Fragments on forgotten makes, No 74

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

The Leidart-8

The inter-war Ford V8 engine was such a smooth and inexpensive powerplant that it is no surprise that it was the basis of several sports cars made by small-output producers. The best-known and quite the most successful of these was Allard, and the most handsome Jensen, whose use of Ford V8 power was deliberately glossed over in Press descriptions. Other sports cars to use this clever power-unit were Batten Special and JBM, the latter assembled from overhauled used components.

One largely forgotten exponent of this formula for a fast sports job was the Leidart-8, which was announced during the summer of 1936. It was the idea of Leith, Huddart & Co of Pontefract in Yorkshire, who stole something of a march on others working on similar lines by having a chassis of their own. This was of heavy section, with reversed quarter-elliptic springs as on a Bugatti, and half-elliptic front springs, damped by Hartford triple friction shock absorbers. There were substantial chassis cross-members, and a low build was achieved by slightly upsweeping the sidemembers to the rear. Ground clearance, however, was declared as 6in under the twin silencers, there being separate exhaust-pipes from each bank of cylinders.

The company had been tuning competition cars and on its Leidart it carefully balanced the engine components, fitted dual carburettors fed by electric fuel pumps, and Scintilla Vertex magneto ignition, then a popular means of converting from coil to magneto. The ratio of the steering gear was raised, and a 4.0:1 back-axle ratio used. An open propellor-shaft worked in conjunction with a torque-stay to the gearbox crossmember. Rod and cable brake operation was retained but there were plans to have hydraulic brakes on future Leidarts.

The appearance of this sportstwo-seater, priced from £400 depending on the equipment supplied, was rather like that of an inflated Morgan 4/4. The specification embraced Rudge centre-lock wire wheels shod with India Super 5.2518 tyres, two rear-mounted spare wheels, Scintilla headlamps, screen wipers and horns and a pair of Desmo spot-lamps. Wheelbase measured 8ft 5in and the weight came out at 19 cwt. A maximum speed of 100 mph was claimed. The Ford gearbox had a remote-control lever and the windscreen folded flat.

It seemed the Leidart might have a successful future. The company was planning to introduce a 9ft-wheelbase chassis, and apparently had coachwork facilities or a friendly bodybuilder in tow, as a four-seater at £425, a drop-head coupe at £550 and a £575 sports saloon were in the pipeline.

The first two-seater (Reg No AWY ) was supplied to one HP Barren of Leeds. He entered it for the 1936 Yorkshire SCC’s speed trials at Wetherby Grange (seat of Sir Ronald Gunter, who had raced a 30/98 Vauxhall, a Bugatti, a Bora and a blown Lea Francis at Brooklands and who competed himself in a 41/2-litre Lagonda). Running in the class for supercharged cars up to 3 litres and non-supercharged cars up to 5 litres, Barren won with a run in 37.12 sec, beating the owner of the estate’s Lagonda by 0.03 sec and another Lagonda by 0.55 sec. It all seemed quite promising yet nothing more was heard of the Leidart-8. WB

Related articles

Related products