Unusual Vehicles is a segment that looks into the history of an unconventional motor. Three-wheeled cars are known for having a quirky appearance, and one of the most unique was the AF Spider. Designed for the race track, the AF Spider was developed by Alexander ‘Sandy’ Fraser in 1969.
The birth of the AF Spider came about when Fraser hurt his ankle. He found the time to work on a new car that had the look of a three-wheeled Morgan, but could be used on a regular basis. The Spider was based around a BMC Mini front subframe and made out of marine plywood.
Fraser worked on the car in his kitchen, creating a box structure with a hole in the top for a driver and passenger. The body was finished with aluminium panels, while the cockpit featured a lot of equipment, including a speedometer, oil pressure gauge and cruise control. The prototype sported a 1275 cc engine and a Shorrocks supercharger that made it suitable to be put on a race track. The engine was exposed in a similar way to a Morgan.
The car impressed several people, with it being tested by Motor and Autocar. Both magazines published favourable road tests. Antique Automobiles decided to commission a production model.
Originally, the car was going to be dubbed the AF AB1, but this was changed to AF Spider. The production version differed from the prototype in that it had a smaller engine and more room in the cockpit. The aluminium panels were replaced with glass fibre, which made it suitable for the tricycle taxation class weight limit. The prototype had been classed as overly heavy, so the modifications worked in the AF Spider’s favour.
Only a small number of cars sold, so Sanders went into business for himself by founding AF Cars. Sanders brought out the AF Grand Prix, which featured a sportier appearance. Sanders only sold a small volume as well, but the AF Spider will be remembered as one of the most unique three-wheeled cars of all time.