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Classic Lea Francis for sale - Lea Francis cars for sale
1930 Lea Francis Hyper (ex Works Car)VC4578 was registered in 1930 and was used as both a Works competition car and a sales demonstrator and had the company’s latest Type S body sty..
Fantastic Lea Francis LobsterCompletely rebuild and new , with supercharged Meadows engine , car made with the collaboration of Barry price and the original documents , VScc an..
GB, 1904 – 1906; 1920 – 1935; 1937 – 1953; 1960
(1) Lea & Francis Ltd, Coventry, Warwickshire, 1904 – 1935
(2) Lea-Francis Cars Ltd, Coventry, Warwickshire, 1937 – 1960Lea Francis started as bicycle manufacturers, like so many car makers, but unlike most of the rest, never went over permanently and consistently to Lea Francis cars. These Lea Francis cars appeared in fits and starts. The first appeared in 1904, in the shape of a 15hp Lea Francis car with a 3-cylinder horizontal engine, the oddest feature of which was its connecting rods over 3ft long. In the same year, however, Lea Francis stopped making their cars, and Singer the Cycle Company began building Lea Francis cars under licence and under the Singer name. R.H. Lea had in fact worked for Singer before branching out on his own. Thus began another famous car name. Lea Francis made motor cycles from 1911, and they concentrated on these until 1920. In that year two Lea Francis cars reappeared beside the motorcycles; assembled 4-cylinder touring Lea Francis cars of 11.9 and 13.9hp. Few of either were made. Then, late in 1922, the Lea Francis car company found its feet at last, with an equally conventional assembled light Lea Francis car. This Lea Francis car had a 1.074cc 4-cylinder sv engine of 8.9hp by Coventry-Simplex, replaced in the following year by a 10hp Meadows unit of 1¼ litres with overhead valves. A Lea Francis car with 7hp Bradshaw flat-twin engine came to nothing. There were 3 forward speeds and quarter-elliptic springs at both ends. The 10hp Lea Francis car was very popular, and was made until 1928. Like other Lea Francise cars to come, it was well made, dependable, and lively. The great moment came for the Lea Francis cars in the very important RAC Small Car Trials of 1924, in which the Lea Francis car made the best all-round performance. During 1925 a wider family market was sought with the 12/22hp J-type Lea Francis car. This Lea Francis car had a longer wheelbase, allowing more spacious bodies, front-wheel brakes, a 1½-litre 4EC Meadows engine to cope with the weight and a 4-speed gearbox. For the sake of comfort, semi-elliptic springs were substituted at the rear on the P-type Lea Francis car introduced for 1928, which also had a plate clutch and 4ED meadows engine. The Lea Francis car firm’s first serious sports car was the L-type with 4ED engine, announced for 1925. The Lea Francis 12/40hp was one of the best assembled cars in Britain, and appealed more widely than the light Lea Francis cars. It was, indeed, current until the second cessation of car production in 1935. However, Lea Francis also made some more ponderous, less lively Lea Francis cars, without the same degree of success. From 1925 until 1929, the Lea Francis range duplicated some of the heavy 6-cylinder machines offered by Vulcan of Southport, with whom Lea Francis cars had been associated since 1922. The 18hp Lea Francis car was a 2¼-litre car with cantilever rear springs and overhead worm drive. This Lea Francis car was succeeded by A.O. Lord’s Type T, with its advanced but unreliable Lea Francis LFS-type, double ohc engine of 1.7-litres. There was also, in 1928, a 2-litre six Lea Francis car. These Vulcan/ Lea Francis cars ended with the demise of the Vulcan. However, an excellent Lea Francis car with a six was at last introduced for 1931: the Lea Francis Ace of Spades model, with their own 2-litre, single ohc engine. This Lea Francis car continued alongside the old 12/40hp until 1935, together with a new 18hp Lea Francis car, which was a 2¼-litre enlargement of the Lea Francis Ace of Spades. However, a really powerful Lea Francis car was also listed from 1928. This Lea Francis Hyper Sports was a quite different car, with its heavily-modified, Cozette-supercharged Meadows 1½-litre engine, low build and raked radiator. The sports-racing two-seater Lea Francis car could attain 90mph, though a coupé and a short open tourer could also be had by those who did not intend to enter competitions. The Lea Francis Hyper Sports won the 1928 Ulster Trophy race. A new company introduced two entirely new Lea Francis cars for 1938. These Lea Francis cars were designed by Hugh Rose, who had been responsible for the Riley Nine engine and, like the Riley, had 4-cylinder power units with push-rod overhead valves operated by two high camshafts. The Lea Francis car had ceased to be an entirely assembled car. A 12hp and a 14hp Lea Francis car were available, with cubic capacities of 1½ and 1.6-litres. Both had a 4-speed synchromesh gearbox. A sports version of the 1½-litre Lea Francis car was also sold, thus maintaining the old tradition. These two ‘Leafs’ were good cars, and as they were new, up-to-date Lea Francis carmodels, they could be continued after World War 2. Most of those built in this period were Lea Francis Fourteens, which were heavier but had a bigger bore and a capacity of 1.8-litres. A tuned sports Lea Francis car of the 14hp arrived for 1948. At the end of that year, an export version of the 14hp Lea Francis car, with torsion-bar independent front suspension, was shown and this suspension was adopted for both the 14hp and for the new 18hp, with a 2½-litre engine, in 1950. The sports model of the 18hp Lea Francis car was a fine car, with 100bhp available. The Lea Francis cars for 1953 had hydraulic brakes, but that was the last year in which the Lea Francis car appeared as a competitive production car. By mid-1952, output had fallen to six Lea Francis cars a week. An expensive car of specialist appeal, the post-war years were too hard for it. In 1960 a few prototypes of a new sports Lea Francis car, the Leaf-Lynx, were made, but it never reached production. The power unit of this Lea Francis car was a 2½-litre Ford Zephyr, there was independent front suspension and disc brakes were supplied, but the car was ill-favoured and ill received. No better luck attented the Lea Francis carfirm’s attempt to make the Noble bubble-car.
Source: Georgano, encyclopedia of motorcar; TRN
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