The Lagonda LG45R Rapide - 'EPE 97' - one of the most visibly recognisable pre-war sports racing cars, is to be offered at Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale on 13th September, estimated at £1,400,000 – 1,800,000.
It is a car that author and motoring historian Geoffrey Seaton notably described as 'the most famous Lagonda of all', and is one of the few cars of any period that have come to be known simply by its UK registration number, 'EPE 97'.
'EPE's life began in 1936 when Lagonda faced financial decline. The company was rescued by Lagonda admirer and businessman Alan Good who subsequently appointed W.O. Bentley as chief designer. Bentley was pivotal in transforming the company through his engineering excellence, firstly with the modifications he made to the in-line six-cylinder engine as used in the LG45, and later with designing the company's first V-12 engine.
In its racing life, 'EPE' was a Fox & Nicholl Team Car and competed at the highest level in prestigious international events such as the Grand Prix de l'ACF at Montlhéry; RAC Tourist Trophy race; British Racing Drivers' Club 500-Miles; and the 1937 Le Mans 24-Hours.
Post-War, the car continued its racing campaign, competing in the inaugural Goodwood Nine Hours and the VSCC Pomeroy Trophy event of 1959. As collectors' motor car, 'EPE' has been actively campaigned since the 1980s by a series of enthusiastic long terms owners, including the Mille Miglia, and various race meetings on both sides of the Atlantic.
This wonderful British war horse is recognised as having all the right credentials. It is a racing Team car that competed at the highest level. It has Bentley's fingerprints all over it and is, in effect, the spiritual successor to the Bentley Team Cars that bore his name.
It is very original and in superb working order, eligible for many of the most prestigious historic events such as the Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Revival, Monterey Historics, California Mille and Colorado Grand.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com