AN5/24466 The Fright

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The Fright just before leaving the UK. Note real magnesium Minilites, 13" front and 15" rear
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At the Sprite Car Clubs National Challenge
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Painted BRG on arrival in Oz
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4 temp gauges - water, engine oil, gearbox oil and diff oil!
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Triple 45 DCOE on D-Type Jaguar head with D-type cams
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Huge filler cap leads to 2 tanks, one in the rear of the boot and standard one under the car
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E-Type LSD with inboard discs
Old English White in colour and built between 1st and 7th October 1959, AN5/24466 was dispatched to Lookers Limited (Manchester) on 20 October and registered to Mrs E M Crichlow of Whalley Range on 13 November.

According to the Registration Book, ownership was transferred to Alan Brooks of Harpurhey on 5 January 1962.

The following information was kindly provided by Ian Phillips, who worked on the car with Alan Brooks. In fact, Ian says he knew every nut and bolt on the car and probably drove it more than did Alan...

"Soon after getting the Sprite, Alan bought a crashed Lotus 11, and grafted on the De-Deon rear suspension, diff, and front/rear brake disks/callipers. The callipers were Dunlop alloy ones which were quite new at the time. The engine was a highly tuned Formula Junior engine with a 'Red' crankshaft. We eventually supercharged that engine which transformed the car and gave Alan the thirst for more torque.

Alan bought an MGA twin cam engine but when we went to the breakers to remove the engine from the scrapper we found the dealer had taken a better offer. We decided that a Jag 2.4 could be put in without altering the bonnet (it had a Speedwell Fibreglass one almost from new). The 2.4 with gearbox and overdrive were installed still using the original radiator and the car was used in that form for about a year. I have attached one picture that was taken when the first jag engine was being put in. You may be able to see that the car colour was metallic Blue, the wire wheels (off the Lotus 11) and the jointed steering column.

Fright empty engine bay

I don't remember when/why the change to 3.8 was made but the first 3.8 engine which came out of an automatic saloon, threw a rod whilst returning from a trip to London. There were three of in the car and whilst on five cylinders we outran an MGB on the motorway!!

I have attached a picture that was taken when the first 3.8 was put in. The guy in the centre (Arthur) was a panel beater and did all the metalwork on the car, his brother (Roy) did the spraying. Both were craftsmen of the old school and ran New Moston Sheet Metal Company doing mostly bodywork repairs.

Arthur and Ray installing the first 3.8

As you know the scuttle was modified to take the later windscreen and doors with wind up windows and quarterlights, the body was also de-seamed. Arthur made all the parts of the lift-out grille and did all the panel beating, lead filling etc by hand. The body shop had tinsnips, a wheeling machine, and not much else besides a few power tools. Oh, and the other thing the workshop was heated by open coal fires including the end where the cellulose spraying was done!

Although we repaired the 3.8 Alan never had any confidence in it and came across an aluminium 3.8 cylinder block being sold by Dick Protherow (later killed at Oulton Park). I think he had something to do with the Jaguar team and they had manufactured six alloy engines to race at Le Mans. We brought the block home in the back seat of my Mini and installed it at the same time replacing the Lotus/BMC diff with an E Type unit. The Elite rear suspension having been previously fitted when the 2.4 engine wrecked the ZF limited slip diff. The Lotus 11 wire wheels are just visible in the photo (with Alan bolting something under the back of the car), they were on the De Dion rear suspension until the diff disintegrated and the Elite diff and suspension were fitted. That diff was later replace by a brand new E Type when the 3.8 was fitted.


In 1966 four of us went in two cars (mine was a MK3 Sprite) from the UK intending to drive to Sicily. We got as far as Rome and found the weather unbearably hot so we turned round and drove to northern Spain. We stayed a few day, got bored to decided to go back to Italy! Whilst passing at speed through Southern France a hay cart came out of a side road and caused the car in front of Alan to block his overtaking line, he hit its back end. The car went on a trailer to a local garage where a new tyre was fitted, the radiator repaired whilst I joined all the pieces of the bonnet together with nuts/bolts and metal strips from a child's construction set. That stopped our touring so we drove home at reduced speeds.


That same year, I had a Mini Cooper 'S' and when it broke down on a motorway Alan towed me home at over 120 mph!"

Between 1967 and 1972, The Fright was registered to Tonge Bros (Manchester), Keith Andrew Peers (Stockport), Kenneth Warburton Bailey (Cheshire), Philip George Seers (Surrey) and lastly Dr Geoffrey Davis (Harley St London and later Dorset).

When Dr Davis returned home to Australia in 1976, be brought The Fright with him, along with his Morgan, Maserati, Mercedes, Delage and Hispano Suiza! The Fright was never registered in Australia, but stored in the showroom of a car sales yard in Glen Innes, North Western New South Wales.

The January/March 1981 edition of Australian Sports Car World Quarterly featured Jaguar cars, and an article was included on The Fright. The article did not disclose the car's whereabouts, but I decided I had to own it one day. It was 1996 before the car surfaced at an auction in Sydney, and much to my bride's distress at the time I managed to outpace the other bidders and purchased The Fright.

The Fright has had little use since, but has competed in our Sprite Car Clubs National Challenges at both Winton and Wakefield Park. Issue 3, 2002, of The Jaguar Magazine also included a four page article on The Fright.

I must be honest and say that the car is showing its age and suffering from lack of use. There is rust in the sills that needs attention, and the paint and trim are generally quite untidy. A quick or cosmetic restoration would not do the car justice, so it will have to wait until time and finances are sufficient for a full bare-metal restoration.