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Lot 035: Lea-Francis Sports Special

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (18 July 2012)

Like so many British car companies, the Coventry firm of Lea-Francis started out in life as manufacturers of bicycles and didn't build their first motorcar until 1904, followed by a break until 1920 when their next model appeared. For most of the 1920s and '30s Lea-Francis concentrated on building small, sporting models, either open or closed saloons. The 12hp and the 14hp were introduced in 1937 and continued until the start of the war in 1939 when production ceased and the factory concentrated on manufacturing for the war effort. Post-war car production commenced in 1946 with updated vehicles based on the pre-war designs. The 14hp Saloon and Sports were luxurious and sporty vehicles and were well-received, if expensive, appealing to those who preferred individuality and craftsmanship to the banality of mass production. Power came from Lea-Francis's own Riley-style twin-cam overhead-valve 1.8-litre four, designed by Henry Rose who had formerly played a leading role in designing Riley engines. From 1949 independent front suspension was adopted and demand for these fine cars rose steadily and 2,133 were sold in total before production came to an end in 1954. First registered in May 1947, this particular car probably started out in life as a 14hp saloon but was rebodied into the style of a two-seater sports tourer by respected coachbuilder Richard Mead of Dorridge, probably in the early 1980s. Upon completion the car spent several years in Northern Ireland before returning to England in 1987, being acquired by the current vendor in the following year. During his 24 years' ownership the car has always been kept garaged and has only covered some 4,000 miles during this time, hence the reason for sale. Appearing to be in very good condition throughout with a particularly sound and well-preserved chassis, the car is said to drive very well indeed. The engine and four-speed manual all-synchromesh gearbox are in good health and the car will cruise happily at 55mph. With plenty of storage space behind the front seats, the car is an eminently practical tourer and comes with a full set of weather gear including hood, sidescreens and tonneau cover. Currently taxed and with an MOT until April 2013, the car is due to be driven to the sale and is ready for immediate use.

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
Lot Number035
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£13200
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberGDU 944
Chassis number1952
Engine number7847
Engine capacity (cc)1767
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2