1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587
Lot 254
1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports
Registration no. HRX 481 Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587
£85,000 - 115,000
US$ 140,000 - 190,000
amended

Lot Details
1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587 1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports  Chassis no. L3 7120 Engine no. S8587
1953 Connaught L3 1.8-litre Sports
Registration no. HRX 481
Chassis no. L3 7120
Engine no. S8587

Footnotes

  • Few of Britain's pioneering post-war racing car constructors did more to establish this country's long-dominant competition car industry than Connaught Engineering. Owned by ex-RAF pilots and engineers Rodney Clarke and Mike Oliver, Continental Cars of Send, Surrey had no new cars to sell in the aftermath of WW2 and so turned to manufacturing their own using chassis obtained from Lea Francis, which were bodied by Leacroft of Egham. The first type sold was the Connaught L2, which came with Lea Francis' 1,767cc overhead valve engine tuned for a maximum output of 122bhp (there were no takers for the less powerful L1). In 1949 Lea Francis updated its 14hp chassis with torsion bar independent front suspension, and the Connaught's designation changed to L3. Only some 17-or-so of these Connaught sports cars were sold between 1948 and 1951 when the firm began concentrating exclusively on racing.

    The company was backed financially by one of its customers, Kenneth McAlpine, who in 1950 commissioned Connaught to build a Formula 2 car: the A-type, which was followed by the Alta-engined B-type. It was while driving one of the latter that Tony Brooks scored his historic victory in the Syracuse Grand Prix of 1955, the first all-British win at Grand Prix level of the post-war era. Despite McAlpine's backing, Connaught always lacked the resources to compete with better-funded rivals and Brooks' Syracuse result remains the marque's only Grand Prix win. The works team last raced in 1957 but Connaught's successful presence at the highest level of world motor sport had paved the way for the next generation of British constructors.

    This Connaught L3 comes with its old-style buff logbook, which shows that the car was sold via the Haleway Garage, Radworth, Berkshire to Flt Lt John R Maitland of the Officers Mess, RAF West Raynham, who later sold it on to Peter Marshal of Queens Gate, London. It was subsequently owned by Mrs Helen Sophie Davidson Simpson of Windsor, while the last recorded owner in the logbook is Christopher John Snowden of Carlisle in 1969.

    The car then came to Italy where it was restored in the early 2000s to a high standard (see restoration photographs on file). Finished in British Racing Green with black leather interior, the Connaught is described as in generally excellent condition, now fitted with Weber carburettors (the original SU carburettors are included in the sale).

    Boasting distinctively chunky good looks, these pioneering early Connaughts are notable for their ability to tackle all forms of competition, being equally at home on public roads, race tracks, hill climbs or historic rallies. Versatile and of exceptional historical significance, they represent the pinnacle of British specialist sports car design in the late 1940s.

Saleroom notices

  • The Connaught Register has confirmed that there were only 14 Connaught L-Types built, not 17 as stated in the catalogue description.
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