2nd 1934 Lanchester LA 10


The Lanchester Ten and Lanchester Eleven were sold by The Lanchester Motor Company Limited from the Ten’s announcement in September 1932 until 1951. Quite different from previous Lanchesters, the Ten was the second (it followed the Lanchester 15/18) of Lanchester’s new owner’s new Daimler-linked Lanchester range. The names Ten and Eleven referred to the engine’s rating for the annual tax and did not relate to the engine’s power output.

Part of the thinking behind BSA’s acquisition of Lanchester was, in consideration of the international economic depression, to extend the BSA group’s range of cars into the sectors between those filled by Daimler and the three-wheeled ‘cars’ of BSA Cars without affecting Daimler’s super-luxury image.

Ultimately the smallest Lanchester became far too expensive for the size of car it was, few were sold and production ended in 1951.

Lanchester Ten
Manufacturer The Lanchester Motor Company Limited
Sandy Lane, Radford, Coventry CV1 4DX
Production Approximately 12,250 units
mid-1932 to mid 1936
Body and chassis
Body style Catalogued:
4-door six-light saloon
4-door four-light sports saloon
2-door 2+2-seater fixed head coupé
2-door 4-seater open car by Martin Walter
Chassis provided for coachbuilders
Layout FR layout
Related Lanchester 15/18, (Daimler Light Twenty 16/20), Daimler Fifteen, BSA Ten
Engine 1,203 cc (73.4 cu in)
(and 1,444 cc (88.1 cu in), 1936 only)
four-cylinder in-line overhead valve
Transmission 4-speed preselective Self-changing gearbox and Fluid Flywheel through an open propellor shaft to a worm-drive for the half-floating back axle
Wheelbase 102 12 in (2,600 mm)
track 48 12 in (1,230 mm)
Length 157 12 in (4,000 mm)
Width 57 34 in (1,470 mm)
Kerb weight 21 long cwt (2,400 lb; 1,100 kg)
Predecessor new model

Lanchester Ten

The Lanchester Ten announced in September 1932 shared its basic chassis with the BSA Ten which would be announced the following month. The design of its four-cylinder engine it shared with the six-cylinder Lanchester 15/18 (Daimler Light Twenty 16/20), which had been in production for twelve months, and its engine represented just four-sixths of the 1805 cc Daimler Fifteen announced with this Ten. The smallest Lanchester ever produced it was also the one produced in the greatest numbers, with approximately 12,250 sold.

Design and specifications

Additional details to those in the tables


The new engine’s four-cylinder design was on the same general lines as the six-cylinderLanchester 15/18 (not Eighteen) though with a much reduced bore and stroke taking down the swept volume from 2,504 cubic centimetres (153 cu in) to 1,203 cubic centimetres (73 cu in). Its crankshaft was provided with three main bearings. A 1287 cc, 40 b.h.p. (at 4,000 r.p.m.) version was produced, with a 7.4:1 compression ratio, and 60 lbs. ft. maximum torque at 2,000 r.p.m.

The overhead valves had single springs but there were return springs to keep the rockers to the pushrods. Engine accessories were mounted: distributor on a level with the cylinder head, the coil just in front. The petrol pump, oil filter and oil diprod were mounted aft of the distributor.

Engine timing was by chain. The flywheel and gearbox formed a single unit with the engine which was slightly inclined and held to the chassis at four points on rubber.


This was the first small car to have the Daimler fluid flywheel transmission.

The preselection finger and thumb lever was just under the steering wheel on the near side and so worked by the left hand. There was a stop for reverse.

Power was delivered to the wheels by Daimler fluid flywheel and Wilson four-speed preselective self-changing gearbox through a propeller shaft which was open and had mechanical joints. The back axle had half-floating underslung worm drive.


The frame had the popular cruciform or X-channelled sectioned cross-membering. The unit of engine, fluid flywheel and self-changing gearbox was held at four points on rubber, the two points in front being close together and on the cross member.

Half-elliptical springs wide-set to prevent roll were fitted with hydraulic shock-absorbers. In front they were shackled forwards, flat, sloped, and splayed—there were no dumb irons, while at the back the springs and frame were also under the axle.

Steering was by cam and lever. The four-wheel brakes were initially Lockheed hydraulic. The handbrake lever, designed for use as a parking brake, operated on the back wheels using cables. “The lower gears can be used as an emergency brake”. Tyres were 4.5 x 19 inches

Revisions to the specification before the October 1934 Motor Show:

  • The preselector lever was now mounted on the offside under the steering wheel by the driver’s right hand.
  • A pull-up handbrake was positioned on the offside of the driver’s seat and the cushion shaped to fit.
  • Larger 4.75 section tyres were fitted on smaller 18 inch wheels
  • The brakes were switched from hydraulic to mechanical operation.
  • Transmission problems were tackled by adding a further mounting-point (making five) for the whole engine and transmission assembly at the back of the gearbox where it was supported by an extra chassis cross-member. The transmission made a significant humming noise while in neutral and there were difficulties with excessive vibration from oil surge in the fluid flywheel when picking up under heavy load at low speed. The transmission mechanism for top-gear was modified to reduce pedal pressure and ensure positive engagement and disengagement while avoiding a humming sound in neutral.

Saloon six-light four-door body

“This body provides full room for four persons with a level floor. There are two cupboards, four pockets, a sliding roof, safety glass and other usual fittings but no ash trays. There are louvres over the four door glasses. The windscreen opens. The spare wheel is behind the folding luggage grid at the back. The generous wheelbase and the absence of a gearlever in the floor gives excellent entrance and exit through all four doorways.” motoring correspondent The Times

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