Charles M. Van Eugen was born in Holland in 1890 and having worked with a variety of motor engineering companies, including Simplex in Amsterdam, Daimler and Swift in the UK, he joined Lea-Francis in December 1922 as their designer. He was to go on to design some of the company’s best motor cars.
His first task was to sort out the 8.9hp C type. Van Eugen made a number of improvements, significantly including the design of a new front axle. An initial batch of 50 cars was sanctioned and the four prototype cars were rebuilt to the new specification.
About 90 C types were built and sold. Numerous changes were made to the initial specification, for example extending the wheelbase by 6” on later versions, but all had semi-elliptic front springs with quarter-elliptic springs to the rear, a 1074cc Coventry Simplex engine, a cone clutch, Meadows gearbox and a spur-gear differential fitted within a centre-split rear-axle of cast-aluminium.
In 1922 a C type with a two-seater body cost £235, or £250 if one wished to have the car fitted with an electric starter.
A C type was the first Lea-Francis car to be used in competition.
None is believed to have survived