Having established its reputation by winning the Moscow - St Petersburg Reliability Trial of 1910 with a 30hp six, Lagonda concentrated mainly on the production of light cars before reverting to sporting and luxury models in the mid-1920s with the introduction of the 14/60. The latter abandoned the firm's traditional in-unit gearbox in favour of a midships-mounted transmission, but of greater technical interest was the engine. Designed by Arthur Davidson, the 2-litre 'four' featured twin camshafts, mounted high in the block, operating inclined valves in hemispherical combustion chambers. Power output of this advanced design was a highly respectable 60bhp. For the 1929 season, a 'low chassis' Speed Model was introduced, featuring revisions to the frame's front end and a higher-compression engine fitted with twin carburettors. The Speed Model had resulted from the factory's Le Mans effort of 1928, when the 2-Litre driven by Andre D'Erlanger and Douglas Hawkes had finished 11th overall in the 24-Hour endurance classic. A classic example of racing improving the breed, the 'low chassis' 2-Litre possessed markedly superior handling characteristics courtesy of its lower centre of gravity.
For all its virtues, Davidson's engine was limited by its tortuous induction tracts and in 1930 a supercharged version was introduced to overcome this deficiency. The 'blower' was mounted vertically in front of the engine, which was fitted with a stronger crankshaft, while a 3-Litre rear axle beefed up the transmission. A Powerplus supercharged was specified at first, but most 'blown' 2-Litres came with a Cozette. Thus equipped, a 'low chassis' 2-Litre was capable of up to 90mph.
For the 1931 season a deeper radiator was fitted for better cooling at sustained high speeds but the most obvious change was the up-to-the-minute styling of the T3 coachwork. The spare wheel was moved to the off-side front wing while the rear of the car was remodelled to incorporate a luggage boot with drop-down lid, thus furthering enhancing the 2-Litre's qualities as a superior sporting tourer.
'PJ 6091' represents the Lagonda 2-Litre in its ultimate and most desirable specification, being low chassis, T3-bodied model complete with 'blower', in this case a Zoller unit fed by an SU carburettor. In post-war years this car was raced at Silverstone by Kent solicitor, Tony Newell, before being sold in 1970 to noted collector, David McAlpine. Restoration in the 1980s was carried out by Hofmann & Mountford and marque specialist Ivan Forshaw, the work being completed in 1986. After completion the car was campaigned both in the UK and overseas, being maintained at all times by appropriate engineering specialists.
In July 2003 the Lagonda was purchased by the immediately preceding owner at Bonhams' sale at Lord's Cricket Ground (Lot 206). The car comes with a comprehensive history file; invoices therein testifying to considerable refurbishment while in the previous ownership. Work carried out since 2003 has included an engine and supercharger rebuild and overhaul of the Bosch magneto, while a stainless steel exhaust system and Flexolite electric fuel pump are among the new parts fitted. In addition there are invoices on file for regular servicing by Brewster Mudie Ltd and Tim Walker, the most recent dated June 2010. The current vendor purchased the Lagonda at Bonhams' Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in July 2010 (Lot 380).
Finished in black with green leather interior, 'PJ 6091' comes fully equipped with Lucas 'bulls eye' headlamps, chromed trumpet horn, mirror-backed driver's swivelling spotlight and full weather equipment: hood, side screens and tonneau. The car is offered with original and reproduction instruction books; operating instructions; spare parts catalogue and supplementary information sheets; copies of period road tests; copies of previous registration documents; VSCC buff form; and Swansea V5 document. Also included in the sale is a full tool kit, starting handle, various special tools, Lucas spotlight, spare magneto, set of alternative carburettor springs/needles, and a copy of 'Lagonda Heritage' featuring this actual car on pages 48/49 (full list available).
A rare survivor of this most desirable Lagonda model, 'PJ 6091' represents an opportunity to acquire a well preserved example one of the finest British sporting cars of its day.