In 1953 Alex Francis set about buiding Trials car, mud plugger, to replace his Flathead Mercury V8 powered HRG, over the following years he built two more such cars before meeting Australian former speedway rider Bill Harris, in 1959, who had designed and been driving the 2nd Flather 500 Formula 3 car for Sheffield steel merchant and founder member of BRM Dennis Flather since 1954.
Alex, a building contractor by day, and Bill set about building the Mk 1 Alexis to meet the new Formula Junior regulations from a premises in Birmingham.
The Mk 1 features a space frame and somewhat behind the curve front mounted 1 litre / 61 cui BMC A series engine and Austin A35 rear axle with a Triumph Herald based independent front suspension.
The body for the car was in polished aluminium and the plan was that Alex and Bill would share the driving. I believe the car was raced just once by Alex and at Oulton Park, and I have seen a photo of it apparently competing on the short hill at Prescott, before it was bought by an American customer.
Over 20 years ago chairman of the Formula Junior Historic Racing Association Duncan Rabagliati bought the Mk 1 which had returned to the UK, there is only one chassis #HF101, and has been regularly racing it ever since.
Duncan, seen at the wheel above at last years Castle Combe Autumn Classic meeting, and the Alexis hold the distinction of being the only driver and car combination to have competed in all previous editions of the Silverstone Classic meeting.
Thanks for joining me on this “The Mud Plugger And Speedway Rider” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a US Formula One car. Don’t forget to come back now !