The unique car offered here was built by the well-known Australian enthusiast, Ross Stewart, creator of one of the world's fastest racing Austin Sevens. Stewart's starting point was an Abbott-bodied Rapier fixed-head coupé, registration number 'WP 6822', which prior to its transformation into a racing monoposto had last been seen on the road in Ireland in 1955. (For a full description see 'Ever Keen' by Bernie Jacobsen, pages 180-181). Starting with his collection of Rapier parts, Stewart fabricated the necessary chassis members and, wanting to use the car in the 1100cc class, sleeved down the cylinders to a bore of 62mm leaving the 90mm stroke unchanged for a capacity of 1,087cc. To extract the maximum possible amount of power from the Rapier engine, two-stage supercharging was adopted using a specially designed and manufactured blower drive case bolted to the front of the cylinder block. Using the maximum boost pressure of 28psi, the engine's power output of around 200bhp would have destroyed the standard ENV pre-selector gearbox so a pre-war Riley Silent Third gearbox containing a set of close-ratio gears was installed in its place. With all that power, good brakes are a necessity and in this case consist of hydraulically activated twin-leading-shoe units inside Alfin 13" drums.
The difficult problem of accommodating a central driving position within the chassis was solved by manufacturing a step-down gear case that attaches to the rear axle casing, enabling the prop shaft to be moved downwards. Clothing the Rapier Special is an aluminium monoposto body in classical 1930s style incorporating a driver's headrest, tail-mounted fuel tank and full under-tray. The rev counter is a period chronometric unit by Patrick Henry. Sadly, a serious motorcycle accident prematurely curtailed Ross Stewart's enjoyment of his creation.
Comprehensively re-commissioned in the UK by renowned Vintage/PVT race engineer Tony Metcalfe, 'WP 6822' has been fitted with new Dunlop racing tyres and when rolling-road dynamometer tested in October 2009 developed 180bhp at 6,000rpm on 22psi boost. Anyone doubting the Rapier's speed needed only consult the accompanying Phoenix Park results sheet for the August 2009 meeting, where it comfortably won the Pre-55 Sprint 1B event, beating a Bugatti Type 35B into second place.
The current vendor purchased the Lagonda at Bonhams' Oxford Sale in March 2011 (Lot 218). Since purchase the car has not been used in anger in competition but has been run and kept in professional storage. Presented in generally very good mechanical condition, this unique post-Vintage racer comes with a bespoke covered trailer, VSCC Buff Form and a quantity of spares to include a new piston and cylinder liner, front and rear wheels, and three brake drums.
A rare opportunity to purchase a serious pre-war racing machine and not to be confused with slower, lesser examples.