Tag Archives: Barrie

Jig Free – Lea Francis 30/230

In August 1895 Richard Lea and Graham Francis entered into a partnership to manufacture bicycles, like the another cycle turned motor manufacturer Rover, Lea Francis was based in Coventry. In 1903 Lea Francis manufactured three unconventional vehicles with complex three cylinder motors that were not a success and from 1912 to 1924 the company manufactured motor cycles.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Lea Francis entered motor car manufacture again in 1919 with vehicles using popular Meadows engines, Lea Francis became the first marque to offer a supercharged production car, the Hyper in 1927 and the following year a Hyper won the Tourist Trophy.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The company went bankrupt in the early 1930’s and was revived in 1937 to produce a fresh vehicle designed by former Riley engineer Hugh Rose, the successors to this car proved popular after the second world war in saloon and sports car forms.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Car production ceased again in 1962 since when the company was kept alive by Barrie Price who provided spares and restoration services and occasional new low volume cars. In 1996 father of the Jaguar XJ220 Professor Jim Randle was engaged to design the 30/230 seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

The aluminium bodied car was to be powered by a 235 hp 3 litlre / 183 cui V6 Vauxhall (UK GM) motor.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Among the novel features the chassis was made by riveting laser cut aluminium panels, a process that requires no conventional jigs, and a patented active suspension system.

Lea Francis 30/230, Goodwood Festival of Speed

Unfortunately, like the planed Lea Francis Limousine which aimed to fill the niche left by the Daimler DS240, the 30/230 did not go into production.

Thanks for joining me on this Lea Francis edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’. I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing some of the event’s at this weekend’s Goodwood Revival. Don’t forget to come back now !


Nissan’s Fairlady – Datsun 240 Z

Datsun 240 Z

BRDC are the initials of the British Racing Drivers Club and signify that the owner of this vehicle, well known rally and racing driver Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams, is a member.

Datsun 240 Z

The Datsun 240 Z, featuring styling cue’s taken from the E-Type Jaguar, was in production from 1970 – 1973.

Datsun 240 Z

Unknown to me until I wrote this, in Japan 2 litre / 122 cui in line 6 cylinder versions of the 240 Z, known locally as the Nissan Fairlady Z, were available with single and double overhead cam options.

Datsun 240 Z

For the rest of us the 150 hp 2.393 cc / 146 cui single overhead cam six cylinder is the more familiar motor. This vehicle is easily identified as a second series model by the Z in the circle on the C pillar.

Datsun 240 Z

Amazingly in 1971 and 1973 Datsun 240 Z’s driven by Edgar Hermann and Shekhar Mehta respectively won the gruelling East African Safari Rally proving this was no flimsy boulevard cruiser.

Datsun 240 Z

In 1996 Nissan launched a programme to buy 240 Z’s back and restore them to factory specifications and sold them for $24,000.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s Fairlady edition of ‘Getting a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Inspiration and Innovation – Prodrive Factory Visit

I was privileged to join fellow members of the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club and Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams on a factory tour of the Prodrive Factory over the weekend.

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David Richards a qualified chartered accountant and 1981 World Championship Winning Rally co-driver who started his business as a motor sport consultant in the middle east, says of his company that it’s purpose is to ‘inject excitement’.

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That injection of excitement is backed with 25 years of Championship winning motor sports success that includes rallying

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and racing …

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to the very highest levels including two spells in which David Richards ran teams in Formula One.

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In 2006 Prodrive built a fully working concept car, but declined to put it into production,

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After numerous successes running Aston Martin racing teams …

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David Richards led a consortium of investors in a $925 million take over of Aston Martin in 2007,

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a company of which he is now the Chairman.

It was uplifting to see British engineering is alive and well in Banbury, Oxfordshire with a fascinating range of activity including the assembly of a range of competition vehicles, computer operated machining of a huge variety of items from solid blocks of material, and truly mind boggling assembly of competition spec wiring looms, if your into engineering and or motor sport the Prodrive tour run by the effervescent Jackie Irwin, who has petrol running through her veins, is an absolute must.

My thanks to everyone at the Bristol Pegasus Motor Club who organised the tour including Andy who kindly did the driving honours.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s excitement injected edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !