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1959 ALEXIS HFI TRI­ALS CAR Cur­rent owner: Stu­art Roach

Roach re­stored it “Dun­can Rabagliati found the car and res­cued it from a farm many years ago. I later ac­quired it from Dun­can and re­stored it over a very long pe­riod. When you do it for a liv­ing, your per­sonal pro­jects take a bit longer. It had been al­most fin­ished for a long time and its first event was a year ago. I de­cided to en­ter an event as it would force us to fin­ish it.”

Alexis was a well­known mar­que “The Alexis tri­als cars were num­bered with Ro­man nu­mer­als and the race cars nor­mal num­bers. HF came from Bill Har­ris and Alex Fran­cis, who founded Alexis. They were best known for build­ing sin­gle-seater rac­ing cars, in­clud­ing For­mula Ju­niors and For­mula Fords.”

It had been aban­doned “It was in a field near Soli­hull where it had been left and Dun­can went along and res­cued it. He’d got in touch with Alex Fran­cis to try and track down the cars. In to­tal, there were about 20 tri­als cars. Alex had left this car in a shed but the shed had de­te­ri­o­rated and some boys had got at it and played foot­ball with it us­ing a JCB, so it did look a bit sad. We’ve just re­stored it from a com­plete mess. We com­pletely stripped it and sal­vaged the chas­sis and it is very much as it was in pe­riod.”

It is the pro­to­type “This was the orig­i­nal pro­to­type Alexis tri­als car and is the only HFI. It prob­a­bly just pre-dates the first Alexis For­mula Ju­nior race car. The 1172cc Ford side-valve en­gine is al­most as we found it. Some­one had poured a load of con­crete over the top of the en­gine but that sort of en­cased it and it was in pretty good con­di­tion in­side. With a clean and a new set of rings, off it went.”

Rabagliati tried it out “Dun­can res­cued seven of them and over half still sur­vive. Two more of them are in my shed, await­ing re­build. Dun­can drove one of the re­stored cars for hun­dreds and hun­dreds of road miles, and he races a front-en­gined For­mula Ju­nior Alexis, but he’d never done a trial un­til he pas­sen­gered for me on the Plum Pud­ding His­toric Trial over Christ­mas.”

Alexis is a real rar­ity

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