Lot 204 - 1949 Lea Francis Sports Roadster (2½ litre)
|Estimate||£38,000 - £48,000|
|Result||Sold - £50,400|
In receivership in 1931, Lea-Francis re-emerged under new ownership in 1938, offering a pair of overhead-valve, twin-cam engined models designed by Hugh Rose, formerly with Riley. Built up to a specification rather than down to a price, the new models re-established Lea-Francis as purveyors of high quality motor cars to those who preferred individuality to mass production. The long established Coventry firm recommenced production after WW2 with its 1939 range and it was not until 1947 that a new model arrived in the shape of the 14hp Sports. Boasting up-to-the-minute styling, albeit somewhat reminiscent of the pre-war BMW 328, the Sports was powered by Lea-Francis's Riley-style 1.8-litre four and good for 85mph. A mere 118 of these fast, stylish roadsters were produced between 1947 and 1949.
Originally sold through Charles Follett Ltd. in London and then delivered new to Sweden, this righthand drive roadster was subsequently imported into Denmark in the late 1990s and restored, the work being completed in 2006. With only 85 examples of the 2½ litre Sports had been made by the time production ceased in 1953, of which 40 are currently in the Club with others known to exist in the hands of non-members, this is rare indeed. It had a mechanical overhaul by Barrie Price in 1982, at around 80.000 miles, with its 4th owner who sold it two years later in 1984. More recently, it was acquired by the vendor in Paris whereupon, due to its condition, he began a light restoration. Attention was focussed on the engine, clutch, flywheel, suspension, gearbox, drive shaft, rear axle, starter and instruments. Work that took over two years and finished in July, 2016.
Offered with Danish registration papers and technical inspection as well as, now, French registration documents, this more powerful 2½ Sports model represents an opportunity to acquire a rare Lea-Francis sports car eligible for a wide variety of historic motor sports events including the Goodwood Revival.