraser Imps / G.P. - Motor Sport 1965, December. - p.1080, 1084
Some comments on the cars and those who prepare and race them
The Fraser Imps. - Motor 1965, January 27. - p.15
test of the Hillman Fraser Imp
A story in Autocar has a colour photo of a blue fronted Fraser Imp vs. a Ford Anglia. The Imp was driven by Ray Callcutt.
Meet the men who make racing cars... and those who drive them : the aim - the fastest small car in the world. - Courier Motor Review 1966, May 6. - pp.10-11
Sub story: Modifications meet stress and strain
The Man and his Cars : Hillman Imps - Alan Fraser. - Cars and Car Conversions 1966, September. - p.199-201
Reprinted in Unique Master Portfolio, p.50-51 (quoted as from 1967)
Group 5 and Club Fraser Imps / by John Blunsden. - Motor Racing 1966, September. - p.412-414. - [Track Test ; No. 54]
Getting out in front of flying spray / by Nick Brittan. - Modern Motoring and Travel 1966, September. - p.34-35. - ...on the sporting side
Nick Brittan reports each month on the Fraser Imp team for which he drives
Track test : Fraser Imp / by Brian Smith. - Sporting Motorist 1966
reprint in Unique Master Portfolio. - p.52-53 (1967 ??)
Those Fraser Imps : Tony Lanfranchi applies opposite lock to the Group 5 Fraser Imp at Silverstone. - Autocar 1967, 9 November. - p.17-18
More power from the engine, unusual but effective suspension and the right drivers have built the highly successful Alan Fraser Racing Team.
Reprinted in Impressions 1984, May.
Prize fighters : the Broadspeed Anglia and Fraser Imp : two Group 5 wolves in sheepish clothing / by Graham Robson. - Autocar 1968, January 4. - p.2-4
Reprinted in Transport Source Book (TSB; 081). - p.62-65
Toys: Vanguard VA26003
Fraser Racing 's Imps / drawn and described by S.P. Bayley and M.A. Roberts. - Model Cars 1968, January
reproduced in Impressions 1999, November. - (Prototype Parade no. 260). - p. 28-29
The Imp Club Forum: Fraser Imps (topic 3264)
"Down The Hatch" (Tony Lanfranchi's biography)
The Imp Site
Edition: 26 Feb. 2012
File started: 11 July 1997
By fall 1963 he had competed in
In 1963 he managed his own personal sporting fleet of:
And he was selecting a new Fraser team of drivers.
Alan Fraser says it was George Hartwell who introduced him to the sport and encouraged him in it. And Norman Garrad's interest and support at all times meant a lot.
He was a member of the Sunbeam - Talbot Owners' Club.
He married in 1961 his wife Rosemary.