The Lea-Francis 30/230 was first shown to the public at the 1998 Motor Show.
The Lea-Francis 30/230 was designed by Professor Jim Randle, of Jaguar XJ220 fame. The 30/230 moved from prototype to production tooling with the help of Coventry-based 3Dscanners, who reverse-engineered the fibreglass concept body to provide surface data for the production panels and associated tooling. This involved scanning the prototype with a ModelMaker non-contact laser scanner that maps millions of points along the prototype body. The points are then converted into engineering surfaces using SDRC-Imageware Surfacer.
The 30/230 has a patented, self operating, active suspension system, that senses what the car is doing and reacts by changing the load transfer to maximise the car’s handling and tractive performance. It does, in effect, what active race car systems did with electronic control, before they were banned a few years ago. The original designs were completed in AutoCAD, but as the design progressed they were transferred to 3D SDRC Artisan to assist packaging, dynamics,
evaluation and FE analysis.
The SDRC Artisan Design and Sheet Metal software was used to design the chassis. All the chassis components are made from sheet aluminium, cut by laser and folded under NC control, before being riveted, with the result that there are no assembly jigs.
The 30/230 structure has achieved outstanding crash test results because of the patented ‘crush initiation’ system incorporated in the design. The aluminium bodied car is also equipped with a 235BHP, 3.0 litre, V6 Vauxhall engine.
Unfortunately the car has not gone into production due to a lack of finance in spite of many promising possibilities over the last few years and a good press for the prototype. Sporadic talks did continue until recently, but these have now ceased.