1948 Lea-Francis 2.5 litre Sports Prototype For Sale

£44,995 Asking price

Robin Lawton Vintage & Classic Car Specialist

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1948 Lea-Francis 2.5 litre Sports Prototype For Sale

  • United Kingdom


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1948 Lea-Francis 2. 5 litre Sports Prototype – GKV 904

In 1948 this Lea-Francis was one of just a handful of cars capable of achieving 100 mph. She was a demonstrator at the 1949 Motor Show and retained the more attractive body with the larger engine fitted making for very lively performance.

Another famous Coventry manufacturer with its origins in the cycle industry, Lea Francis was founded in 1895. Car production commenced in 1903 with motorcycles being manufactured from 1911. Originally the cars were built under licence for Singer but by 1919 they were to produce their own cars using proprietary components.

Midway through the 1920’s the sporting character of the marque was gaining strength with models such as the ‘Ace of Spades’ and ‘Hyper’ proving excellent and highly capable. The Hyper was the first supercharged British production car, powered by a 1. 5 litre Meadows engine and in 1928 one such model was to win the Ulster TT.

By 1937 the company was to be re-formed, with George Leek as chairman. Joining the new team were several ex Riley men, including Hugh Rose, who had designed the Riley 12/ 4 power unit. Two new cars of 12 and 14hp were introduced in 1937 and were to continue until 1939, when the works was to concentrate on manufacture for the war effort.

Post war production began in 1946 and by 1950 the 18hp Saloon and a more powerful Sports model with the 2. 5 litre engine appeared. A fine, well equipped car, in fact just 77 examples were built by the time production ceased in 1953.

This car is the prototype postwar Lea-Francis Sports car. It was the first to be fitted with independent front suspension. It became the first prototype 14 Sports and then the prototype 2. 5 Litre Sports.

In July 1947, the chassis was laid down and fitted with IFS by torsion bar. This chassis was numbered 196 continuing the pre-war series. Initially first fitted with a high performance 12hp engine when it became the first prototype 14 Sports (to be available with either a 12hp or a 14hp engine). Before it was bodied it was decided that this model should have a beam axle and so another chassis was laid down with that type of front axle, the engine was transferred to that chassis which was numbered 1300 and it was given the first Abbey Panels body number S 1. A.
This car's chassis, on receiving the first 2. 5 Litre Lea-Francis engine, was numbered 5000 and became then the prototype 2. 5 Litre Sports retaining its IFS. Experimental work was carried out with a single and then twin SU carburettor(s) and also with different rear axle ratios. The chassis was fitted with a 14 Sports body (number 22A) and was on the road in May 1948 some 18 months before the first production 2. 5 Litre Sports which had a different body and which appeared at the 1949 Motor Show. GKV 904 was on display at that Motor Show but only as a demonstator and was retained as a factory demonstrator for some time until released into private ownership.

The original engine (number 5001) is in the possession of the vendor and may be available with the car – however, she is now fitted with a later 2. 5 litre engine numbered 5363.

The car has had four gearboxes; the first for its time as the 14 Sports prototype, the next when the 2. 5 engine was fitted and the experimental work was carried out, another in 1950 and finally the present 'box in April 1952.
Lea-Francis used Armstrong-Siddeley gearboxes which proved less able to handle the torque of this big four-cylinder engine as opposed to that of the 2 litre six-cylinder engine for which it was designed.

A 100 mph car in 1948, she has had ten owners since leaving the Factory's ownership.

An early private owner was Trevor Guy (of the lorry and bus manufacturing company) who replaced his SS100 with this car. The record of service at the factory extended to 1956 when the recorded mileage stood at 35, 587.

Intended for renovation since 1974 by the two owners previous to the present owner who bought the car in 1991 and had the restoration carried out by A. B. Price Ltd which took over the Lea-Francis name and rights in 1963. There is an illustrated article of that restoration and road impressions in ‘Classic Car Magazine’ issue of February 1993.

Chassis 5000
Engine 5001/ 5363
Gearbox 4069
Rear Axle 10136
Front suspension independent by torsion bars.
2496cc 4-cylinder 100bhp at 4000rpm.
Synchromesh on 4th, 3rd and 2nd.
Ratio 3. 6 to 1
Registered as GKV 904 on 21st May 1948.
The car has full weather equipment, a large history file and has proved reliable in the present ownership. There are a number of spares (available separately from the vendor).

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Robin Lawton Vintage & Classic Car Specialist

Robin Lawton Vintage & Classic Car Specialist

Premium dealer

Vehicle location

Hampshire / Sussex
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Advert Details

Advert type:
For Sale
Classic Cars
Reference number:
Listed on:
Lea Francis
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