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Stondon Motor Museum (12)

Lea-Francis 14hp

The 14hp is a car initially built by the British automaker Lea-Francis from 1946 to 1954. With over 3000 being produced, it was one of the company's most successful models. It was sold as a saloon, estate, sports car, coupe, and tourer.

Saloon

The Lea-Francis 14hp Saloon debuted in 1946, and was based on the design of the pre-war 14. It was built using aluminum on a wooden frame, and weighed only 1270 kg. The 14hp was fitted with a 1767cc four-cylinder engine initially capable of generating 65 bhp of power, but this number was increased to 70 bhp in 1947. It featured an independent system for front suspension, and hydraulic brakes for the rear. The vehicle rode on a wheelbase of 111 inches and had a track width of 52 inches. Approximately 1500 examples were built between 1946 and 1950.

A second generation of the 14hp Saloon was introduced in 1950. The body of the initial saloon was retained, but the chassis and radiator were lowered, the boot lid opened from the top rather than the bottom, and the headlights were moved back into the wings. For mechanics, a recirculating ball-type steering box, revised water pump, and vacuum advance distributor were introduced. Approximately 700 saloons were made between 1951 and 1953.

Sports version

The Lea-Francis 14hp Sports was built from 1947 to 1949. It featured the same chassis as the saloon, but was shorter by about a foot. The 14hp Sports was fitted with either a 1496cc or 1767cc four-cylinder engine, respectively capable of 64 and 77 bhp. These numbers were later increased to 70 and 87 bhp. In 1948, Autocar magazine reported the vehicle had a top speed of 87 mph. During 1949, the last year of the Sports' production, a new example could be bought for £1276. Only 111 were built.

Coachbuilder vehicles

Lea-Francis 14hp Estates were built by a number of independent coachbuilders from 1946 to 1953, including the Chichaster-based Yapton Caravan Company. Only about 1000 of the wooden-bodied estates were made. The Westland Company of Hereford also built 29 14hp coupes from 1948 to 1949 and two four-seater tourers in 1950. Of these Westland-built vehicles, only 3 coupes and 1 tourer survive.