Freikaiserwagen returns to Bristol

| 14 Jul 2012

The highlight of the Frenchay Classic Car Show (14 July) was an appearance by the Freikaiserwagen hillclimb special. The car was first campaigned in 1936 and went through various incarnations, being resurrected post-WW2 with a supercharged Blackburne engine in an Iota chassis.

It was broken up after Joe Fry's fatal accident at Blandford in 1950, but Mike Syches and Steve Lister are now rebuilding the Freikaiserwagen around the original engine. The car is being restored to its 1930s specification, when it boasted a GN chassis and Morgan front suspension.

Its appearance at the Bristol show was particularly fitting because the 'Freik' had strong links to the city. Co-creator Hugh Dunsterville studied at the university, while two of the other main characters in its story, David and Joe Fry, hailed from the local family that ran the eponymous chocolate company.

Syches reported that they are hoping to have the chain-drive special running before the end of the year.

The small and informal meeting attracted an eclectic collection of cars. Mike Marsden brought the Lotus IX that he's owned for more than 40 years, while the 'Golden Ford', a Model T single-seater with striking polished-brass bodywork, also drew the crowds.

Elsewhere, the cars ranged from Singer Vogue to 1919 Chevrolet, via Gerry Bath's much-fettled Lotus Elite and an ultra-rare Renault 10.