Designed in late 1925, the 1926 Lea-Francis range saw a number of modifications being made to the chassis design. The newly designated J, K, L, M and N types kept the quarter elliptic rear springs, hand-brake operating on the transmission and cone clutch of the earlier models, but with improvements such as stiffer rear cross-members and improved rear spring mounting. All models, except the G Type, now came with four wheel brakes as standard.
When fitted with the then new, higher revving Meadows 4ED engine, motor cars on this chassis were designated L or M type type. The 4ED engine featured a separate aluminium crankcase and a pressure fed crankshaft mounted on three white-metalled main bearings. This with alloy connecting rods and larger ports in the cylinder head and a reasonable camshaft profile gave a more powerful and easier revving engine than the 4EB and 4EC types. In fact, while arguably a little too powerful for some of the components on the earlier Lea-Francis cars to which it was fitted, the Meadows 4ED became the engine of choice for the majority of the company’s cars from this point on.
The L Type was Lea-Francis’ first really sporting car built in significant numbers. Referred to as the 12/50 Brooklands Sports Model, the L Type had a high compression cylinder head, two Solex carburettors and a “Brooklands” camshaft, and were guaranteed to do 70mph. A Dewandre brake servo assisted the bringing of this sportting motor car to a stop and Hartford shock-absorbers on all four corners aided road holding.
Most L types were fitted with four- or two-seater sports bodies, and had wire wheels.
174 L types were built of which two have survived in the Club, although much altered; the high mortality rate probably due to the back axle being unable to cope with the power of the 4ED.