1934 Graham Paige Supercharged Brookes Special

Based on a 1934 Graham Paige supercharged straight-eight saloon, this Special was built by Mr R.C. Brookes in the late 40s – a highly effective pre-war competition car with many years of hillclimbing and racing success.In the years immediately following WWII, car manufacturers gradually began returning from munitions manufacture to building motor vehicles but, naturally, with a shortage of steel and petrol rationing, their focus was on building small economical saloons. Consequently sports cars, in fact any vehicles of a sporting nature, were simply not available so, if you wanted one, you built it yourself from whatever pre-war bits you could find. In this case, talented engineer Mr R.C. Brookes and a 1934 Graham-Paige supercharged straight-eight saloon began a journey that would lead to the Brookes Special being first registered on 17th March 1949.Rarely are the details of home built 'specials' recorded but in this case the story is well documented being featured in the Talking of Sports Cars series and The Enthusiasts Guide to Vintage Specials by John Bateman as well an article in The Autocar magazine of 31st August 1951 which makes interesting reading.Apparently the entire project cost him just £60 which sounds cheap but bear in mind that the average weekly wage then would have been around £5. He had to saw off the damaged rear section of the original chassis frame, which he combined with the rear frame of a large Austin and the back axle from an eight-cylinder Chrysler to arrive at a wheelbase of 9'. The bespoke body was said to be inspired by the 4½-Litre Bentley, Vauxhall 30-98, and Railton Light Sports and if you look carefully today you can see styling cues from each of those. The bonnet was taken from a Delage, the windscreen came from a 1922 Cluely, the steering wheel from a 1925 Bean and the dashboard was fashioned from a piece of Mahogany over 100 years old. It took him nearly five years, truly a labour of love, and whilst it may not be the most handsome car here at the Lygon Arms today, it does represent the passion and innovative skills of one man during difficult times.Weighing half-a-ton less than the original Graham-Paige saloon and with considerably reduced frontal area, the Brookes Special was said to possess a decent turn of speed and, we believe, still does. The last owner, a classic car restorer, purchased the car on 7th October 1988 and during his ownership it was again refurbished.Whilst running and driving, the Brookes now requires re-commissioning after a period of inactivity.SpecificationMake: GRAHAM PAIGEModel: SUPERCHARGED BROOKES SPECIALYear: 1934Chassis Number: 1025382Registration Number: HAA 594Transmission: ManualEngine Number: 1030421 Drive Side: Right-hand DriveMake: RHDInterior Colour: Green vinylClick here for more details and images