Victor’s Lomax “best thing we ever did”

Victor Braybrook had already restored three motorcycles when, in 1991, he fancied doing something different.

With retirement from his engineering job at Ford on the horizon, he started looking around for a project.

“I remembered that my dad had a Morgan three wheeler back in 1927,” he says at his home in Cambridgeshire. “I’ve got a letter from Mr Morgan himself welcoming him on to the committee.”

The Morgan was long gone by the time Victor came along in 1934, but he liked the idea of following in his father’s wheel tracks, and he set his sights on finding one to restore.

“I was going round a car show, there was a notice for a Morgan to be restored, so I went round to see it in a garage and there was just a heap of rusty bits on the floor,” he remembers, “so I thought ‘no’.

“When I got back to work a chap said if I wanted something like that, someone was advertising a Lomax on the noticeboard.”

The Lomax 223 is a three-wheeled, fibreglass-bodied kit car based on Citroen 2CV or Ami running gear, its name derived from the number of cylinders (two), seats (two) and wheels (three).

A four-wheeled version was, naturally, called the Lomax 224.

Victor bought the Lomax kit comprising the bodywork, wheels from an Ami Super, seats and other interior bits and pieces, for £675, and began looking for a donor vehicle.

At the time, he and his wife of 67 years, Denise, were living in Billericay, not too far from a Citroen 2CV dealer in Chelmsford.

“They had a 1977 Ami 8 estate that they used as a run around, but they wanted to sell it,” says Victor, who bought the car for £179.

“Apparently, it was the best one you could buy for the Lomax, because it had a heavier chassis, stronger suspension, and the slightly more powerful twin choke carburettor engine as well.”

The Ami was that little bit larger and more sturdy than the 2CV on which it was based, with a 602cc twin cylinder, air-cooled engine producing 35bhp.


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“It was in a bit of a state,” says Victor, “but somehow the secretary of the Ami 8 car club heard I’d bought it, and that I was going to convert it to a Lomax.

“She phoned me up and said ‘can I come round and approve that you’re going to do it?’ I thought it was a bit odd, but I said ‘you’re quite welcome’.

“When she saw the state of the bodywork she said ‘oh no, it’s beyond restoration really, so that’s OK’. I thought ‘that’s a bit odd, you can’t tell me what to do with my car’, but she was a very nice lady and I didn’t say anything.”

A year later and the Lomax was on the road, since when Victor and Denise have driven it all over the UK and made one memorable trip to France.

“It’s been the best thing we ever did,” says the great grandfather of two. “We’ve made lots of friends, and been to a lot of places we wouldn’t have gone to.”

Victor, who met Denise when he was 18, cut his motoring teeth on two wheels, first on a 1939 Triumph Tiger 70, followed by an AJS 500 twin with Watsonian sidecar.

“Den, who was 16 when we met, had no problem coming on the back of the bike, but she felt a bit cut off in the sidecar,” he remembers, at the time working as an apprentice for Kelvin Hughes, part of Smith’s Industries.

“I didn’t get my first car until I was 28, a brand new, pale blue Mini 850 in 1961, which cost me £460.”

After working as a jig and tool draughtsman, he moved into the aircraft giro lab before joining Ford at 33, first as an electrical draughtsman and later working as an engineer on ignition systems.

Naturally, it was then Fords all the way, with an ownership list that reads like a brief history of the marque – Cortina, Corsair, Escort, Orion, Mondeo and now a B-Max.

All functional family cars, but it’s the Lomax that has given Victor and Denise the out and out fun that those cars lack.

With the Ami 8’s rusting body removed and taken for scrap, Victor set about building the Lomax’s body around the chassis and engine.

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“The kit car company did the conversion to make the chassis fit with just one rear wheel,” he says. “It’s got swinging arms front and back, and they remove one the rear ones, take the one that’s on the offside, turn it over so it swings inboard, cut it shorter and weld it all up to make it take a single wheel.”

With the Lomax inspected and ready for the road, Victor joined the Citroen Specials Club (CSC), which caters for all lightweight cars based on the Citroen ‘A’ series running gear or similar lightweight cars, later becoming the club’s area rep.

He remembers he and Denise’s first longer trip in the car he named Crème de la Crème after its colour.

“The club was holding a rally at Brooklands, which from Billericay was quite a distance,” he says. “It was good, because you could go round the banking, though not very fast because it was in such terrible condition.

“But there was also a little hill climb competition, and I went up all the way in first gear, which I shouldn’t have done, but at least I got to the top.”

So far so good, but things didn’t quite go according to plan on the way home.

“We came out of the Dartford Tunnel, and on the back roads going home it conked on me,” says Victor. “We stopped for a while, scratching our heads wondering what to do, and I said ‘let’s see if we can start it again’, but it wouldn’t start on the starter motor at all.

“I managed to push start it, and just about got the 25 miles home. Just as we were going up the hill to our house it started to splutter again.

“When I investigated, I found that a connection from the charging system was earthed on to the windscreen wipers fixing, but of course we haven’t got any windscreen wipers therefore the battery wasn’t being charged!”

With the problem fixed, Victor and Denise used the Lomax to travel all over England, Scotland and Wales (pictured), often with their fellow kit car travellers in the CSC.

“We had about 10 people in my area who were enthusiasts, so I used to organise to go to some event or other about once a fortnight,” he says, always with the aero screens attached and no hood.


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“When you’re going along, those little aero screens throw the rain over you pretty well – it’s surprising how dry it stays in the car. We can drive with the tonneau cover in place as well, but only tucked over our legs as I have to have my arms out to steer.

“It’s when you stop at traffic lights you’ve got a problem, but we also wear crash helmets – you don’t have to legally, but we do.”

If all else fails, there’s always an umbrella.

“I remember we were on the peninsula on the west side of Scotland in the Dunoon area, waiting to go across on the ferry to the main part of Scotland. It was raining, and the ferry looked completely full up, so we put the umbrella up and they called out ‘the car with the umbrella up, can you come down please?’

“They managed to squeeze us on, so we drove on with the umbrella up.”

When the couple headed south to France (pictured) they were part of a 75-strong CSC party, with eight cars from Victor’s area travelling in convoy, bound for Bois, about 100 miles south of Paris.

“One of our members who used to go to France a lot volunteered to lead us, so what happened? He got lost,” he smiles. “So we had to take over, and we’d never been to France before.

“The French people made us so welcome. We got waves as we were driving along, and as you’re driving through the villages they’d step out on the road and stop you. When you tell them the cars are based on the 2CV, even better.

“We stopped off at a village half way down, then spent a week in Bois, and another week in the same village on the way back.

“It was wonderful – they laid on a big buffet for us. They couldn’t speak a word of English, and we couldn’t speak a word of French, but we got by.”

So what’s it like to drive this little car, which weighs just 430kg, on such long distance runs?

“It’s OK actually, I think it’s very nice to drive,” says Victor. “It’s comfortable enough – the suspension’s very good, because the 2CV is quite a bouncy thing and the Ami is a little stiffer.

“Going round normal corners is OK. The only time you notice it swaying a bit is when you go round a roundabout fairly fast.

“It’s very light, so the performance is a bit better than the Ami 8 estate, which had quite a heavy body. It will comfortably cruise at 70mph on the motorway, and will do more than 80mph.”

Since that early earthing problem, the Lomax has proved a trouble-free conveyance, the only hiccup a rear end shunt by a fellow CSC member driving his ‘normal’ car.

“It’s hard to match a gel coat, so it had to be repaired and sprayed,” says Victor. “It did me a favour actually because the original had started to fade a little bit and gone a bit white in places.”

One of the couple’s last long journeys was to an event at Chateau Impney in Worcestershire in 2013, before they moved to Cambridgeshire to be closer to their two daughters, Kim and Melinda, and their families.

Victor turned 91 in May 2024, but still takes the car out to local events, including the Little Gransden Air and Car Show and the Haddenham Steam Rally, where it attracts plenty of attention.

“When we go to car shows, kids will gather round and I’ll offer them to sit in it, and they nearly all say ‘yes please’, apart from a few shy ones,” he says. “At one event, some parents came back about half an hour after their daughter had sat in the car and said ‘our daughter wants to give you something’, and she’d drawn the Lomax to say thank you very much. I keep it in the car. I thought it was so nice of her.”

As for the future, Victor will keep driving the car that has given him and Denise so much fun.

“As long as I can get in and out of it,” he laughs.

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