The 1938 HRG Airline Coupe is a one-off British sports car powered by a 1.5 litre Triumph Gloria engine and gearbox. It was made by HRG Engineering Company who produced cars between 1935 and 1956 with a body by Crofts Coachbuilding.
HRG's only coupe
The HRG Engineering Company (or "HURG" to its fans) was founded in 1936 by Major Edward Halford, Guy Robins, and Henry Ronald Godfrey (HRG). All of the 241 cars made by HRG between 1935 and 1956 were roadsters with the exception of the one of a kind HRG Airline Coupe. It is also the only HRG with a Triumph engine and transmission. The Airline Coupe was the idea of Maj. Ted Halford (the H in HRG). At England's Brooklands Race Track in 1938, the car made its debut. The plan was to show this model at the 1939 Earls Court Motor Show and watch the orders pile up. With the outbreak of World War II and Edward Halford leaving the company, the remaining partners scrapped the project.
Body and frame
The frame was a widened chassis of the Halford-Cross Rotary Special race car, it was painted green and rechristened as Chassis #WT-68. The rear section of the car was a second series of the distinctive MG Airline coupe with a sliding sunroof and an enclosed rear spare manufactured by Carbodies, now known as Manganese Bronze Holdings (traded as London Taxi Company). The fenders and bonnet (hood) were unique to the HRG and were formed by A. Crofts of the Crofts Coachbuilding firm which also assembled the body. Brakes are 4 wheel mechanical drum, suspension is independent up front with Semi-Elliptical leaf springs with floating axle in the rear.
Under the custom hand beaten hood lies a 55-horsepower Triumph 1496cc engine with dual SU side-draft carburetors, the same one as the Triumph Dolomite and Triumph Gloria.
Shipped Stateside and eventually restored
Bought by Bob Affleck in 1965, the car was disassembled and brought to the United States and was in pieces until 1985. It underwent a thorough restoration in 2010 and participated in "British Car Day" at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix driving under its own power for the first time in over 45 years.
Awards and notable appearances
- March 11, 2012, Airline Coupe was at the 17th annual Amelia Island Concours 'd Elegance and awarded the Road and Track Editors Choice Award as the car they would most like to drive.
- May 11 and 12 2012, the car was back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the "Celebration of Automobiles" and was chosen 2nd in Class as well and named a Road & Track Magazine "Top 5 Pick".
- June 2012 brought the Airline Coupe to The Elegance at Hershey in Hershey, PA and was honored as the Best British Enclosed Car.
- July 2012 we stuck closer to home and participated in Concours at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.
- August 17, 18, & 19th 2012 the Airline Coupe participated in the 60 mile Pebble Beach Tour d' Elegance and was on display at the 18th fairway as part of the Pebble Beach Concours d' Elegance, one of the highest honors in premier automotive events in the country.
- September and October 2012, the car was in the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles and won the award for Most Distinguished Design and The Louisville Concours d' Elegance where in was chosen Second in Class.
Sold for $253,000
The Coupe was sold at the Gooding & Co. Auction at Amelia Island in March 2013 for $253,000.
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