Lea-Francis 2.5-Litre Sports

1950 Lea-Francis 2½-Litre Westland Sports

Offered by Historics at Brooklands | June 11, 2016

Photo - Historics at Brooklands

Photo – Historics at Brooklands

Lea-Francis was founded by Richard Lea and Graham Francis in 1895. As did many, the pair began by building bicycles and cars came in 1903. Strangely for a company that began by building bicycles, motorcycle production started after cars did. An independent their entire existence, the company folded in 1960.

The 2½-Litre was introduced in 1949 and was built in very small quantities through 1953. In fact, only 77 were built in total. The engine is a 2.5-liter straight-four rated at 120 horsepower. This is the sportiest car Lea-Francis built after the war.

Kind of resembling a Jaguar XK120, this Westland-bodied Lea-Francis is among the most collectible cars that the company built. Coupling with the decent looks and low production numbers, this example with a six-year-old restoration is expected to bring between $50,000-$60,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $47,775.

The Fanciest Pre-Jaguar

1939 SS 100 2.5-Litre Roadster by Van den Plas

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 28-29, 2016

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

We’ve featured another SS 100 before, but that was the larger-engined 3.5-litre model. This car is actually powered by a 2.7-liter straight-six (even though it’s called a “2.5-litre”) making 102 horsepower.

The SS brand, as we all know, became Jaguar after WWII and the Nazi connection those two letters had. This particular car is thought to be the final 2.5-litre SS 100 chassis built in 1939 and it was purchased by Van den Plas, the Belgian coachbuilder. But war broke out and they weren’t able to do anything with it until after things had settled down, so this car with this fantastic, Figoni-esque body debuted in 1948 at the Brussels Motor Show.

Van den Plas began in Belgium in 1870 and a British arm, Vanden Plas, opened in London in 1917. Jaguar had a long associated with that brand through its British Leyland ownership and beyond. You can see the underlying SS 100 under the added swoopy fenders – the grille and hood line is still intact.

This car arrived in the U.S. in the late 1980s or early 1990s and it was then restored. It still wears that restoration that shows well. It is one-of-one and will cost you a pretty penny. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s lineup.

Update: Sold $1,402,500.