1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R

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Lot 157
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer
Coachwork by The Northern Lagonda Factory Registration no. ELB 396 Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R

£ 230,000 - 290,000
US$ 300,000 - 380,000
Amended
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer
Coachwork by The Northern Lagonda Factory

Registration no. ELB 396
Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
*Formerly owned by David Hine, President of the Lagonda Club
*Professionally built using an original Rapide as the pattern
*Present family ownership since 1995
*Extensive history file

Footnotes

  • The 4½-Litre Lagonda was one of the most accomplished sports cars of the 1930s, as a succession of high-profile race wins, culminating in victory at Le Mans in 1935, amply demonstrates. Having established its reputation by winning the Moscow - St Petersburg Reliability Trial of 1910 with a 30hp six, Lagonda had 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. This four-cylinder, 2-litre model was joined in 1929 by the first of Lagonda's own sixes - the 3-Litre - but by the mid-1930s the Meadows-engined cars were seen as the way forward. Introduced at the 1933 Olympia Show and based on the preceding ZM 3-Litre model, the M45 deployed Meadows' 4½-litre, twin-plug six to good effect, saloons being capable of reaching 90mph and tourers the 'ton' under favourable conditions.

    Shortly after the M45's introduction, The Autocar got its hands on one. 'A short run on one of the first of the 4½-Litre Lagonda models, with an open four-seater body, left a vivid impression not only of brilliant acceleration and sheer performance, but of a car delightfully silent and easy running in a way that can be achieved to the fullest extent only by a big-engined machine working well inside its limits.'

    A team of three specially prepared short-chassis cars (effectively the soon-to-be-announced M45 Rapide) prepared by Lagonda main agents Fox & Nicholls performed creditably at the 1934 RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards, and the following year one of these TT cars driven by John Hindmarsh and Luis Fontes won the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance classic outright.
    Under the technical direction of the great W O Bentley, recently departed from Rolls-Royce, the big Lagonda became more refined, the M45's successor - the LG45 - gaining synchromesh gears, flexible engine mounts and centralised chassis lubrication among many other improvements. Intended as a prestige, upmarket model, the LG45 was aimed squarely at the Bentleys built by W O's erstwhile employer. Endowed with such impeccable pedigree, the 4½-Litre Lagonda quickly established itself as a favourite among the wealthy sporting motorists of its day.

    In its road test published on 10th April 1936, The Autocar declared: 'The 4½-Litre has always given a fine performance; in its latest form it provides all the performance that anyone can reasonably require, and at the same time has been silenced, smoothed out and made a much more comfortable car, so that in comparison with the earlier versions it is hardly recognisable on first driving it. It can only be said that the appeal of the car has been considerably widened, for the people who today set great store by noise and a harsh suspension are greatly outnumbered by those to whom refinement in a fast car is far more desirable.'

    For some though, this more refined 4½-Litre had moved too far away from the original conception, among them being Lagonda company director and former racing driver Dick Watney, previously with Rootes. It was the perfectionist Watney who conceived the Rapide, considering that the big Lagonda had grown too sober; the 4½-Litre's obviously fine performance notwithstanding. Stylist Frank Feeley – whose fruitful post-war career with Aston Martin would commence with the DB2 – was briefed to create an eye-catching, four-seater sports car on the production LG45 chassis without either shortening the frame or employing too many special components. Announced in September 1936, less than six months after the company's takeover by Alan Good and Dick Watney, the result was the greatly lightened Rapide, powered by a 'Sanction 3' engine. The latter incorporated the previous 'Sanctions' (improvements), adding a redesigned cylinder head and revised carburettor/induction arrangements to the package. For 'Sanction 3' the compression ratio was raised from 6.68:1 to 7:1, or 7.5:1 for any owner willing to prepare his own high-octane fuel! There was also an improved exhaust system.

    Lagonda's own coachwork was among the most handsome offered by any manufacturer, and for the lightweight LG45 a 'no frills' open tourer body adorned with cycle wings was the only type specified. The most eye-catching British sports car of its day, the Lagonda Rapide went every bit as fast as its sensational looks suggested.

    'The whole appearance of the car was flamboyant and extrovert, so much so there was some muttering about it being a car for a "Promenade Percy"... This was dispelled forever when the top speed reached on road test was published... 133.5bhp at 3,400 rpm... 108.2 mph... rest to 50mph in 9.4 seconds and to 60 mph in 13.2... a eulogistic test...' - Davey & May, 'Lagonda'.

    It is no surprise that when saloon bodies started to fall apart on otherwise sound LG45 chassis, owners would choose to recreate the stylish Rapide. 'EPC 44' was just such an example. By the mid-1980s, the car was owned by David Hine, President of the Lagonda Club; he already owned an original Rapide, and using that as a template, commissioned Herb Schofield's Oldham-based and appropriately named 'Northern Lagonda Factory' to carry out the work. The job took three years and was complete by 1990.

    Having an original car to copy made all the difference, as this car exhibits an astonishing level of attention to detail. The body shape is notoriously difficult to reproduce but this car has it just right and all the small details are there, including the hidden tool box in the boot lid and the correct bevel on the wood surrounding the instruments. In short, it is a very good one.

    David Hine kept the car until 1995 when it was sold by Porter's of Kensington to a German enthusiast; it has remained in the same family ownership ever since, and during this period the Lagonda was periodically sent to Hoffman's of Henley for servicing. Today 'EPC 44' still performs well and has a delightful patina that only adds to the feel of the car.

    The impressively weighty history file contains photographs of the restoration work, an old buff logbook, tax discs, MoTs, and invoices. This is a chance to acquire a very credible LG45 Rapide Replica that has retained its high specification Sanction 2 engine and its original and very appropriate registration number.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, the correct chassis number for this vehicle is 12091 and the correct registration number is EPC 44.
Contacts
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Replica Tourer  Chassis no. 12267R/G10S/R
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