£12,000 - £15,000
1953 LEA-FRANCIS 14HP 4-LIGHT SALOON
Registration Number: KCJ 853
Chassis Number: 9964
Recorded Mileage: TBA
Founded in Coventry by Richard Lea and Graham Francis in 1895 as a cycle manufacturer, like so many Midland car firms, Lea-Francis went into cars from cycles in 1903, and motorcycles in 1911. The firm initially manufactured chassis, engine and gearbox, with bodies supplied externally. However after sales stalled in the mid-1930s the business changed direction. In 1937 Lea-Francis launched a range of new cars built entirely in-house, which became known as the '12' and later the '14, reflecting their stated horsepower respectively.
Post-war, production resumed in 1946, the majority being 14hp models, though with engine capacity increased to 1767cc. Most were fitted with 4-light saloon coachwork from A.P. Aircraft Limited, with some coupes and roadsters by the Westland Motor Company of Hereford. Eventually, an improved chassis with independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes was introduced across the range. The 14hp Saloon and Sports were luxurious and sporty vehicles and were popular, if expensive. Production of the 14hp continued until 1952, by which time a total of 3062 cars had found appreciative owners.
A late chassis in the production run, this 14hp 4-light saloon was first registered in May 1953 via London agent Charles Follett Limited. The Lea-Francis was acquired by our vendor in the very early 1970s, purchasing the LeaF as his first (of many) classic cars. Upon purchase our vendor restored the 14hp extensively and used it as his only transport for several years. A few years ago the 14hp was sold to a friend and fellow enthusiast, only to be brought back to the family more recently.
In the last five years or so the Lea Francis has been refinished in its original shade of burgundy red, and presents very nicely. The original leather trim in dark tan is in good order generally with the odd localised repair here and there. A rare sight on British roads, this charming sporting saloon is said to perform well on the road, and is ready to be used and enjoyed once more.