Rare sports car revs up in value

1995 Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupe
1995 Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupe

A rare 60-year-old sports car owned by a Bispham man is set to fetch a staggering £600,000 at an auction later this month.

The light green metallic 1955 Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupe is particularly rare and valuable because only nine of the cars were built.

It also took part in the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour Endurance Race.

The car has had at least 14 owners, and will have been seen on the streets in Blackpool – as Richard Ainscough, from Bispham, was one of the last people to own the vehicle after he snapped it up in February 2012.

It is not known how much Mr Ainscough bought the vehicle for – but he did spend £9,913 having it recommissioned and resorted at Blackeney Motorsport, based in Buntingford, Hertforshire.

The car cost £3,750 when wealthy Wiltshire enthusiast, Mrs Katherine “Kitty” Maurice,bought it new in 1955.

Now it is up for sale again, but this time it is 
expected to sell for between £550,000 and £650,000 at Bonhams at Goodwood, near Chichester, Sussex, when it goes under the hammer on Saturday March 21.

James Trigwell, an official of the Frazer Nash Car Club, said: “Frazer Nashes have always commanded a good price because they are rare and were raced by 
future Grand Prix drivers, including Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn, Tony Brooks and Roy Salvadori.

“The cars achieved considerable success in competition: third at Le Mans in 1949; 2-litre class win at Le Mans in 1950 and 1953; winner of the Targa 
Florio in Sicily in 1951; winner of the first Sebring 12-hour race in Florida in 1952 and many successes at UK race tracks such as Goodwood and Silverstone.

“They are also easy and great fun to drive on ordinary roads, as long as you keep away from boring 
motorways.

“The 1955 Le Mans Coupe formerly owned by Mr Ainscough was one of the last built, after Frazer Nash had ceased to be competitive in international racing and was used as a road car mainly and in a few hill climbs and club races up to 1960.

“Its main claim to fame is that it ran in the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour race.”

A spokesman for auctioneers Bonhams said: “It could be argued that Frazer Nash’s reputation is scarcely justified, based on the number of cars built.

“However, it is greatly to the firm’s credit that despite a lack of resources it achieved so much in international competition in the immediate post-war years.

“This exceptionally well-documented Le Mans model – the car once owned by Bispham’s Mr Ainscough – affords the opportunity for the discerning collector to acquire part of the legend.”

Although Frazer Nash built other cars, they built only nine Le Mans Coupes and all nine have survived.

Six are in Britain; another is in Sweden; another is in Belgium, while the other is in the United States.