I notice that the new Nissan electric vehicle is being called the 'Leaf' which sounds all nice and tree-huggy green. This new car will be built in Nissan's Smyrna, Tennessee assembly plant. What's that got to with a blog about the British car scene? Not much, actually, but the Leaf name reminded me of the British Lea-Francis marque, affectionately referred to as 'LeaF' by its enthusiasts.
The Lea-Francis marque is one of the many that didn't stand the test of time. The firm came out of the partnership of Richard Henry Lea and Graham Ingoldsby Francis in 1895 and was based in Coventry. Lea-Francis was known for some pretty hot cars in the prewar era, carrying model names such as Hyper (Britain's first supercharged production car) and Ace of Spades.
Lea-Francis was a respectable competitor to the likes of Jaguar especially in the post war period when they produced a range of upscale sports cars and fine saloons.
The Lea-Francis automotive concern ceased trading in 1963.