Thursday, 15 December 2011

Harry Olrog

Harry was one of AFN’s original employees, along with Nelson Ledger and George Sneath all out of the old school, Fraser Nash days. John Aldington kept all three men on as a courtesy to them for all the years’ service they had put in. I think all of them had “officially” retired some years earlier, but so long as they were fit, they carried on in some capacity or other.
Harry was always a bit suspicious of younger people and he was always complaining about the younger staff at AFN and PCGB having a complete lack of work ethics. He still cycled to Harpers Yard every morning from his home and had a lunch of homemade sandwiches, which he bought with him, something he had probably done for 50 years or more! Harry was one of the hardest workingmen I ever met, and at 70 odd he still could change a tyre on a Porsche 911 Fuchs rim quicker than almost anyone I have seen then or since! He also looked after J.T. Aldington’s Fraser Nash cars that were stored at Harper’s Yard and was always tinkering with them when he had a moment.
Harry was also an excellent model maker. I remember him making various models of JTA’s T.T. Chain Drive Nash BMC 450 out of bits of scrap metal lying about his workshops, which he patiently cut, bent and shaped into an absolutely fantastic model, which I had the pleasure of seeing him put together over several months. He presented this to John Aldington some months later to add to John’s previously collection that Harry had made over the years (all these models are at the Fraser Nash Archive at Coxon in Henley-on-Thames).
There were always a few Fraser Nash cars around at Harper’s and these all these belonged to John Aldington. I remember Harry was always tinkering with John’s chain drive T.T. Nash that carried registration BMC 450. He also had a really funny looking Fraser Nash at Harper’s, which was a very large four seat, red cabriolet car with the registration WMC 180. This car is now restored in it’s original blue colour and also at the Fraser Nash collection in Coxon, Oxfordshire.
Harry like “Nell” Ledger, had stories that fascinated me and these men captivated my imagination of their younger days at AFN, building Fraser Nash cars by hand. Nel told me once that the “Old man” referring to H.J. Aldington, used to come into the workshop and draw out a chassis design in chalk on the floor and tell them what was wanted and they set to making it.
Harry used to make exhaust pipes and he told me how they took lengths of steel tube, cut and filled them with compacted sand, heated and bent the tubes into the required shapes.
There was also an old Isetta “bubble car” stored at Harper’. AFN used to import these along with BMW and DKW. John Aldington owned this Isetta and he told me sometime later that he had driven this around the Nurburgring in his younger days and it was quite something going round the Carousel in this three wheeler car.
I copied some old negatives for Harry one day and I have included these old Frazer Nash photographs.

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