1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048
Lot 69
1949 Connaught L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater
Registration no. OPC 3 Chassis no. 7048
Sold for £ 51,750 (US$ 68,068) inc. premium

Lot Details
1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048 1949 Connaught  L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater  Chassis no. 7048
1949 Connaught L2 2½-litre Sports-racing Two-seater
Registration no. OPC 3
Chassis no. 7048
* Historically important British sports-racing car
* Successful in-period competition record
* Known ownership history
* Restored in the 2000s
* Potentially eligible for the Goodwood Revival and other prestigious historic events

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 of Send, Surrey. The pilot batch of three Connaughts was built by ex-RAF pilots and engineers, Rodney Clarke and Mike Oliver at their Continental Cars business located alongside the A3 road at Send in Surrey. With production of these three cars they founded the marque which, in its ten-year life, scored the first all-British victory in a post-war Grand Prix (Tony Brooks at Syracuse in 1955) and established a lasting reputation for engineering and manufacturing quality.

    The L-Type Connaught was constructed on a modified Lea-Francis 14hp chassis, while the 1,767cc four-cylinder engine and much of running gear was also supplied by the Coventry-based manufacturer. Leacroft of Egham, Surrey produced the two-seater alloy body to Clarke's design. Only six L2s were built: three prototypes and three production cars.

    This wonderfully historic and evocative early post-war sports-racing car was purchased by the vendor's uncle in 1957/8 having been originally commissioned by Ken Downing. Having fitted a skimpy cycle-wing racing body and down-sized the engine, Downing raced 'OPC 3' very successfully in the up-to-1½-litre class during the 1951 season; indeed, Connaught featured the car's competition record (15 firsts and 11 other placings) in its advertising. These successes proved pivotal, inspiring the successful L3/SR range of cycle-wing racers and also encouraging investors, allowing Connaught to be ready for when Grands Prix were run to Formula 2 regulations. The marque would enjoy considerable success in Formula 2 with drivers such as Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori, Archie Scott Brown, Tony Rolt, Prince Bira, etc.

    In 1953, Downing sold 'OPC 3' to Edgar Wadsworth. The Connaught was registered to a Kathleen Gibson in 1955, then bought by Archie Scott Brown's garage on Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, from which it was purchased by the vendor's uncle. In the 1960s, 'OPC 3' was renovated to a certain standard and the damaged engine replaced with a 2½-litre Lea-Francis sports engine by AB Price (as they had done with Connaught L2 'AHC 82' previously). The car was then shipped to Canada (in 1971) and remained there until 2005 when it was given to the vendor and brought back to the UK.

    Restoration works undertaken since then include a full strip-down and rebuild; new brake components and full brake service; new clutch plate and service; and a new aluminium fuel tank (the old one leaked badly). Casting repair specialists Surelock metal-stitched some cracks in the cast-iron block (caused by frost expansion in Canada), following which the block re-bored and new 'top hat' cylinder liners installed. Surelock then pressure-injected a ceramic lining throughout, and pressure-tested the casting. The engine was then fully rebuilt with hardened valve seats, new pistons and rings, gudgeon pins, white metalled crankshaft bearings, new cylinder head gasket and other gaskets, etc. In addition, the twin SU carburettors were repaired, new spark plugs and leads fitted, and new fuel lines and electronic fuel pumps installed. This car's history was recounted by Michael Ware in an article in The Automobile (April 2008 edition, copy on file) and the car also comes with an old-style logbook, sundry restoration bills, and a V5C Registration Certificate.

    Early Connaughts are amongst the most distinctive of all pioneering British sports-racing cars, not only for their chunky looks but also for their rugged reliability and ability to motor on in all levels of competition - both serious and informal - whether on public roads, on circuits or hill climbs, and even historic rallying. These cars are versatile and historically most significant, and for any historic car enthusiast with his heart in the right place there can be no more romantic nor more gallant marque than Connaught. 'OPC 3' is arguably the most acclaimed and significant L2 model, and during the period in which this most important motor car was produced, Connaught stood right at the cutting edge of the specialist sports-racing car industry.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For Motor Cars and Motorcycles a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £50,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £50,000. VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Some lots may be subject to VAT on the Hammer Price. These lots will be clearly marked with the relevant symbol printed beside the lot number in the catalogue.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalogue.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. John Polson
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 5803
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5802
Similar Items