Lea-Francis at play

The Lea-Francis OC celebrated its 25th Anniversary at Stanford Hall, near Lutterworth, on June 7, when some 30 cars representing the various models of the Coventry make arrived for a Concours d’Elegance (in which age and usage were judged, as well as condition and originality) and mild driving tests. I Wood’s 1930 P-type “Leaf’ from Dover won the distance award, and the oldest car present was the Woodhouses’ 1923 9.8hp D-type, on 700 80 tyres, which had been at the first Stanford Hall rally in 1963.

Club President, Tom Delaney, brought both his blown Hypers, DH Wagstaffe the ex-Brooklands “Lobster”, with original engine having separate pipes from its Cozette blower, each feeding a pair of cylinders. This car was raced by Newsome and Peacock, and crashed at Shelsley Walsh, but now has a P-type chassis; the present owner bought it in 1932 and ran it at Donington and in MCC trials and Brooklands events. Barrie Price came in his modern Jaguar-engined Lea-Francis prototype, and took the opportunity of a run in Dr Elliot-Pyle’s aluminium-bodied 1929 2LFS.

Post-war saloon and sports models were well represented, and Mrs Abbot’s 1926 12/22hp J-type coupe caught the eye. A 1961 Unihorse tractor with single-cylinder BSA engine was demonstrated, and they even had a couple of Leaf bicycles and Hugh Rose’s last design for the company, his tiny moped engine. An engineless coupe which appeared in the film Monte Carlo or bust and is being restored, another Hyper two-seater, a 14/70 Light Six, and a Westland-bodied “Leaf’ were also present.

While in the relaxing river-girt Stanford Hall grounds we had a look at the Motorcycle Museum, noting the ex-Henry Laird ohv Acre Morgan (another vehicle once Zoller supercharged), the 172 cc big-tank Francis-Barnett which Meeten rode for six hours at Brooklands at 54.6 mph, a £100 two-stroke Carden cyclecar, a dirt-track Scott and another Scott with primitive “chair”. WB