The early post-war interest in small displacement automobile racing in Europe was fueled by enthusiasm and petrol rationing. Money was tight and 500-cc home-spun race cars powered by motorcycle engines were relatively affordable. These cars were built on weight-sparing tubeframe chassis and were most often motivated by half-liter chain-driven JAP and Norton rattlers. This genre of racing became so popular in Europe that the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) added a Formula Three Class to its roster in 1950. And while F3 provided an ideal platform for the budget-minded hobbyist racer, it also served as a stepping stone for such greats as Stirling Moss, Jim Russell, Ken Tyrrell, and Peter Collins.
Over time, shade-tree specials gave way to professionally built F3 racing machines and a new industry was born. Cooper rapidly emerged as the dominant constructor, but several other manufacturers also sold well-built, competitive racers including Emeryson, Arnot, Deutsch-Bonnet, Monopoletta, Kieft, Scampolo, JBS, among others. A lesser-known Formula 3 builder opened its doors in Sweden, and that was Effyh.
Brothers Folke and Yngve Håkansson of Malmö, Sweden were busy working as mechanics in the heavy trucking equipment industry. Following WWII they became interested in building competition cars and migrated toward the growing sport of F3. The company was named Effyh after the brother’s initials (FYH). Two factory-built models were available from Effyh; one for ice and dirt track ovals, and another for road racing circuits (the so-called Tourist Trophy [TT] Effyh). In addition, the brothers Håkansson also sold complete sets of drawings for anyone wanting to assemble a clone from the ground up.
The cars from Effyh were rear-engined and were built on a lightweight chrome moly tubular spaceframe chassis with alloy bodywork. Front suspension was independent by double wishbones and coil springs, while rear suspension was by twin transverse quarter-elliptical springs. One of the unique construction aspects of Effyh cars was the incorporation of a protective roll hoop and side-mounted nerf bars. Effyh go-power came most commonly from a 40bhp JAP or a Swedish SRM engine driving through a Norton gearbox. The design worked and customers began to place orders.
Effyh production estimates vary widely, and various reports in the automotive literature cite numbers ranging from 30 to 60 cars. These machines were raced throughout Europe and Scandinavia, and some even made their way to the United States. Champion American driver John Fitch raced an Effyh-Jap for Charles Kotchan at the May 1951 Giant’s Despair Hillclimb and finished 2nd in class. Four months later Fitch piloted Kotchan’s silver rocket to an excellent 2nd in class and 4th overall at Bridgehampton.