Lea-Francis Vehicles

Lea-Francis 14hp Special 1946 -1953

Engine:
As 14hp saloon with modifications

Wheelbase:
As 14hp saloon with modifications

Track:
As 14hp saloon with modifications

Over the years a number of tired post-war 14s, mostly saloons but also estates, have found a new lease of life with mainly home-built open bodies fitted. Several quite attractive bodies, either two- or four-seater sports designs, have resurrected cars that might otherwise have been disposed of.

Naturally without the weight of the original body and with a little judicious tuning they can be made to go very well, even as well as (if not better than) the 14 Sports, and for a fraction of the money. Currently there are 16 such specials in the Club, each one different. They are not all open, as is shown by the coupe in the second photo below. The latest special, third photo, completed in 2012 from a 1947 four-light saloon rolling chassis has references to the pre-war MG J2. Some have also been fitted with different engines, such as the white car in the fourth photo which has a 2 1/2litre Sports engine.

The idea of using the very tunable 14hp engine and chassis as the basis for a special is not however a new one. Right at the start of the model’s history its potential was recognised and a number of sports and racing versions produced. Seen here (fifth photo) is the first of them produced in 1946/7 by the firm Cowell and Watson, which was intended for limited production, but only a couple were made (both in the Club). The final photo shows the Bill Skelly special, which had the competition version of the 14 engine, racing at Snetterton.

Back to Vehicles