1928 KD7361 LEA-FRANCIS S-Type Hyper

Well-known genuine Hyper; recent blower rebuild; good history; extremely competitive car in fine order

Richard Lea and Graham Francis set up in a small workshop in Coventry in 1895 to produce high quality bicycles. These were in great demand and the little firm soon moved to larger premises and made the obvious move into motorcycles.

By 1919 they had introduced a car of their own design, although they had an agreement with Southport-based Vulcan to share many components in order to keep costs to a minimum.

Lea-Francis also chose Meadows engines to power their cars, which proved a shrewd move as they were extremely well-engineered – the later 4ED having enormous tuning potential.

A sporting image began to appear from around 1925, leading to the introduction of the Cozette-blown S-Type Hyper. Britain’s first supercharged production car, a Hyper won the 1928 Ulster TT, a 30-lap race over 13.5 miles on the roads of Northern Ireland, in the hands of the legendary racing driver, Kaye Don. The race was watched by a record 250,000 spectators and the victory placed Lea-Francis firmly on the map.

Hyper chassis 14062 was erected in June 1928 and fitted with a Cross and Ellis two-seater body. The Lea-Francis owners club confirm that this body was removed in August 1928 and sold on, the rolling chassis being exported to a wealthy meat exporter and grazier in Sydney by the name of Mr T Field. He had a ‘rather attractive’ four seat tourer body built locally, which was to remain on the car until the early 1970s by which time it had passed through the hands of at least one further owner, a Mrs Jones, possibly of Perth, who still had the car in 1972.

By 1975 it had been repatriated and was in the hands of well-known racer Roddy McPherson. He commissioned Barrie Price to rebuild it for racing and rebody it with replica 1929 TT coachwork.

They managed to get the car UK registered KD 7361, which was a number originally on Hyper chassis 14139 – one of the 1929 Team cars which was subsequently scrapped.

Peter Harper took over the car in 1976, then Len Potter, before acquisition by one-time Lea-Francis apprentice Roy Beebee.
He rebuilt the engine, first with the original roller-bearing crank – later with a solid crank and plain bearings. It is believed that at around this time, the original crankcase 9050 was swapped with 8912 which came from a P-Type which is still fitted today. Beebee developed the car extensively, making it the quickest S-Type for a period, complete with No.8 Cozette and twin-port head.

After his death in 1996, the car fell into disuse until it was sold to, and enthusiastically campaigned by Andrew Dixey. Maintained to exacting standards by Brewster Mudie and a regular sight in all forms of VSCC competition, it spent a year with another active VSCC competitor before coming into the vendor’s hands in 2013.

Since then, he has continued to maintain it on a no-expense-spared basis and used it, predominantly for hill-climbs at which these nimble and powerful cars excel.

Other than regular servicing, he has rebuilt the shock absorbers, had the car completely rewired by specialists Vehicle Wiring Services a couple of years ago and treated the Cozette to a full rebuild in 2016 since when it has had very little use. The cooling system is charged with Fernox Alfa II antifreeze at 33% mix which has excellent anti-corrosive properties.

It had a new set of Blockley tyres in 2018 and a rebuild of the Dewandre brake servo last year.
Included in the thick file of paperwork is a current (non-transferable) VSCC Buff Form and it will have a fresh MOT by the time of the sale. The car comes with a full windscreen (not fitted), spare propshaft, two halfshafts, a silencer and an extra wheel, there is even the original roller-bearing crankshaft, although the vendor suggests that this is more suitable for decoration than motive power.

Running like the proverbial Swiss watch when we visited to take the photos, this correct and competitive car is ready to enter the fray at the highest level.

Reg No: KD7361
Chassis Number: 14062
Engine Size: 1496
Docs: V5C; old MOTs; files of bills and invoices

Estimate: £105,000+

Lot 28

Lot ended

Thursday 28/05/2020

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

Not Sold

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