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Lanchester Motor Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Lanchester Motor Company Limited

Lanchester Motor Company Logo
Former type Private
Industry Automotive
Fate purchased by BSA group 1930
Successor(s) The Daimler Company Limited
Founded (business) Birmingham 1899
Founder(s) Frederick Lanchester
George Lanchester
Frank Lanchester
Defunct dormant since 1955 but currently listed as 'active'
Headquarters (to 1930) Armourer MillsBirmingham, England
Number of locations (to 1930)
Works: Armourer Mills Sparkbrook Birmingham
Showrooms:
88 Deansgate Manchester
95 New Bond Street London
Key people (to 1930) Founders
Trevor Hamilton Barnsley
Whitfield brothers
Pugh brothers
J S Taylor
Products Motor vehicles
Parent (after 1930) The Daimler Company Limited
Lanchester Brand
Owner Tata Group through Jaguar Land Rover
Country United Kingdom
Discontinued 1955 but company still exists
Markets Automotive
Previous owners Lanchester (18951930)
BSA Group (19301960)
Jaguar Cars (19601966)
British Motor Corporation(19661966)
British Motor Holdings (19661968)
British Leyland (19681984)
Jaguar Cars (19841989)
Ford (19892007)
The Lanchester Motor Company Limited was a car manufacturer located until early 1931 at Armourer Mills,
Montgomery Street, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, and afterwards at Sandy Lane, Coventry England.
Lanchester was purchased by the BSA Group at the end of 1930 and after that its cars were made
by Daimler on Daimler's Coventry sites. So, with Daimler, Lanchester became part of Jaguar Cars in 1960. The
rights to the Lanchester brand now belong toTata Motors of India, though Lanchester has been dormant since
the last Lanchester rolled off the line in 1955. The Lanchester Motor Company Limited is still registered as an
active company and accounts are filed each year though it is currently marked "non-trading".
Contents
[hide]
1 History
o 1.1 The three brothers
1.1.1 The Crystal Palace Automobile Show, January 1903
1.1.2 War
1.1.3 Postwar
1.1.4 Olympia 1930
o 1.2 Sale or liquidation
o 1.3 Daimler
o 1.4 Jaguar, Ford, Tata
2 Monument
3 list of Lanchester cars
4 Notes
5 References
6 External links
[edit]History
[edit]The three brothers


Twenty-Eight 28 hp
[1]
landaulette
1910 example
Edwardian Lanchesters set their own conventions, they were very expensive and intended to last 'forever'
This business was begun by the three Lanchester brothers, Frederick, one of the most influential automobile
engineers of the 19th and 20th century, George and Frank who together incorporated The Lanchester Engine
Company Limited in December 1899 retaining the financial support they had previously received from the two
brothers, Charles Vernon Pugh and John Pugh of Rudge-Whitworth. Others who took directorships included
the Whitfield brothers, J S Taylor and Hamilton Barnsley - a master builder who was to sell the business to
BSA-Daimler in 1931.
[2]

Work on the first Lanchester car had been started in 1895, significantly designed from first principles as a car,
not a horseless carriage, and it ran on the public roads in February or March 1896.
[3]
It had a single cylinder
1306 cc engine with the piston having two connecting rods to separate crankshafts and flywheels rotating in
opposite directions giving very smooth running. A two-cylinder engine was fitted to the same chassis in 1897
and a second complete car was built alongside it. This led on to the first production cars in 1900, when six were
made as demonstrators.
[3]
These had two-cylinder, 4033 cc, horizontal air-cooled engines, retaining the twin
crankshaft design. Steering was by side lever not wheel. The gearbox used epicyclic gearing. The first cars
were sold to the public in 1901. In 1902 Lanchester became the first company to market disc brakes to the
public. They were mechanical and on the front wheels only. The discs were very thin and made of a very soft
metal like brass. Although probably leaving much to be desired, they completely fit the definition of a disc
brake, and beat all others to market by many years.
[edit]The Crystal Palace Automobile Show, January 1903
The Lanchester Motor-Car Company show a number of handsome vehicles. The design here is novel
throughout, or, rather, it differs from other designs, as the Lanchester car was one of the first English cars to be
made. The engine is horizontal and is balanced in a most ingenious manner, the change speed gear is by
epicyclic trains controlled by band brakes, the electric sparking is most ingeniously contrived, and the
suspension is also of special type. To describe the mechanism of these cars would, however, be impossible
without elaborate diagrams. They are notable for their easy running and absence of vibration.
[4]

All bodies were made by external coachbuilders until 1903 when a body department was set up and up to 1914
most cars carried Lanchester built bodies.
[3]
In 1904, despite a full order book, the business ran out of money
and The Lanchester Engine Company Limited was put into voluntary liquidation. After a period of management
by a receiver the business was re-organised re-capitalized and incorporated as The Lanchester Motor
Company Limited later that year.
[3]

The 1904 models had 2470 cc, four-cylinder, water-cooled, overhead-valve engines featuring pressure
lubrication, very unusual at the time, and were now mounted with the epicyclic gearbox between the front seats
rather than centrally resulting a design with the driver sitting well forwards and no bonnet. Six-cylinder models
joined the line up in 1906. The specification started to become more conventional with wheel steering as an
option from 1908, becoming standard from the end of 1911,
[3]
and pedals and gear lever replacing the original
two-lever system of gear changing. George Lanchester was now in charge, Frederick having resigned in 1913,
and the engine moved further forward to a conventional position in the sporting, side-valve, 5.5-litre six-cylinder
Forty but very few were made before the outbreak of World War I. A distinctive feature of the engine's valves
was their use of leaf springs, rather than coil springs.
[5]
Frank Lanchester ran the London sales office.
before 1914


1895


1899


1901


1903


1910


1912


1914
[edit]War
During the war the company made artillery shells and some aircraft engines but some vehicle production
continued with the Lanchester 4x2 Armoured Cars built on the Lanchester 38 hp
[1]
chassis for use by the Royal
Naval Air Service on the Western Front.
[edit]Postwar
After the first World war the company adopted a single model policy and the Forty was re-introduced with a 6.2-
litre overhead-cam engine in unit with a 3-speed gearbox still using epicyclic gears and a worm drive rear axle.
It was very expensive, dearer than a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and to maintain production a smaller car, the
Twenty One joined the range in 1924. This had a 3.1-litre, six-cylinder engine, now with removable cylinder
head, mated to a four-speed conventional gearbox and four-wheel brakes. It grew to the 3.3-litre Twenty Three
in 1926. The Forty was finally replaced by the Thirty with straight-eight 4.4-litre engine in 1928. A further series
of armoured cars were made in 1927 with six-wheel version of the Forty chassis.
For 1928 there was George's last design, a 4446 cc straight-8 but only 126 were made before the economic
depression effectively killed demand.
[edit]Olympia 1930
Twelve months after the Wall Street Crash these were the cars shown by Lanchester on their stand at the
Olympia Motor Show in October 1930:
[6]

21 hp
[1]
6-cylinder landaulette by Maythorn, 1,775, chassis only 1,050
31 hp 8-cylinder limousine by Hooper, 2,300, chassis only 1,325
31 hp 8-cylinder 6/7-seater coup de ville by Windovers 2,435
The engines were 3,330 and 4,440 cc respectively, their wheelbase and track:
6-cylinder: 11 ft 1in and 4 ft 8in
8-cylinder: 11 ft 10 in and 4 ft 8in
Conventional 1920s shapes before the sale to BSA Group


23 hp


30 hp
[edit]Sale or liquidation
Within weeks their bank called in the company's overdraft of 38,000 forcing immediate liquidation of the
company's assets. Because their current premises once had been a part of BSA's Armourer Mills at
Sparkbrook a sale to BSA made sense. Thomas Hamilton Barnsley (18671930), the principal shareholder,
chairman and managing director negotiated a sale of the whole share capital to BSA group shortly before his
death on Christmas Day 1930. BSA's purchase of the whole of the shares was completed in January 1931 for
26,000, a fraction of the value of the assets. Car production was transferred to Lanchester's new sister
subsidiary, Daimler, at Motor Mills, Sandy Lane, Radford.
[7][8]

[edit]Daimler
George Lanchester was kept on as a senior designer and Frank became the Lanchester sales director. The
first new offering, still designed by George Lanchester, was a version of the Daimler Light Twenty, the
Lanchester Eighteen with hydraulic brakes and a Daimler fluid flywheel. The Ten of 1933 was an upmarket
version of the BSA Ten. The pre-war Fourteen Roadrider of 1937, was almost identical to the Daimler New
Fifteen.
The then Duke of York, a repeat customer during the 1920s and 1930s, preferred this less showy version of a
Daimler car and took delivery of a pair of specially built Daimler straight-eight limousines with the Lanchester
grille and badges.
Post war, a ten-horsepower car was reintroduced with the 1287 cc LD10 which didn't have a Daimler
equivalent and the four-cylinder 1950 Fourteen / Leda. The very last model, of which only prototypes were
produced, was called the Sprite.
Badge engineering


Ten made 1933-1936


Ten sports saloon
body by Barker 1951 example


Leda or Fourteen
1953 example
[edit]Jaguar, Ford, Tata
Daimler, was in decline and in 1960 BSA sold Daimler's premises and business to Jaguar Cars who have since
used the Daimler name on their most expensive products. Jaguar has moved into and out of the Ford group
and since 2008 Jaguar, Daimler and Lanchester belong to Tata Motors.
[edit]Monument


Blue plaque, on former factory on Montgomery Street, Sparkbrook, Birmingham


Lanchester Car Monument
An open-air sculpture, the Lanchester Car Monument, in the Bloomsbury Heartlands area of Birmingham,
designed by Tim Tolkien, on the site where Lanchester built their first four-wheel petrol car in 1895.
[edit]list of Lanchester cars
Type Engine
Approx
Production
Year Notes
Lanchester Five
[1]

1306 cc single-cylinder air-
cooled
1 1895 Experimental
Lanchester Eight
3459 cc twin-cylinder air-
cooled
3
1897
1898
Experimental
Lanchester Ten
4033 cc twin-cylinder air-
cooled
1900
1904
First production model
Lanchester
Twelve
4033 cc twin-cylinder water-
cooled
1903
1904
Lanchester
Sixteen
4838 cc twin-cylinder air-
cooled
20
[3]

1903
1904
Lanchester
Eighteen
4838 cc twin-cylinder water-
cooled
6
[3]
1904

Lanchester
Twenty
2472 cc overhead-valve four-
cylinder water-cooled
1904
1911
Lanchester
Twelve
3974 cc twin-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
1906
1908
Lanchester 28
3654 cc six-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
1906
1911
Lanchester 50
8145 cc six-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
1 car, 2 engines 1907 Experimental
Lanchester 38
4856 cc six-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
1911
1914
Lanchester 25
3137 cc four-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
1912
1914
Lanchester 40
5482 cc six-cylinder side-
valve water-cooled
1914

Lanchester 40
6178 cc six-cylinder
overhead-cam water-cooled
392
[9]

1919
1928
Chassis 2200. Four-wheel
brakes from 1924
Lanchester 21
2930 cc six-cylinder
overhead-cam water-cooled
735 (including
Twenty
Three)
[9]

1923
1926
Chassis 1000.
Lanchester 23
2930 cc six-cylinder
overhead-cam water-cooled
735 (including
Twenty One)
[9]

1926
1931
Vacuum servo.
Lanchester 30 hp
4400 cc eight-cylinder
overhead-cam water-cooled
126
[9]

1929
1932
Chassis 1325

January 1931 business
purchased by
The Birmingham Small Arms
Company Limited

Lanchester 15/18
and Eighteen
2504 cc (2390 cc from 1935,
2565 cc from 1936) six-
cylinder overhead-valve
water-cooled
2650 approx
[10]

1932
1940
Badge engineered Daimler
Light 20. Fluid flywheel.
Lanchester Ten
LA10
1203 cc (1444 cc from 1936)
four-cylinder overhead-valve
water-cooled
12250
approx
[10]

1933
1936
Fluid flywheel. Hydraulic
brakes until 1935.
Lanchester Light
Six
1378 cc six-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
1075 approx
[10]

1935
1936
Saloon, Sports Saloon,
Drophead Coupe. Similar to
BSA.
Lanchester
Eleven
1444 cc four-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
2000 approx
[10]

1937
1940
Saloon, Sports Saloon.
Lanchester
Fourteen
Roadrider
1527 cc (1809 cc from 1938)
six-cylinder overhead-valve
water-cooled
2000 approx
[10]

1937
1940
Saloon, Sports saloon. bendix
brakes
Lanchester Ten
LD10
1287 cc four-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
3030
1946
1951
Independent front suspension,
Mechanical brakes
Lanchester
Fourteen/Leda
1968 cc four-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
2100
1950
1954
Appropriated for badge
engineered 1953 Daimler
Conquest. Saloon and
drophead coupe.
Lanchester Sprite
1622 cc four-cylinder
overhead-valve water-cooled
10
1954
1956
Hobbs automatic gearbox.
Did not reach production.