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The Amelia Island Auction / 1950 Lea Francis 2 Liter Sports Chassis no. 5146 Engine no. S5145

Lot 219
1950 Lea Francis 2½ Liter Sports
3 March 2022, 13:00 EST
Fernandina Beach Golf Club

Sold for US$56,000 inc. premium

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1950 Lea Francis 2½ Liter Sports
Chassis no. 5146
Engine no. S5145

2,496cc, DOHC Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
2 SU Carburetors, 100hp at 4,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Drum Brakes, Front with Hydraulic Assistance
Independent Front Suspension by Torsion Bar
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Rear Suspension

*Former 2011 Amelia Island Concours entrant
*Ex-Gilmore Museum
*Elegant British Sportscar
*One of a believed production run of only 85 cars

With a reputation as purveyors of quality motor cars to those who preferred individuality to the banality of mass production, the long-established Coventry firm of Lea-Francis recommenced production after WW2 with its 1939 range, and it was not until 1947 that a new model arrived in the shape of the 14hp Sports. Boasting up-to-the-minute styling, albeit somewhat reminiscent of the pre-war BMW 328, the Sports was powered by Lea-Francis's Riley-esque twin-camshaft 1.8-liter four and was good for 85mph. In 1949, the model received a substantial upgrade with the enhanced performance of a 2.5 liter version of the twin cam four cylinder, coupled to twin SUs. Sadly, this was not enough to save the brand and only a mere 85 of these fast, stylish roadsters were produced.


It is thought that less than half of the original production of the post war 'LeaF' have survived, making this pretty English sports car a rare sighting at all, let alone in the USA. Still wearing its period British license plate with an 'LGU' prefix, that references an original life in London, after which it is known to have arrived in America in the late 1960s. Moving forward to the early 2000s, by then it was owned by Sherman Williams of Grand Rapids, Michigan who on September 25, 2002 generously donated the car to the Gilmore Museum at Hickory Corners, in his home state.

A few years after this, the '2.5' was sold to Barry Alexander of Sarasota, Florida in 2005 and it was while in his tenure that it received an extensive frame off restoration. This included stripping the aluminum body entirely, which was repainted in the two tone scheme of a rich butterscotch with black fenders, and then trimmed in green leather and fitted with a new top by Hoyts Upholstery. Under the surface, all chassis components and the engine was completely rebuilt with two new camshafts fabricated and new pistons fitted. The cylinder head assembly was overhauled, and new valves installed. The rebuild is well documented with extensive receipts and a cd disc showing the engine rebuild. On its completion, it was shown here in Amelia Island at the Concours d'Elegance in 2011.

Over the course of the last decade, the Lea-Francis sportscar has clearly seen modest road use, while its ownership has changed a further two times, latterly spending 7 years in Canada before returning to the USA last year. The seller today reports that this a well sorted car which is ready for immediate tours, and benefits from additional concessions to reliability including hidden electric fuel pump, high-capacity alloy radiator with additional electric cooling fan.

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