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Make: Kieft
Type: Turner LDA5
Year: 1953
Price: Ask price

How many cars can claim both Le Mans and Mille Miglia history, and have led a life both as a race car and as a sports car prototype?
Kieft “LDA5” can!

The story of Cyril Kieft and his racing cars reads like a novel. Originally a Welsh industrialist, Kieft starts building race cars out of passion. And as so many others before and after him, Cyril Kieft has big dreams: in his six brief years of activity in motorsports, he manages to produce the whole spectrum from single-seater Formula III over Formula I cars to two-seater racing cars. Less well known than Kieft’s first racing driver (and director!) Stirling Moss, the sports car racing world would have been quite different without Cyril Kieft: he’s the one who figured that Coventry Climax’ portable fire pump engine would be the perfect lightweight engine for a race car, and he’s also the one who convinced Coventry Climax of making an automotive variant of their “Feather Weight” engine, thus sowing the seeds of the future victories of Cooper, Lotus, Elva and many others.

Undoubtedly one of the most interesting Kiefts, “LDA5” is originally fitted with an experimental flat-four air-cooled Turner engine, consisting of four Norton 350cc motorcycle engines assembled together. On the bench, the engine is unbeatable, and it puts forth impressive results during short tests. It proves however much less reliable for longer events: after breaking down during the 1955 Grand Prix de 24 Heures “Bol d’Or” de Paris at Montlhéry due to fuel injection issues, and abandoning after only two hours during the disastrous 1955 Le Mans 24 hours due to overheating (despite an enormous bonnet scoop), a wise decision is taken to swap the engine for a more reliable MG A 1500cc engine, with which the car is still equipped today.


(Kieft LDA5 at Le Mans in 1955, visible from 5:43 until 5:48)

In this configuration, LDA5 is entered for the Goodwood Nine Hours, Dundrod Golden Jubilee TT, Castle Combe International, Tarrant Rushton, … and it races all over the British isles. But the ambition of its owner, Berwyn Baxter, doesn’t stop there. Having acquired Kieft’s car company in the meantime, he intends to further promote his sports cars by entering LDA5 for the 1956 edition of the legendary Mille Miglia. Thanks to this enlightened decision, LDA5 is considered an authentic ex-Mille Miglia car, making it a sure entry for future editions of this exclusive road race.

LDA5’s racing career ends in 1956, but Baxter has big plans for a follow-up story. In the winter of 1956, LDA5 receives a new aluminium body made by PanelCraft, and it becomes the prototype for a small series of road-going Kieft sports cars aimed at the American market. Unfortunately, Baxter’s ambition is bigger then the American’s appetite for a sports barchetta, so the commercial story of Kieft Cars ends there.

The story of LDA5 continues however, through the hands of several well-known British car collectors, after which it lands in Belgium. We have known LDA5 ever since its arrival in our country, now already twenty years ago. We have been involved in its reconditioning and rebuild, and have seen it appear both in our workshop and showroom several times over the past two decades. We know this car and its history very well, and we can tell you with absolute certainty that this represents a unique opportunity: only once in a lifetime do you get the chance to acquire such a relevant piece of automotive history, based on simple and easy to maintain mechanicals, with such an impressive and carefully documented race history opening so many doors, and at a very interesting price.

Price: ASK

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