FriskySport Prototype   October 1957 -   UUK 421

 

 UUK 421  in 1958   The second FriskySport Prototype

In 1957 following the decision to restyle the Gullwing the new FriskySport concept was under way. two prototypes were produced. The most publicised was UUK 42 registered on 1st October 1957 used on all the promotional brochures and exhibited at the 1957 Earls Court Show, but there was also a second prototype an identical sister car UUK 421 registered on 25th October 1957. Having a similar registration number this led many people to  believe there was just the one car with the extra "1" stuck on the end for publicity proposes.

 

 UUK 42 the 1957 Earls Court Show car on the Sales Brochure

Whilst looking very like the FriskySport we know today there where many differences, A square tube secondary chassis was built into the fibreglass floor, the battery sat in a well below the floor level and the gear change was located at the end of the bench seat.

 

 The prototype chassis

 

 Note the Gear lever position!! A real threat to ones manhood!

Concealed hinges were used on the doors, these looked good , but looking at the publicity shots you will see that the door is only ever 2/3rds open. That's because this was as far as the hinges allowed, getting in and out must have been  real fun! The car had full size lucas headlights but these were changed on early production Sports for Wipac because they were cheaper! (A "smart " white rubber surround was used to make them fit!)

 

 Note the restricted door position, Ron Smith Meadows Marketing manager seen herewith an un-named passenger.

The Wind screen surround was one piece solid chromed steel, unlike the production bolt together Aluminium one. Incidentally people tend to say the Frisky screen is off the Reliant Sabre . This of cause can not be so as the Frisky had that screen from 1957 and the Reliant Sabre did not appear until 1960. So in fact the Reliant Sabre had the Frisky screen!!

 

UUK 421 had its moment of glory when it was adapted in late 1957 into a 6 wheel car, double wheels at the rear and generally beefed up to do the Monte Carlo Rally run in 1958. Piloted by Gordon Bedson and  Jim Saunders, from Villiers, it did the 831 miles run in the respectable time of 23 1/2 hours , "An amazing achievement" said the Press'

 

 

 Gordon Bedson arrives at Monte Carlo in a very tired FriskySport

It made a  few brief appearances upon is return, looking a little un-gamely as it still had its chopped away body work at the rear but now minus its extra  wheels .Then it disappeared from sight, probably abandoned  in the yard at Meadows along with the later more conventional Sport prototypes.

 Roll on a few years and in 1982 Gordon Higlett , Martin Keane and I went to Petbow in Kent, having been tipped off that in the grounds was an ex prisoner of war camp and in a shack that served as their church were several  Friskys dumped there when everything Frisky was transferred to Petbow in January 1961.

 It was a condition of our informant that we did not remove "the one with the screen" as he wanted that one.

 

 Inside the "Church"

 The majority of Frisky stuff had been skipped years before our visit, never the less, along the outside walls of the "church" there were still rows of Family Three Mk2 body shells, nose down in the swamp, with trees growing through them! 

"The one with the screen" turned out to be UUK 421 !!

 

 UUK 421's body Shell  as found

We recovered all usable Frisky material ( including the Gull wing buck shell) and returned home.  The whole site has since been laid flat and re developed there is nothing left. 

 A short while later Lawrence House also went to the site and reports that Frisky shells were being burned on a bonfire at the rear of the factory.  UUK 421 was one of the cars waiting to be burnt missing its windscreen, but  still retaining the Monte Carlo badge on its side. 

 He brought this car, a second shell and some original moulds. Only the shell, of UUK 421 remained there were no chassis or mechanical parts with the car . Lawrence subsequently tracked down a replacement chassis, front suspension, steering wheel, steering box and track rods and a number of other parts which following a deal later on went with the car to Mike Webster.

 In 2011 Malcolm Dudley bought it all from Mike and started the difficult project of rebuilding the car  to its original "Monte Carlo" trim and condition.  I have subsequently had many conversations with Malcolm and I can reveal that he has already had to use all of his considerable engineering skills to get this project underway and is having to source many items from all over the globe

 

 The replacement chassis, restored and awaiting its body

Nothing is standard with UUK 421 but with a new chassis now well under way, I am really looking forward to seeing this six wheel Frisky prototype back in action.

 

John Meadows      
January 2013    

 

My thanks to Lawrence House, Mike Webster and Malcolm Dudley for their contributions and also to Gordon Higlett and Martin Keane for all the help and  encouragement they gave me in setting up the Frisky Register all those years ago.