Sold for $110,000 at 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction.Sold for $82,500 at 2017 RM Auctions : Amelia Island.
Chassis #: 5158
Engine #: S5173
The Lea-Francis Company originated in Coventry in Great Britain. It was formed in 1895 by Richard Henry Lea and Graham Inglesby Francis. The company began life building bicycles before entering into car manufacturing in 1903 followed by motorcycles in 1911. They built cars under license from the Singer Company until 1919 when then began building their own cars using components they bought.
By the early 1930s the company had entered receivership. Production continued but at a very low rate. In 1938, the re-emerged under new ownership, offering a pair of twin-cam engined models designed by Hugh Rose, formerly with Riley.
After World War II, the company recommenced production with its 1939 range, and it was not until 1947 that a new model arrived - the 14hp Sports. The Sports was powered by Lea-Francis's Riley-esque twin-camshaft 1.8-liter four. In 1949, a 2.5-liter version of the twin cam four-cylinder engine was offered, coupled to twin SU carburetors. Unfortunately, this was not enough to save the company and just 85 of these roadsters were produced.
This particular example was delivered new finished in Electric Blue paint. It was supplied first through Northern England representative Marshalls Ltd. of Halifax in Yorkshire to Mr. Waterhouse, who retained it for five years, before moving south in the U.K. to a Mr. Watson of Kent. In 1963, it entered the care of Mr. Ashwill of Chelmsford and remained with him until the mid-2000s. At that time, it was purchased by Mr. Zifenbein of Madison Heights, Michigan. David Evans of Blacklick, Ohio became the next owner, who repatriated the car for an engine rebuild.
The current owner acquired the car in 2008. It was then treated to a comprehensive refurbishment that took four years and more than $80,000 to return it to its former glory. Since then, it has been driven a mere 100 miles. In 2014, it was shown at the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance where it earned a 1st Prize in the British Sports Car class.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2015