Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 119

1938 H.R.G. Airline Coupe by Crofts

  • Chassis no. WT68

Sold for $176,000

55 bhp, 1,496 cc OHV inline four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with quarter-elliptical leaf spring suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 103 in.

  • The only coupe ever produced by the H.R.G. factory
  • Gorgeous prototype coachwork; loving previous ownership for 48 years
  • Exceptional, award-winning concours restoration
  • Recently exhibited at the Petersen Automotive Museum
  • The ultimate prize for any dedicated H.R.G. enthusiast

H.R.G. automobiles are scarce enough in North America, but surely the prize for any connoisseur of “Hurgs” would be this car, the only one-off coupe ever produced by the factory. It was commissioned by co-founder Major E.A. Halford in 1938, and it combined the 1½-liter engine of a Triumph Gloria and its accompanying four-speed gearbox with the widened chassis frame of one of his Halford Special racing cars. The body was attractively stitched together using the rear end of an MG PA Airline coupe and new front end sheetmetal by the firm of A. Crofts, with exceptionally long open front fenders and classic free-standing headlamps giving it a gorgeous and elegant appearance – unusual for an H.R.G., a company known for the purposefulness of its bare-bones racers.

It was the car’s elegance and, dare we say it, comfort that limited its appeal to Halford’s partners at H.R.G., who were aghast at this betrayal of the company’s performance ethos. The coupe proved a source of major discord within the executive ranks, and Major Halford departed the firm later in 1938. Almost immediately thereafter, the prototype coupe was sold to a private owner, who apparently enjoyed it, as he reportedly used it as his daily driver for 23 years. It subsequently passed in 1963 to a student at Sheffield University, who sold it to a friend three years later.

The new owner, Bob Affleck, would maintain the H.R.G. Airline coupe for a remarkable 48 years. During the long-term enthusiast ownership, the unique car was immaculately restored between 2000 and 2010 by Hahn and Woodward Auto Restoration of Harmony, Pennsylvania, with bodywork by Steve Glazier of Houston, Ohio, a restoration described in two articles in the January and February 2013 issues of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car. Finished to a concours standard of fit and finish in every regard, the coupe was a double award-winner at the 2011 Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance, and it received awards at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Celebration of Automobiles in 2012, among many other honors. It completed that successful show year with an appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and it joined the Smith Collection the following March.

Maintained in the same superb condition as during Mr. Affleck’s ownership, this most important H.R.G. was recently exhibited at the landmark Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, as part of their Rolling Sculpture exhibit of streamlined, state-of-the-art Classic Era coachwork. Recently freshened by Vantage Motorworks of Miami, it comes to sale in spectacular order, as one of the most dramatic and beautiful automobiles produced by a great British performance name. It is the only one – and the more’s the pity!

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more