LEA-FRANCIS (England) l904-1906, 1920-1935, 1937-1953, 1960 to date
The first Lea-Francis had a three-cylinder 15 hp horizontal engine,
though their manufacture was soon taken over by Singer.
However, Lea and Francis, who had initially made bicycles, began
making motorcycles in 1911, and in 1920 car production started up
again, 11.9 hp and 13.9 hp models being offered. The year 1922 saw
the appearance of a Coventry-Simplex-engined car of 8.9 hp, while
the following year a Meadows ohv power unit was fitted. A sports
car the 12/40, was announced in 1925 and remained in production
In the early 1920s the company amalgamated with Vulcan of Southport
and some of the heavier six-cylinder Vulcans were sold under the
Lea-Francis name. Far more exciting was the Hyper Sports of 1928,
having a Cozette-supercharged 1 1/2litre Meadows engine. The Ace
of Spades model appeared in 1931, being powered by a 2litre six-cylinder
ohc engine. This remained in production until the company's demise
in 1935, alongside the faithful 12/40.
Lea-Francis was reconstituted in 1937 with two models of l 1/2 and
1.6-litre capacity and the engines by Hugh Rose (who had designed
the Riley 12/4) bore a striking similarity to that unit. Production
continued after the war, with the 14 hp 1.6-litre car predominating,
smartly followed by a tuned sports model in 1948.
In 1950 a new 18 hp 2 1/2 litre car was introduced with torsion-bar
front suspension which had also featured on the earlier l4hp model.
But production dwindled and ceased completely in 1953. In 1960 the
controversially styled Ford Zephyr-engined Leaf-Lynx was displayed
at that year's Motor Show, but no orders resulted from this automotive
In 1978, Barry Price of Studley, Warwickshire, announced that Lea-Francis
was about to resume limited production with motive power supplied
see more: the Lea-Francis Owners' Club