1939 Lagonda V12 Sports Saloon  Chassis no. 14080 Engine no. 14080
Lot 419
1939 Lagonda V12 Sports Saloon Chassis no. 14080 Engine no. 14080
Sold for £73,000 (US$ 122,573) inc. premium
Lot Details
1939 Lagonda V12 Sports Saloon
Coachwork by Freestone & Webb Ltd

Registration no. FXB 119
Chassis no. 14080
Engine no. 14080


  • 'In making an evaluation of the better British cars, the Lagonda V12 certainly must be considered an excellent design and one that contributed to raising the state of the art - not forgetting, of course, that it probably should be considered W O Bentley's masterpiece.' - Road & Track, October 1978.
    A quite remarkable piece of automotive engineering, the W O Bentley-designed Lagonda V12 was one of the outstanding British models of its day and one of the exclusive handful of 1930s road cars that could exceed 100mph in standard tune. Not only that, but the magnificent, 4.5-litre, V12 engine produced sufficient torque to endow the car with a walking-pace-to-maximum capability in top gear.
    For Lagonda, the year 1935 had brought with it bankruptcy and rescue, its benefactor being a young solicitor named Alan Good. Good reorganised the company and recruited W O Bentley, by then disillusioned with life at Rolls-Royce, which had acquired Bentley in 1931. Bentley succeeded in refining the muscular, Meadows-engined Lagondas while working on a vastly more-advanced design that many consider the great man's finest.
    First seen in 1936, the Lagonda V12 did not commence deliveries until 1938 and only 189 had been built before the coming of WW2 ended production. The advanced chassis employed double-wishbone independent front suspension and was available with a varied choice of coachwork, including limousine. As usual, the short-chassis Rapide roadster provided even more performance.
    The V12's announcement demonstrated that the revitalised company was very much back in business, an impression Lagonda's decision to enter the 1939 Le Mans 24-Hour Race can only have enhanced. The marque already possessed a creditable Le Mans record, a short-chassis 4½-Litre driven by John Hindmarsh and Luis Fontes having won the endurance classic outright in 1935. In October 1938 a Lagonda V12 saloon driven by Earl Howe had covered 101.5 miles at Brooklands in a single hour, despite having to stop to change a burst tyre, and this together with other high-speed tests, during which the car had shown complete reliability, indicated that it would be a highly suitable candidate for reviving British prestige at Le Mans. Accordingly, it was decided to enter a two-car team in 1939 with the aim of securing valuable data, and then to mount a full-strength challenge the following year. In the race the two streamlined two-seater Lagondas fared better than expected, Messrs Brackenbury and Dobson finishing in third place with Lords Selsdon and Waleran fourth. Had a less conservative race strategy been employed, then either might have won.
    The Lagonda V12 sports saloon offered here - chassis number '14080' - was first registered 'FXB 119' on 10th May 1939 to Miss Marian Mathieson of 1 Park Gardens, Glasgow. The handsome, owner-driver, sports saloon coachwork is by Freestone & Webb of North London, one of the finest of all British coachbuilders and a firm associated with quality marques from its earliest days, particularly Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Mercedes-Benz. In January 1947 the car passed to its second owner, Mr Edward Michael Behrens of 8, Hanover Terrace, Regents Park, London NW1. Its third UK owner was David Hemley Adams, who purchased the car on 12th December 1955 and whose last change of address in the UK is recorded as 1967.
    In the early 1990s the Lagonda came to Switzerland, where the Swiss gentleman owner commissioned partial refurbishment including a high quality repaint (see numerous accompanying invoices dating from 1991). In 2002 a German collector purchased the car and kept it until his death in 2005, whereupon it passed into the current vendor's important private collection.
    Always maintained to the highest standard, the Lagonda is described as in very good original condition, currently displaying a believed-correct total of 55,000 miles on the odometer while retaining its nicely patinated original interior. Accompanying documentation consists of post-1991 invoices, annulled Swiss Fahrzeugausweis and a copy of the original UK logbook.
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