Buchanan at the 2013 Shannons Eastern Creek Classic
"N H Buchanan Motor Co Pty Ltd was an Australian kit car manufacturer. It made sports cars in the 1950s.
The original body produced by Buchanan was a fibreglass item based on an Aston Martin
DB3-S racing car. Buchanan borrowed a DB3-S and pulled moulds from it
while it was in Australia. The styling was altered by filling in the
scallops either side of the bonnet and reshaping the grille opening to
be oval. Because the target market was for rebodying of early model MGs,
the Buchanan moulds were cut and extended between the door openings and
the rear wheelarches, adding several centimetres to the body length.
Racing car kits were also produced, consisting of this type of body plus a fabricated X-frame
racing chassis manufactured from steel channel sections welded face to
face to form box sections. The chassis used mechanicals from an FJ Holden, with the front suspension crossmember and rear axle assembly being shortened to suit the narrower body.
The Buchanan Cobra was introduced in 1958 as a production vehicle based on Standard 10 mechanicals. Only 7 were manufactured.
Buchanan Cobra number 1 was known to be sitting in an industrial shed in Warners Bay awaiting restoration as at November 2006.
Buchanan Cobra number 3 is a complete running car and is raced
through the Victorian Racing Register on a regular basis in Victoria as
of May 2007"
You can view the Buchanan Motor Company website by CLICKING HERE
Building a Buchanan MG Special in the 1950's
by Warren Devine
This story begins at the 1956 Sydney Motor Show where my father and I saw a Buchanan fibreglass body, which was being built in Sydney by Nat Buchanan and sold as a kit to be fitted to various chassis including MG TC/TD/TF and MGA. The Buchanan was based on an Aston Martin DB3S open two seater sports racer, the original moulds being taken from a car raced by Tom Sulman. We were very impressed with the look of this fiberglass body and my father decided to investigate the possibility of constructing such a car.
At this point it is appropriate to point out that my father, George Devine, was the General Foreman at the BMC assembly plant at Rosebery in Sydney with a lot of practical knowledge of car manufacture. I was an engineering student at the University of New South Wales and full of enthusiasm at the thought of having access to a sports car.
A list of preferred components was compiled and after discussion with Jack Pryor, at the time Chief Scrutineer for CAMS, and a partner in the PRAD (Pryor/Adams) car building firm, it was decided Jack would construct a chassis based on our preferred components and designed specifically to suit the Buchanan body.
The components chosen to be used in the construction of the car were:
• Engine - BMC B type. As it turned out an engine used to test starter motors in the BMC assembly plant became available. This engine was reconditioned, the head fitted with larger valves and dual valve springs and ported and polished. Twin 1-1/4" SU carburetor were fitted as these were available from a previous family Morris Oxford Series 2. Custom made exhaust extractors with side exit exhaust completed engine modifications.
• Gearbox - any four speed floor change probably MGA. As Jack Pryor wanted to move the engine and gearbox to the rear a Morris Major gearbox, a four speed floor change without a remote and with appropriate ratios was used.
• Front suspension and steering - torsion bars with telescopic shock absorbers and steering rack used on the Series 2 Morris Oxford were selected. My father was keen on this suspension layout probably as a result of replacing lever arm shock absorbers for many years previously.
• Rear axle - there was no initial preference. As it turned out an MGA rear axle with leaf springs became available and was used the track being reduced by 50mm.
• Wheels - Morris Oxford 15 inch drilled to resemble MG TD.
The chassis consisted of two main box-section rails with tubular cross-member ties. The front suspension was mounted on vertical box pillars with transverse box sections top and bottom resulting in a very stiff front end of the chassis where needed.
Timber floors were fitted and in effect the chassis configuration bore a similarity to an MGA.
The rolling chassis was test driven before the body was fitted just to ensure there were no mechanical problems needing attention.
The body was delivered in Gelcoat finish, the only fittings being door hinges, the bonnet and boot being supplied loose. A tubular scuttle bar similar to that fitted to MG TD/TF was bonded to the body.
I can recall rubbing down the body seven times and the professional spray painter telling me the last coat was 70% thinners. The end result was a very good finish in a mid to dark green colour.
Pull cord door locks were fitted to avoid external door handles. Fibreglass wrap around seat moulds were supplied by Buchanans and covered in a light grey vinyl after knee rolls and rear padding were fitted. The internal surface of the doors was covered in a matching light grey vinyl but the interior was pretty basic in its finish.
The Finished Product
The body was completed to an advanced stage before being fitted to the chassis which being a credit to Jack Pryor was simple and straightforward with no last minute modifications being required.
The car was completed in 1959 and road registered as NSW CDX-952. No doubt due to its light weight of 700kgs low down acceleration was excellent and an Austin Healey could be accounted for up to 100kph after which restricted engine performance took effect.
Handling was neutral with understeer and oversteer being achieved by throttle control. Many an enjoyable drive was had in the Royal National Park south of Sydney where the handling could be appreciated.
The ride was firm which no doubt contributed to its excellent handling however Sydney's tram tracks were avoided where possible. Reducing the torsion bar diameter was contemplated but never carried out.
CDX-952 was sold in the early 1960's to a hill climbing enthusiast to be used in competition - this car would have been ideally suited to such events.
The following video and photos were taken at the MG display at Gladesville, Sydney, on 19 October 2008
The car is a 1959 Buchanan with MG-A engine and running gear.
Aston Martin DB3S based Buchanan
"...it is a 1959 Aston Martin DB3 special. Not original - the scoop is to accommodate a 350 c.i. (6 litre) Chevrolet motor. The original Lagonda motor replacement cost $50k for the motor alone so a Chev suited the purpose (hence the big scoop). Yes it goes - the car only weighs 850 kg (under 2000 pounds.) and in these times of high fuel costs - it isn't an every day driver. It's a boy thing!"
Buchanan @ Oran Park
Don't blink or you will miss it!!!
The red car is a 1959
Buchanan running at Oran Park on the 6 May 2009. The car is based on
MGA running gear with a body taken from the Aston Martin DB3S. The
event was a G.E.A.R. day run (Golden Era Auto Racing), possibly their
last at Oran Park before it closes.