1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe
Lot 528
1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe
Sold for £73,000 (US$ 111,378) inc. premium

Lot Details
1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe
Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. 12226
Engine no. 12226
Following the remarkable victory of the Hindmarsh and Fontes Lagonda M45R Rapide in the 1935 Le Mans 24-hour race when the company that had built the winning car, Lagonda Motors, was in the hands of the receivers, a consortium headed by 29-year-old solicitor Alan Good acquired the company as a going concern for £67,500 plus £4,000 for the contents of the stores.

W O Bentley – free to join another company after his enforced period working for the Rolls-Royce-owned Bentley company after the original firm bearing his name had failed financially – was engaged to develop an improved version of the M45 for production as soon as possible to sustain the company until a new Lagonda range could be developed. The first step was the M45A, a pillarless saloon built on Lagonda’s 10ft 9in wheelbase chassis that combined the best features of the standard M45 and the M45R, but that was only a temporary measure and few were built.

Using the M45A as a starting point, Bentley created a substantially revised Lagonda known as the LG45, which retained the repositioned engine location and Rapide radiator
of the M45R but paid great attention to refinement. The magazine Autocar was impressed at how much Bentley and his small design team had achieved in so short a time:
"To look at it is still obviously and immediately a Lagonda, but the feel of the car on the road is a great deal different, for to the liveliness and ease of performance have been added a suppleness and what may be called delicacy of behaviour, which are very attractive additions to what was, in any case, a most pleasing big machine."

Among the refinements which set the car apart from its predecessor were twin magneto ignition with automatic advance and retard instead of the magneto and coil system of the previous model, flexible engine mounts, a new exhaust system with triple expansion boxes, automatic chassis lubrication, built-in four-wheel jacking, softer springing and hydraulic shock absorbers. A double firewall neatly housed the batteries, fuel pump, fuse-box, and electrical cutout and insulated the passenger compartment from noise, fumes and engine heat.

The bodywork - still built in-house by Lagonda and styled by the hugely talented Frank Feeley - was quite new, with what appeared to be twin body-colour sidemount cases, though one of these was a dummy which actually contained the tools, jacking controls, wheel hammer and spare spark plugs.

The new LG45 proved a great success, with 278 cars leaving the Lagonda works in Staines, Middlesex in 1936-37. The car was produced as an open tourer, a four-door pillarless saloon and a drophead coupé. Most expensive of the new range was the drophead – a model rarely seen on Lagonda chassis previously – which sold for £1125.

This exceptional example of the LG45 drophead was restored at a cost of approximately £43,000 in 1989 – 91 and detailed accounts for the work carried out are available. Chassis, engine and bodywork restoration was carried out by respected Lagonda specialist Peter Whenman’s Vintage Coachworks, while the body – stripped to the bare aluminium – was refinished in metallic silver with blue wings by the highly-regarded Fullbridge Carriage Company. The interior was retrimmed in dark blue "Bridge of Weir" hide by Lagonda specialist Gary Wright, who also fitted leather-piped dark blue Wilton carpet and a new top and tonneau cover in German hooding material. New sidescreens are stored in zipped leather-lined pouches behind either leather door trim.

Previously UK registered DSK 747 and formerly owned by popular television personality and well-known aficionado of classic cars Noel Edmonds, this Lagonda has recently returned from a sojourn in Monaco (where it is currently registered) and has covered approximately 140 miles since 1996.

The vendor writes enthusiastically of the car’s "perfect road manners and superb ease to drive", a verdict echoing the opinion of the Autocar when the magazine road-tested an LG45 tourer in the Spring of 1936 and found the car to be one of the select few sporting cars of its day capable of exceeding 100 mph: "On a long main road run this machine is a joy to handle, with its fine acceleration and natural cruising speed anywhere up to 75 mph. Actually, the term cruising speed does not really mean very much – this car, for instance, can be driven as fast as any normally enterprising driver chooses and the road permits, without a suggestion of stressing the engine, When swinging along up to 70 or so, the sensation is almost of gliding, so smooth and unobtrusive is the mechanism as a whole,"

What better description could there be of touring in the grand manner?
Auction information

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