1938 Lammas graham


A number of British manufacturers in the Thirties used American engines such as the Ford V8 or Hudson: Allard, Jensen and Railton, to name just three. When Lord Avebury set up Lammas in Sunbury-on-Thames in 1936 to build the Lammas Graham he chose to use the engine and chassis of the supercharged 3.5 litre Graham. The chassis were modified to suit English taste buy fitting Luvax shock absorbers, a Smiths Jackall system and 17in knock-on wire wheels. The engine, manufactured by Continental, was fitted as standard with a centrifugal supercharger running at 5.75 times the crankshaft speed. Engine modifications for the Lammas included twin Zenith carburettors, an electron cylinder head and a re-stroked crank, increasing capacity to 3.7 litres. In this form the power output was claimed to be 128bhp.

The Lammas was an expensive quality car with bodywork by well known names such as Abbott, Ranalah, Carlton and Charlesworth - all were of very english appearance.

It’s believed 45 cars were built between 1936 and 1938 when the firm went into liquidation, of these 45 only four and a half are known to have survived, with only one of these now back on the road (APY 535).

It was in 1988 my father purchased APY 535, a Carlton bodied drophead, which was originally sold to the Sheriff of Lichfield. This picture was taken in 1938 outside Lichfield Cathedral.

The car incidentally, was still in Lichfield in 1958 when motoring historian Nick Georgano took a picture of it, which he subsequently used to illustrate the makes entry in his Encyclopedia of Motor Cars.

At some time in its life the car suffered an accident which damaged the chassis front and rear. Someone bodged the repairs and presumably it failed the MoT, which was introduced in September 1960. From then until 1988 the car stood in a lean-to shed which offered little weather protection. In 1988 the sad-looking Lammas was assembled and passed through a Walton and Hipkiss sale, but it failed to make the reserve price. Later, my father was able to trace it and buy it. The condition of the car was awful, with many parts missing, most of the woodwork rotten and the rest either worn out or broken. Nevertheless a total restoration project was started, every single nut and bolt was stripped from the chassis, and every part rebuilt to concours condition.

Unfortunately my father passed away in 1993, leaving the project to me, many hours were put into the car, including time with a professional coach builder to have the bodywork rebuilt, the ash framework was replaced, and the aluminum tonneau cover rebuilt, new running boards made and extensive repairs carried out to the steel wings.

In 2006 the time came to make a difficult decision, I knew the Lammas needed more time and money than I was able to invest in it, so I chose to sell the car.

The new owner I had met several times previously as he is the owner of one of the other surviving drop heads.

In the few years he’s owned the car a huge amount of work has been carried out, and in 2009 the car was back on the road and able to take my sister to her wedding.