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1947 C.M. Van Eugen

 Charles M. Van Eugen was born in Holland in 1890 and having worked with a variety of motor engineering companies, including Simplex in Amsterdam, Daimler and Swift in the UK, he joined Lea-Francis in December 1922 as their designer. He was to go on to design some of the company’s best motor cars.

His first task was to sort out the 8.9hp C type. Van Eugen made a number of improvements, significantly including the design of a new front axle. An initial batch of 50 cars was sanctioned and the four prototype cars were rebuilt to the new specification.


                                                      C TYPE

Charles was a world class engineer and enjoyed an important position in the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

The History of LFOC

Legendary designer C M Van Eugen presents a trophy to Ewen Macpherson at the Lea Francis Club's 1964 meeting.

In 1935 He joined the Riley group as chief engineer at Autovia.

Autovia Sport Saloon by Mulliner - 1 of 1 Ever Built - 1937 - Medium Picture 09LEE242514541AA.jpeg

1937 Autovia Sport Saloon by Mulliner 

Intended as a rival to the likes of Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Alvis, Autovia Cars Ltd was founded in December 1935 with a start-up capital of £60,000. Helmed by Victor Riley of the famous car manufacturing dynasty, Charles Van Eugen and S. Gordon Marshall (the latter two acting as Chief Engineer and General Manager respectively), the new concern fielded a car which won its class at the 1936 Ramsgate Concours d'Elegance before going public during the following year's Earls Court Motor Show. The venture was ambitious and even included setting up a school for Chauffeurs. Available in bare chassis , sports saloon or limousine guises, the Autovia range was powered by an advanced 2849cc OHV V8 engine boasting three camshafts, two Zenith carburettors and a Vertex Scintilla magneto. Credited with developing some 100bhp,  and reputedly endowed the cars with a 92mph top speed. Despite glowing reports in 'The Motor' and 'Riley Record' magazines praising the solidity, sure-footed handling and comfort of its products, the marque failed to make headway amid an already overcrowded marketplace. With total production thought to have accounted for just thirty-six cars, Autovia followed a beleaguered Riley into receivership on March 16th 1938. There are reputed to be eight surviving cars.

Carles M. Van Eugen Became Master of Trinity Lodge in 1947.

In preparation for the Bi-Centenary Celebration, W. Bro Van Eugen perused the existing Minute Books of the Lodge up to 1953, and extracted items which he considered would be of interest . The result of his labours consists of 62 typewritten pages, fortunately preserved

He was responsible for producing the Illustrated Brochure for the Bi-Centenary Celebration in 1955, the opening paragraph of which now chronicles correctly the beginings of the Lodge. This is followed by certain extracts from the Minutes taken from his notes.

There is no doubt, therefore that the Members of Trinity Lodge are greatly indebted to W. Bro Van Eugen for so persistently pursuing his researches, which enabled the Lodge to discover its true begenings.

W.Bro. Charles Van Eugen was especially particular about his wine and insisted that it was opened in good time and served at room temperature. In reality, the bottle was placed on a hot radiator without his knowledge, but he always seemed satisfied. 


Charles M. Van Eugen died in 1980


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