Jay Leno’s 1934 Frazer Nash Replica is the real deal

Jay Leno knows it is a bit confusing calling his 1934 Frazer Nash a replica. Problem is, that is exactly what Frazer Nash called it. Leno’s 1934 Frazer Nash TT Replica mimics a contemporary Frazer Nash racing car and isn’t a third-party re-creation. It’s also chain-driven and the fastest shifting car of the time. 

We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though.

The deep green roadster featured in the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage shares a name with the man who built it: Archibald Frazer-Nash. His engineering background led to many unique features on the lithe and sporting car. The minute 1.7-liter inline-six was linked to a transaxle—of sorts.

Frazer-Nash eschewed the typical meshed-gear type transmission in favor of a five-chain arrangement tied directly to the axle. It functions similar to a dog clutch gearbox, but power is transferred through chains (motorcycle chains have been fitted in Leno’s car), which are “selected” by using the shifter to engage a dog to each gear individually.

It’s an odd arrangement that creates a few driving quirks. The rear axle is locked, meaning no differential arrangement. As Jay says, this is terrible for tire wear and makes the car a handful going around corners; but the contraption is also the fastest shifting transmission of its time. It will shift as fast as the driver can move the lever.

Out on the road, the right-hand-drive roadster looks like a blast to drive, with the shifter and rear brake lever located outside the driver’s compartment—which is good news, since the car certainly looks like a tight fit for the average American. The driving experience of the slick-shifting and quick-steering TT Replica seems worth the price of a snug fit. It’s too bad there are only a handful of these unique two-seaters around.

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