The Lanchester Legacy – Volume 1


The first part of the Trilogy has been published for a few years now but – since its historical information sources have remained, of course, relatively unchanged – it remains bang up to date. It was published to widespread acclaim by the motoring press who are not known to give out praise lightly. Extracts from their scripts can be viewed by selecting the Reviews tab below..

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Images from Volume 1

(A4 size, 287 pages with 285 b/w, 64 colour plates)

The amazing lives and achievements of Frederick, George and Frank Lanchester are described by the official Lanchester Historian, C S Clark.

This concise work has been painstakingly built up from collections of documents and photographs, many of them previously unpublished, and from the personal and affectionate recollections of those who remembered events at first hand.

It re-lives the challenge of developing and testing Frederick Lanchester’s theories on powered flight and the scientific principles of aircraft design from the early 1890s, the sense of excitement the brothers must have felt when unveiling the first, all-British, motor boat in 1894, the design and construction of the first, all-British, four-wheel motor car in 1895 and the evolution of all the innovative Lanchester vehicles that followed.

It takes us back to the beginnings of features which are now taken for granted: vibration-less and high-revving engines, four-wheel drive, turbo-charging and fuel-injection, power-steering, disc-brakes, pneumatic tyres, the humble accelerator pedal and why so many features of the modern car, after over 100 years of development, are directly contributable to the Lanchester brothers.

Importantly, The Lanchester Legacy chronicles the wealth of evidence for placing Dr. Frederick Lanchester among the greatest of the great British minds that have shaped the world.

Additional information

Weight 1.544 kg

8 reviews for The Lanchester Legacy – Volume 1

  1. Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club

    “This book contains much of interest to RREC members. In this excellent work, we are reminded that the Lanchester was the only car to have been designed from first principles and that Lanchester provided stiff opposition to Rolls-Royce as a contender for the title of ‘best car in the world’ . 28 pages refer to Rolls-Royce. The author deals with the technical, social and financial aspects of the Lanchester story in a most compelling way. This is, without doubt, the best and most comprehensive work on Lanchester.”

  2. Society of Automotive Historians, USA

    “Chris Clark is the Lanchester Historian and Registrar, so he is well qualified to write this book. He also writes well, which is the other part of the equation, sometimes lacking on marque books. Not this one. If you know anything about automotive history you’ve probably come across references to Frederick Lanchester as the consummate engineer. What you didn’t know is within the pages of this book, and you will be fascinated with it. All information is there, of course, but what’s most interesting is what Frederick, and brothers George and Frank, did, thought, and said; only possible because Clark has done his homework and scoured all the evidence from those early days. Now I am looking forward to volumes two and three.”

  3. Motor Sport Magazine

    “Lanchester-owner Chris Clark’s first volume is about the veteran and vintage periods, when Lanchester broke so much new ground and made such advanced and noticeably ‘different’ cars. Clark makes best use of fine colour plates of these great British cars and his text benefits from an intimate knowledge of them. The information is refreshingly different and noticeably informative. The 50 full-page colour prints are excellent and the great number of previously unpublished pictures embellish the important text, which is enhanced by the reproduction of old letters, diagrams etc. It is a valuable and important contribution to automotive history.”

  4. The Automobile Magazine

    “For some twenty years, Historian Chris Clark has been researching the three Lanchester brothers, their cars and the many engineering projects with which they were associated, to produce the definitive work on the subject. A high standard has certainly been achieved. The story of Lanchester’s always under-capitalised search for motoring design perfection is truly fascinating. This book tells the story of the brothers whose creativity, intellect and passionate commitment to their chosen profession laid down the foundations for the best engineering practices found today. This first part of the Lanchester Legacy trilogy is highly recommended and represents extremely good value.”

  5. Thoroughbred and Classic Car Magazine

    “What an incredible book. This excellent book is well researched with super period photographs in both black and white and colour and represents superb value. I await the other two volumes with interest.”

  6. Vintage Sports Car Club

    “This excellent book, which has the backing of The Michael Sedgewick Trust, will not disappoint. It has much additional information from any previous work, including a list of surviving cars, and tells of the Lanchesters preferred by royalty, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw and Buster Keaton. The book is good value and is strongly recommended.”

  7. National Motor Museum, Beaulieu

    “The lives and achievements of the Lanchester brothers have been long overlooked. Now Chris Clark has put together the first volume of three on these extraordinary people, their experiments and their cars. We are given an insight into the Lanchester family with a number of interesting and amusing anecdotes. There are many photographs, some published for the very first time. This is an extremely detailed, well-researched and well-written work.”

  8. Classic and Sportscar Magazine

    “This is a splendidly illustrated, readable and comprehensive overview of the output of the most important British engineer in the days of the motor car.”

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