This page is about the many Lenham bodied cars owned by David Matthews.

Dave Matthews will be well known to many who frequent this site. Over the years he has owned a number of Lenham bodied cars. He was instrumental in the resurrection of the GTO and has his own web-site that documents this with his story "Alternative Sprites and Midgets", a copy of which is included in the Articles page of this site. A link to David's "Worldwide Austin Healeys" web site can be found on the links page.

Dave's first Lenham was FVK 203C. A red Le Mans coupe with a W&P Sebring GT bonnet (Pictured below left with 411TMA and a Big Healey, below right with Garry Wilson's race Le Mans Coupe). "This is the exhibition hall at the International Healey Weekend 1986, at Stafford Show Ground. I had a large stand and FVK 203C (now in Japan) was there with its Longman power unit and the famous Lenham Le Mans Coupe with 6" longer wheelbase and fully removable front and rear sections, it also had a modified windscreen that Julian Booty wrote to confirm was homologated to the RAC etc !! built and raced by Garry Wilson of Southport Merseyside this car won the GT sportscar Championship in 1992" FVK started out as a Mk 3 Sprite with a 1098 motor. This was later upgraded to useful 1293cc.

LenhamraceCoupe' and FVK203C

Next was 411TMA. This car was a bit of a hybrid, utilising a MK3 Sprite tub with a Mk2 bulkhead transplant. This allowed an early GT body to be used with the advantage of semi-elliptic rear springs, as opposed to the quarter elliptics of the earlier cars. FVK was sold and has fallen "Off the Radar". The below photos are of the original donor car; a car show in Guildford, 1989; at Spa in 1990.

411TMA Donor

 

411TMALenham GT at Spa

 

Lenham GT at Spa-01

 

In 1990, Dave sold 411TMA, and it went to a new home in Japan. The photo below was taken in 1995. "My red Le Mans is in Japan as is the Silver GT, which I sold to Chris Alsford in 1990. He sent it out to Japan and last we heard it was winning it's class in everything. It had a very tight 1293 road going 100 bhp Longman engine. I raced it for two years and drove 6000 miles and all it had was an oil change. In 1990 I held the lap record for 1300 road going Sprites in the Austin healey Club Chanmpionship on the short circuit at Brands Hatch (1 Min 0.07 seconds), held it for 3 years !!  It was the best car I ever had, including the lovely red GTO (which one best in Show at Welsh Weekend 1990.)"

 

Lenham GT in Japan 1995

David also owned another Le Mans coupe - 37ARK. Based on a Mk3 Midget, it was advertised as a Lenham but actually turned out to be an Ashley Hardtop. Martin Ingall was commissioned to restore the car as a Le Mans coupe. Finished in black, it was built to a very high standard. The car was sold in 1990 and ended up in Northern Ireland. Does anybody know it's whereabouts?

37 ARK - 001CYR 7C & 37 ARK

 

Lenham 37ARK & CYR7C

 

In 1989, David commisioned what would become, perhaps, his best known car. CYR 7C. A red GTO, built to David's precise specification, under the auspices of Julian Booty at Lenham Motors. The pictures below show the rotisserie jig and rear section mould for the GTO.

GTO JigGTO Mould

David owned this car until 1992. He purchased it back again in 1995 but subsequently sold it to Ken Nicholas, who still owns it. The photo below left was taken on the 'Beaujolais Run' in November 1990 with Martin Ingall as navigator the photo on the right was taken in September 1990 at the Welsh Weekend with John Bowman in the passenger seat.

/DAVID MATTHEWS LENHAM GTO FRANCEGTO Welsh Weekend

 

Lenham GT & GTO & LeMans - 1990

The above picture is best described by David, himself. "Here is a photo taken when I owned all three in the brief summer of 1990. The cars are photographed in Dunorlan park, in Tunbridge Wells, in July of that year, just after the GT returned from Spa and the Black Le Mans was off to Ireland. The GTO had just been finished in April and was on wire wheels, before being fitted with splined knock - on  minilite replicas.  This was the culmination of a three year project to own one of each model at the same time.!!  The Silver GT was built by Orchard Engineering, the black Le Mans Coupe by Martin Ingall and the GTO by Orchard Engineering. All three had the bodies grafted by Lenham Motor Co under the direction of Julian Kingsford-Booty. The paintwork for the GT and GTO was done by Lenham Motor Co and Martin Ingall did the black Le Mans Coupe'."

The two photos below were taken at at the Lenham Motor Co. in Kent during 1991. The Le Mans Coupe belonged to John Day (See Articles page for a story on John and his car.)

CYR7C and John Days Le Mans at Lenhams 001CYR7C and John Days Le Mans at Lenhams 002

Below is Ken Nicholas, the current owner of CYR 7C.

Ken with CYR 7C

In 1995 David decided to commission another GTO, this time finished in Green metallic. David owned this car until 2002 at which time it was sold to John Goodwin. In 2009 the car appeared for sale at Lenham Sports Cars and was sold to an unknown buyer

UON 535HUON 535H

 

Although David no longer owns a Lenham he is in regular contact with the Register and is a veritable Goldmine of information.

 

Many thanks to David for the use of his words and photos.

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