1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026

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Lot 255
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer
Registration no. CKU 737 Chassis no. 14026

£ 180,000 - 220,000
US$ 240,000 - 300,000
Withdrawn
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer
Registration no. CKU 737
Chassis no. 14026
*One of only 189 Lagonda V12s made
*Originally a saloon
*Modified to 'Le Mans' specification
*Professionally restored in the late1990s/early 2000s

Footnotes

  • "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, 4½-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 of all types had been built before the coming of WW2 prematurely ended production. The advanced chassis employed double-wishbone independent front suspension and was available with a varied choice of coachwork, including limousine. Frank Feeley, stylist of Aston Martin's post-war 'DB' cars, was responsible for the elegant factory bodywork. 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, Earl Howe had set a new national record by covering 101.5 miles at Brooklands in a single hour, despite having to stop to change a burst tyre.

    That magnificent achievement, together with other high-speed tests during which the Lagonda V12 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 3rd place with Lords Selsdon and Waleran 4th. Had a less conservative race strategy been employed, then either might have won.

    Chassis number '14026' started life as a saloon before being restored and rebuilt in Le Mans' specification by Vintage Coachworks in the late 1990s/early 2000s, the work being carried out for its vendor, Mr Alastair Barker. Detailed invoices, assorted correspondence and work-in-progress photographs are on file, testifying to the fact that this was a no-expense-spared project not without its share of setbacks (perusal recommended). Eventually, this most challenging restoration was completed in 2004 by David Ayre, including a complete rebuild of the braking system, the final act being to commission a new tonneau cover from Gary Wright. Unfortunately, that was not quite the end of the story: having been rebuilt once, the engine had to be rebuilt again in 2009/2010 following the failure of the oil pump drive gear. Bills for these later works are on file and the car also comes with a V5C document in Mr Barker's name and a quantity of MoT certificates (most recent expired in 2017).

    W O Bentley's Lagonda V12 is one of the most sophisticated, attractive, and exclusive cars of the pre-war era and this example, modified to the highly desirable 'Le Mans' specification, is an opportunity not to be missed.

Saleroom notices

  • Withdrawn
Contacts
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
1938 Lagonda V12 'Le Mans' Replica Sports Tourer  Chassis no. 14026
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