Do you remember? : Naylor TF-1700

Mike Humble:

WP_20151213_009
Former Sales Director of the Naylor Car Co PLC Alastair Naylor stands alongside an early TF-1700.

 

Funny what you see at classic car shows isn’t it?

There I was as the Classic Car Show at the NEC a short while back and there was a car I last saw when I snaffled a brochure for it when the car was originally launched way back in 1984.

The Naylor Car Co is now an almost forgotten gem in a current world of established classics. This was no ordinary homage to a lost era of open top motoring and in fact many pundits thought it was a kit car, but the Naylor TF1700 was in fact all new from the ground up – a brain child of Alastair Naylor and a small close knit group of investors.

Using Austin Rover running gear comprising of a 1.7 “O” series engine, an Ital gearbox and Triumph Dolomite live rear axle, the TF1700 was a modern day version of the original MG TF. By trying to be as faithful to the original TF, the Naylor version proved to be incredibly well engineered and superbly crafted. Sadly, the production car lost its ornate suicide doors and a couple of other detail items thanks to more modern type approval laws.

Once you get up close, its craftsmanship and overall quality is testimony to the Naylor vision of building the finest model they could. Nothing looks Heath Robinson or cobbled together and it took a team of three some 250 man hours to fully assemble. The seats are fully contoured and clad in the finest Conolly hide, the dashboard graced with modern font dials looks resplendent in its walnut veneer – everything you expect of a quintessentially British sports car.

WP_20151213_005
The Austin Rover O series engine in single carb 1.7 form offered a genuine 90+mph top speed and over 32MPG

 

A modern torsion bar front bar front suspension and power assisted disc / drum brakes complimented some of the hidden beauty you couldn’t see. The chassis was a rustic box section type while the ornate hand crafted body sat on a traditional ash frame all created in a tiny manufacturing plant near Bradford. A 12 gallon fuel tank allied to a respectable 32mpg offered a decent touring range.

Production was split between Naylor and North East based Hutson who bought the rights to the car when Naylor sadly went into receivership after 100 cars were built. Sales Director Alastair Naylor told me “we made them too good really and 1984 was one of the wettest years on record, not ideal for a fledgling company building two seaters cars“. It was originally planned to produce 200 units annually but the money ran out.

WP_20151213_015
Prototype No:3 still lives to this day, MOT’d and all road legal too. Its part of Alastair’s personal collection and is in amazing condition.

 

There were talks of Morgan buying into the business but sadly nothing came to fruition and the day the plug was pulled financially in 1986 still remains what Alastair quoted as being: “one of the darkest and saddest days of my life” The same year saw the Hutson Car Co formed, they went on to produce another 61 examples but moving production and changing name maybe lost some of the original magic.

Almost all of the cars built still exist even as far afield as the USA and Japan and there is a thriving owners club. The one thing that does strike a chord is the passion and love for a dream that was killed off almost 30 years ago in amongst former workers and owners of these stunning little cars… one of which has even been fitted with a fuel injected Rover K series engine.

Naylor Brothers still service the vehicle restoration scene and operate from a thriving unit in Shipley West Yorkshire.

Want to know more? CLICK HERE


One thought on “Do you remember? : Naylor TF-1700

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s