The estate cars on the 14hp saloon chassis had wooden bodies that were not built in-house, but by quite a number of independent coachbuilders, who even produced one-offs for individual customers.
|Lea-Francis 1767cc, 65bhp (70bhp after 1947)
The first coachbuilder to build the estate body in any quantity was the Yapton Caravan Company of Chichester. The later and more successful design was produced by the APA concern, and this was adopted by the works as the standard version (most survivors are of this type). It proved to be a popular model, partly owing to the purchase tax concession for commercial vehicles, for which estate cars qualified.
The rugged 14hp engine also proved itself well suited to load-carrying duties, and with rear seat lowered large and bulky items could be carried. Mechanically and in frontal appearance they developed in parallel with the 14hp saloon, except that ifs was only fitted to estates in 1950. About 1,000 were made, plus a number of vans, the only difference with these being that there were no rear doors or rear side windows. Only 20 estate cars and three vans are currently in Club members’ hands, as so many have succumbed to wood rot. The car in the fourth photo below is an exception, with its original wood in good condition.
Most owners report fond memories of the Lea-Francis 14hp Estate, as a car with a lot of character often occupying a central role in family life, especially holidays.