The Lanchester Legacy – Volume 4


This long-awaited fourth and final book in The Lanchester Legacy Series takes the reader on an aesthetic journey spanning the lives of the astonishingly innovative and productive Lanchester brothers. It incorporates the fruits of a lifetime of dedicated and passionate research by the author, brought to life by his hands-on experience of owning, restoring and driving many of the vehicles that feature here.

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In A4 landscape format, this pictorial journey begins with the first drive on public roads of the Lanchester 5hp in December 1895 and ends poignantly with the disappointing demise of the optimistically-named but underwhelming Lanchester Sprite in 1956. The photographs that portray this amazing story have been lovingly restored using modern techniques to overcome often decades of poor storage and neglect. Some are so rare that very few people will actually have seen them previously.Furthermore, the black & white glass-plate and photographic images have painstakingly been colour-tinted using the very-latest technology to dramatically bring the story to life, in a similar manner to that used on archive television productions.Due to the great cost of this work on each individual image it is believed that no other motoring book has so far received this meticulous attention.

There are therefore unique surprises and treasures to be found on almost every page, including some candid shots of the Royal Family when Queen Elizabeth II was a young child. The influence of both world wars on the Lanchester designs – and the influence of the Lanchester brothers on the conduct of the wars – can be inferred from many evocative images in Britain and abroad. The Lanchester racing cars reveal the exciting atmosphere created at Brooklands, while enchanting Art Deco advertisements appear dotted throughout the chapters. It seems almost possible to smell the champagne, share in the opulence, and listen to the whispers of the ghosts of Debutantes riding in their chauffeur-driven limousines.

But there is more, much more, to this book than a collection of these evocative images. Fred Lanchester is arguably Britain’s own Leonardo da Vinci and the evidence for such an accolade is impressively assembled, not just with respect to his automobile designs but also his ground-breaking yet barely-recognised contribution to aeronautics. Few people would be aware, for example, of the striking resemblance of a modern Reaper drone to Fred’s design for an ‘Aerial Torpedo’ as far back as 1897, or of his influence on the iconic wing-shape of the Spitfire and indeed the upturned wingtips of every modern commercial airplane in use today.

The Trail of Discovery section highlights the many features remaining worldwide from the days of the Lanchester brothers, allowing the reader further exploration.

As a whole, Lanchester Legacy Volume Four – A Pictorial Journey is both the go-to visual reference and historical log of Lanchester achievements and also delightful and enthralling acquisition for the coffee table.

Additional information

Weight 1.82 kg

17 reviews for The Lanchester Legacy – Volume 4

  1. Duncan Saunders, Patron of the DLOC

    Lanchester Legacy Volume 4: To many people, whether car enthusiast or not, the name Lanchester is likely to be unknown but here we have a book which shows what the Marque stands for and which will certainly whet the appetite.

    Chronologically set out, this volume takes you through the development of the whole of the Lanchester range of cars from 1895 to 1956.; it is excellently illustrated with photographs which we have not seen in volumes 1,2 and 3 of the Lanchester Legacy. It is described as a pictorial journey where the author has delved into his own collection. of material.

    The book is not weighed down with technical specifications, road tests or advertising details This information can be found in previous volumes but volume 4 clearly shows the development of the very wide range of models as the Company progressed under the guidance of the Lanchester brothers and then the subsequent take over by The Daimler Company from 1931 and, as such, is so useful in helping to identify the different models. Because of its pictorial presentation it is a book to dip into time and time again.

  2. Doone Lanchester-Ellerton, Frank Lanchester’s granddaughter

    An enormous thank you, Chris, for all your hard work & research put into The Lanchester Legacy Volume 4. What a history now in the four volumes, and so clever with the colour tinting of photographs. I loved the one of my grandfather Frank, with Minnie, which was very appreciated. What a record! Well done indeed.

  3. Ranald McCallum, DLOC Registrar

    I was very pleased to receive my copy of Chris Clark’s latest book, the 352-page Lanchester Legacy Volume Four. While its beautiful presentation in A4 landscape format allows for the reproduction of some wonderful photographs, clever techniques are used to enhance them, such as judicious colour tinting to tease them into life. Care has been taken to avoid any duplication with those published in volumes 1,2 & 3.

    Though my own interest is with the 15/18 and 18 models produced between 1931 and 1934 (page112-131), I can honestly say that every page has held my interest. This last book in the series provides a comprehensive walk through all Lanchester models, highlighting the many achievements of the Lanchester brothers. To cap it off, a comprehensive list of all known surviving Lanchesters is included for the dedicated enthusiast. I challenge any reader to put this book down before finishing it! Congratulations Chris.

  4. Professor Jacqueline Cawston, Coventry University

    Dear Dr Chris, I have your stunning book, Volume 4 of the Lanchester Legacy, which is an absolute masterpiece! Such beautiful colours and laid out in a clear and concise way. It is so enticing and is a real tribute to you, not just to Fred and his brothers.

  5. Dr. Ian Pogson, The Lanchester Trust

    I purchased Volume IV, having also purchased and thoroughly enjoyed Volumes I and II. It is a truly “joyous pictorial journey”, as promoted on the cover. That claim just becomes more and more evident as one leafs through image after image that I have never seen before, or if I have, they were only in monochrome. Dr. Chris Clark, Lanchester historian, has employed new techniques; whereby black and white images are enhanced with colour. The effect is stunning.

    Page 16 for example shows my hero, a young Fred Lanchester and one of his brothers, George, aboard their third car in about 1900, but now with a red tartan blanket covering their exposed limbs! Furthermore, I firmly believe that the photograph of the Royal Family on a later page (178) should be sent to the Palace Press Office, as I doubt that Her Majesty will have seen this happy scene featuring her younger self in full colour.

    This latter feeling underlines the fact Lanchesters were much-favoured transport for many Royals, including our current Queen and her grandfather. Although, as Treasurer and Co-Chair of the Lanchester Trust it could be argued that I am somewhat biased, I heartily recommend this book. Even though I have already devoured two earlier volumes, I was nonetheless enthralled by the history shown therein.

    The inclusion of buildings relevant to the Lanchester brothers, and to the cars that bore their names, is a further joy. The worldwide census of known existing vehicles is a magnificent labour of love and reveals 969 listed cars, with a ‘Stop Press’ revealing nine others, so is right up to date. This book should be on the National Curriculum.

  6. Mike Stanton, Owner of 1920s Lanchester

    This is another enjoyable book helping to add to the full history of the Lanchester car. Chris Clark has managed to gather together an amazing gallery of pictures showing past and present Lanchesters, some of which were used by royalty, together with photos of old advertising posters. The book also includes a list of all the known surviving cars with the Lanchester label – all 978 of them – which is some considerable achievement.

    Another interesting part of this book is reading a potted history of the many contributions to engineering from all three Lanchester brothers (and not just exclusive to the automobile industry) showing how talented, versatile and forward thinking this family was. E.g. Did you know Fred Lanchester invented the term ‘streamline’? The amount of detail is tremendous. This is a truly awesome work.

    My wife found Volume 4 interesting because she didn’t need technical knowledge to enjoy the potted history of what the Lanchester brothers achieved or seeing how Lanchesters developed – and she wouldn’t have read the previous volumes! It is a book anyone could pick up and read, and learn about Lanchesters.

    To quote Sir David Jason who wrote the foreword, it is just “perfick”.

  7. John Dowell, Lanchester Enthusiast

    Received the book last week. What a magnificent volume! I’m so pleased I ordered it.

  8. Dr. Klaus Gieck, Owner of 1930s Lanchester

    The Volumes 1 to 3 of Lanchester Legacy now supplemented by Dr.Chris Clark. The new VOL 4 is a picturebook for all lovers of Lanchester cars and widely more.

    It is not free of facts. In oposite to German car production there are many more coachbuilders in Great Britain as Barker, Mulliners, Briggs and many others giving then the cars their individual “clothing”. This causes a large range of different vehicles using the same Lanchester technics. This is shown perfectly in this book full of wonderful examples and details explained. A mystery to me were the “2”, “4”, “6” lights data presented, therefor I counted ‘lights’ on my Lanchester 10 Coupé and found more than two … confused though, I counted the “side windows” and got it, the numbers now matching!

    With all this many Lanchesters presented, Volume 4 is a very impressive car book, completing the “Legacy” perfectly. Very wellcome, as well the reminders on the three Lanchester brothers’s lifetime works and success, especially which Frederik achieved on land, water and air !

  9. Michael Riley, DLOC Official

    Book arrived safely. I think it’s splendid and I particularly like the gently toned colouring of the early photos.

  10. Ben Yates, Owner of Lanchester Straight-8

    One might have imagined that nothing more could be said about Lanchesters as three weighty Lanchester Legacy volumes have already produced. However, I have very much enjoyed reading this final volume. It provides a comprehensive but light hearted overview of the three brothers’ activities, achievements and of course the cars they built. The range of early photos is magnificent and I had no idea that so many existed; the book was worth publishing just for those. The production records and the lists of surviving cars are also valuable. The summaries of the Lanchester innovations emphasise the enormous contributions that were made in so many diverse areas. These still have importance after 100 years. The Stratton-Instone sales list was of particular interest to me as it confirms the first owner of my 30 HP on 31.12.1931. Well done – a very useful addition to the Lanchester story.

  11. Mike Kennington, Lanchester Enthusiast

    Congratulations on a superb book – in the correct landscape format which does justice to the wonderful pictures.

  12. Mick Bowden, Owner of 1930s Lanchester

    Dear Chris – I want to thank you for your wonderful Lanchester Legacy Volume 4. The content is absolutely outstanding and the quality of pictures is incredible. I really think this book will reach out and bring the name of Lanchester to a much wider public, making them aware of the incredible achievements of the Lanchester brothers. Thanks again for publishing Volume 4.

  13. Gary Irwin, Lanchester Trust

    Please pass on my best regards to Chris and thanks for yet another excellent Lanchester book.

  14. David Charles, Owner of 1930s Lanchester

    The first three volumes gave an excellent read about the success of the Lanchester brothers innovations and the Lanchester Car in particular, of which Chris Clark’s 1995 Lanchester Centenary Rally was a UK FIRST, and I was able to be there!

    The unexpected 4th Volume in 2020, with 978 recorded Lanchesters world-wide still in existence, was because Chris amassed so much material from Lanchester enthusiasts emanating from his trilogy, that he rightly has recorded the information for posterity, and he has made the period photos more vibrant by the use of Colour tinting of photos of interesting vehicles. The synopsis of the Lanchester Bros. achievements and patents is brilliant, but overall it was the dip-ability of the book to see so many wonderful pictures of different Lanchesters together which makes this a superb book, which I thoroughly recommend to old car enthusiasts.

  15. Paul Chamberlain, Lanchester Dauphin owner

    I have just received my copy of your Lanchester Legacy volume four and I must say it’s a very impressive achievement!

    I, obviously, really like the Dauphin section but find the book to be of excellent quality and is totally enjoyable.

  16. Rolf Bohrmann – Lanchester enthusiast in Germany

    I’ve been reading Volume 4 immediately after receiving it. It’s a perfect addition to Volumes 1 and 2 and I had a great pleasure in reading it. The coloured historic photos are of more pleasure to look at, because the appearance is more friendly and not so dull as just observing a lot of black and white ones as usual. And very interesting for me is to study the register of all known surviving Lanchester cars. A very meticulous collocation.

  17. Steven Seddon, President DLOC of Western Australia

    This final volume in the Lanchester Legacy series is ‘A Joyous Pictorial Journey’.

    This is a masterpiece of collaboration by author Chris Clark to condense and highlight notable milestones from his Volumes 1 to 3 of The Lanchester Legacy. This brilliantly researched and written series of books gives the reader the opportunity to see how innovative minds contributed to the development of the motoring age. They go a long way to restore the largely forgotten contribution made by the Lanchester Brothers to the motoring industry and to many other disciplines. The latest edition, ”A Joyous Pictorial Journey’, aptly showcases this.

    All motoring enthusiasts, regardless of their preference, and those who are interested in the evolution of the mechanical age are sure to be impressed with this wonderful Pictorial Journey from an almost forgotten motoring manufacturer.

    I would highly recommend this book to all who are interested in this fascinating period of history. It will encourage further exploration of the incredible works from the legacy of the Lanchesters which in some cases is still relative today.

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