In July 1937 a new company, Lea-Francis Engineering Ltd, was founded and opened the Much Park Street factory in Coventry. Its first offerings were these elegant vehicles designed by Hugh Rose, featuring an engine with twin camshafts mounted in the block, similar to the Riley but with the camshafts higher, permitting short pushrods and resulting in a remarkably light and efficient engine.
Deliveries commenced in 1938, but the outbreak of WWII one year later curtailed production with 68 cars built, most fitted with the more powerful 1629cc 12.9hp ‘Fourteen’ engine.
Only a handful of these pre-war cars survive, of which six are currently owned by club members. Pictured are (all 12.9hp Fourteens): the 1938 Drophead Coupe (which competed in the 1939 Monte Carlo Rally), a 1938 Corsica-bodied Sports 2 seater, the 1938 Carlton-bodied Sports 2 seater (which was the model for the Corsica) , and a 1939 Avon-bodied Saloon.