Fitted with an Anzani side-valve engine, the N-Type was developed because Lea-Francis believed their supply of Meadows engines might not keep pace with the rate at which they were building and selling cars.
|Anzani, 1500cc, 40bhp
Designed in late 1925, the 1926 Lea-Francis range saw a number of modifications being made to the chassis design. The newly designated J, K, L, M and N types kept the quarter elliptic rear springs, hand-brake operating on the transmission and cone clutch of the earlier models, but with improvements such as stiffer rear cross-members and improved rear spring mounting. All models, except the G Type, now came with four wheel brakes as standard.
In 1926 things were going rather well for Lea-Francis and they were ordering around 90 engines per month from Henry Meadows. In the erroneous belief Meadows would not be able to keep up with demand the decision was taken to produce a model based on the J-Type chassis but fitted with a side-valve Anzani engine. This model was designated the N-Type.
The Anzani engine had been redesigned somewhat from their standard engine and appears to have taken design ideas from the Meadows units, including the magneto drive at right-angles to the axis of the crankshaft and the fitting and location of the exhaust, dynamo and starter motor. For some unknown reason the radiator on the N-Type was just over 1” narrow than that on the J, K, L and M types with which it shared a chassis design.
As it turned out the concern over Meadows’ engine manufacturing capacity was unjustified and supply easily kept up with demand. As a result the N-Type did not sell well and many even left the factory fitted with Meadows engines. In fact, the car pictured here, only the eighth N-Type to be manufactured was fitted with a Brooklands specification Meadows 4ED and used for some time as a factory test car and demonstrator.