Frank Bacon

Frank Bacon

Frank Herbert Bacon was born in Enfield, in 1904 and went into the family building firm, Bacon Brothers. A carpenter by trade, the firm made a good living through the 1920s and 30s as "Metroland" grew rapidly across the new London suburbs. Frank was passionate about all thinks mechanical and competed on two wheels and four; in speedway, trials, hill climbs, sports cars and at Brooklands.

Frank in his Singer at Brooklands

Post war, he became a building surveyor and was naturally drawn to the fledgling 500 movement. He went to Shelsley in June '46 and met fellow Londoner Colin Strang from Harrow and Clive Lones and immediately set about building his own special, in spite have having no workshop or machine tools. The basis of the the FHB I would be a 1931 Austin 7 and a Rudge Ulster engine mated directly to the Austin drive train. Strang helped with some bespoke fabrication and the car was on its wheels by March '47.

He attended the "White Hart" meeting in May and ran at Shelsley in June, Brough, then failed to finish (along with almost everyone else) at Gransden Lodge in July. At Great Auclum, Frank was third, some way off the time of Brandon's Cooper but was rather closer at Prescott in August but could only manage ninth at Shelsley in September against the most competitive field of the year. He was awarded the good losers trophy by the 500 Club, one of the very few awards to be made in that first full year.

Frank inspects his handiwork, the FHB I, in March 1947. Photo courtesy of the Bacon family.

Preparing for his turn in FHB II at Shelsley, 12th June 1948. Tiger Kitten is parked behind Photo courtesy of Michael Aikey.

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Frank comprehensively rebuilt his car over the winter of 1947/48 to a mid-engined layout though things didn't start that well, the gearbox disintegrated at Luton Hoo in March and a DNF at Goodwood in September when the Rudge let go. Returning to Goodwood at Easter 1949, he finally managed a trouble free run to fifth, but the season would be spoiled by appendicitis. Again at Goodwood at Easter 1950, he took seventh now against a highly competitive field dominated by Coopers. The Grand Prix meeting in July 1951 brought more disappointment, nearly all specials being thoroughly outclassed by production cars by this time.

Frank featured in the famous cartoon, dreaming of racing at Aintree.

At this point he finally accepted reality and switched to a Cooper Mk V acquired from Bill Aston for 1953 with which he finished sixteenth in the Grand Prix race at Silverstone in July and fifth at Thruxton in August. Frank became a 500 Club committee member in 1949 and remained so right through to BRSCC times. He was also a life long BRDC member and took up boatbuilding in later life. Frank Bacon died in 2000.

In the Cooper at Thruxton, August 1953. Photo courtesy of the Bacon family.

Frank makes a few bob from a paint manufacturer, January 1954.