“An attractive and enjoyable sports car” according to the Lea Francis Club website. The Lea Francis company of Coventry made some very appealing cars prior to its demise in the early 1960s. Chief among these was the 14hp Sports launched in 1947 with a 1496cc then, very soon after, a 1767cc, 14HP/77bhp engine. Designed with input from former Riley employees, they weren’t cheap cars. Perhaps because of that, only 111 of them were made in total before moving on in 1953 to a different, 2.5 litre engined car. Of those 14HP cars made around fifty are known to survive and many are still driven regularly.
This car is the larger engined, 1767cc version with high-lift camshafts, twin carbs and performance to match. Good for almost 90mph at the time, the engine must be one of the best looking sub-2 litre units we have seen. The chassis, engine and drivetrain were also used in Connaught’s sports racing cars of the early fifties, demonstrating its sporting credentials. As a company, Lea Francis had established those credentials with victory in the Ulster TT in the late 1920s. Intriguingly, MZ5343 has been a Northern Ireland car all its life. Now re-registered with its original registration number it was known to have competed in local events in the North in the 1950s (see picture below).
Now generally patinated but running and stopping well, with lights and dials all apparently functioning, this is a delightful period car to drive. The aluminium bodywork retains its original, metallic grey paint which, in our view, should be left exactly as it is. It shows its years but not in a rusty or dented way. It displays its post-war origins with headlamps incorporated into the front wings while still reminding us of early Dinky Toys sportscars.
We have redyed and reproofed the hood which enhances the car’s looks. It comes with original, unpainted rear spats, twin aero screens for that sporting look and a folding windscreen, side screens and tonneau cover (needing restitched).
Prices of good examples of these cars are now firmly in the high thirties £ sterling. While this particular example is not in that elevated value range, it could achieve that if a new owner desired investing in a respray and re-trim, although we’d prefer just enjoying driving it as it is.
Historic vehicle class.
Chassis no. 7080
Engine Number. S3687
PRICE £PRICE ON APPLICATION