ENGINE NO 8122
REG. NO. OF 5783
Owner David Hilditch of Welshpool.
Built in Shrewsbury in 1929 and supplied as a flatbed vehicle to AE Knox brickmakers of Erdington where it spent many years hauling bricks around the Midlands.
In 1943 it was converted to a tar sprayer and later owned by Jones Bros of Ruthin who used it as such right up until it was laid up in 1984. It was the last commercially operated steam vehicle in the UK.
David bought it in 2002 and renovated it to its present condition and restored back to its Jones Bros livery.
This well-known engine took part in the Sentinel Drivers Club road run from Glasgow to Shrewsbury in 2005. With its top speed of 30mph it took 3 days and over 2 tonnes of coal.
Lea Francis were a Coventry based manufacturer, who began making bicycles in 1895, and producing their first motor car in 1903. The K Type was built from 1925 until 1928.
Over 300 K Types were built, but only 7 are thought to have survived to the present day. This particular example is unique in the following way. Around half a dozen K Types were fitted with this style of bodywork, 2 seater tourer with single dickie seat in the boat tail, built by Avon Coachbuilders. This car is the sole survivor of that run.
It has been restored a couple of times in its long life, the first time being in the 1950s, and the second occasion being in 1983. The story of the car being the subject of a feature article in the August 1984 edition of The Automobile magazine.
Whilst the engine has undergone a rebuild a few years ago, it is the original power unit.
Thanks to Ian Cheetham from Llanerfyl for kindly exhibiting his lovely car at this year’s show.