Automotive Gallery

Lagonda_1935_LG45_Tourer_1.jpg

Notable as the first Lagonda design to be overseen by legendary engineer - and recently appointed technical director of LG Motors (Staines) Ltd - W.O. Bentley, the LG45 was introduced in late September 1935. Although, sharing the same 10ft 9in wheelbase as its M45 Rapide and M45A predecessors, the newcomer boasted significantly reduced levels of noise, vibration and harshness. A massive ladder-frame channel-section affair, its chassis featured repositioned cross members (to liberate more rear legroom), softer semi-elliptic road springs, adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers, two prefabricated bulkheads and a harmonic stabilising front bumper. While other refinements included a Smiths 'Jackall' system (the controls of which were normally housed in a side-mounted 'dummy' spare wheel cover), one-shot Tecalemit lubrication and Girling four-wheel drum brakes. Powered by a modified version of the redoubtable 4453cc Meadows OHV straight-six engine (which had earned Lagonda victory in that year's Le Mans 24-hour race), the LG45 further benefited from a part synchromesh four-speed manual gearbox and strong Borg and Beck clutch. Initially available in saloon, tourer, drophead coupe or bare chassis guises, the model was among the fastest road cars of its generation (with most closed variants being capable of over 90mph and some open ones reputedly topping 100mph). Despite a fantastic 1936 season that saw four Fox & Nicholl prepared Works racers distinguish themselves in the French Grand Prix (1st in class), Belgian Grand Prix (1st in class), Ards Tourist Trophy (2nd in class) and BRDC 500 Mile Race (3rd overall), the LG45 was phased out of production the following year after some 278 had been made (though, 150 or so are thought to have survived to this day).

Before enlisting Fox & Nicholl's help to turn the LG45 into a circuit racer, Lagonda had already proven the model's worth as a rally car. Amidst the 105 entrants for the 1936 Monte Carlo Rally were two specially modified LG45 Tourers. Sporting bespoke M45-style wings, twin side-mounted spare wheels and full weather equipment etc, the duo were road registered as 'DPE 120' and 'DPE 121'. Allocated to motoring writer T.G. Moore Esq and LG Motors (Staines) Ltd Chairman A.P. Good Esq respectively, their exploits were chronicled in contemporary issues of both Autocar and Motor Sport magazines. Among the starting points available to those competing on the fifteenth running of the Monte Carlo Rally were: Athens, Umea, John O' Groats, Stavanger, Bucharest and Tallinn. Moore and Good set off from the latter bound for Monaco on January 25th 1936. Having survived the glassy roads of Estonia, Good was caught out by yet more black ice upon entering Latvia. Leaving the road at exactly the same point as Frenchman M. Vasselle - who had won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1932 and 1933 - the Lagonda Chairman did irreparable harm to his mount's clutch housing. Thus, 'DPE 121' was forced to retire barely 200 miles into its journey, while 'DPE 120' reached the famous Principality on January 29th 1936 (crossing the finishing line in a creditable 41st place overall). Both cars were brought back to the UK and survived World War Two.

According to a continuation buff logbook on file, 'DPE 121' was in the possession of Donald Louis Jones Esq of Taunton, Somerset by July 1947. Entrusted to the Lagonda Car Service Department of Aston Martin Ltd's Feltham premises some four months later, the LG45 was extensively reconditioned at the cost of £764 9s 0d. Remaining with Mr Jones until August 1962, the former rally car is known to have passed through the hands of Vernon Harvey Oakley Esq of Lansdown, Bath and Kenneth Ducommun Esq of London W8 before entering the current ownership in June 1975. Reportedly covering just 6,000 miles over the last thirty-five years, the LG45 Tourer is further understood to have benefited from a bodywork renovation and repaint in 1988. Serviced in-house for several years, the four-seater was dispatched to Cedar Classic Cars Ltd during autumn 2004. As well as attention to its brakes and suspension, 'DPE 121' was treated to a cylinder head overhaul, repaired exhaust manifold, refurbished magnetos and new HT leads plus a thirty-mile road test etc (accompanying Cedar Classic Cars Ltd invoices total £7,534.05). More recently, the Lagonda has had its carburettors fettled and six new Blockley tyres fitted by VBE restorations (invoices issued during 2007 adding up to £4,803.13). Finished in cream with green leather upholstery, the Tourer is described by the vendor as being in "good" condition with regard to its engine, electrical equipment and coachwork. While, he considers the four-speed manual gearbox and paintwork to be "good" too except for "a noisy first gear" and "some slight bubbling to the front wings". The interior trim is deemed to be "very good" and the four-seater rides on painted wire wheels. A magnificent Post Vintage Thoroughbred and a notable footnote in Lagonda's competition history, 'DPE 121' is offered for sale with history file including a typewritten schedule of its 1947 restoration by Aston Martin Ltd, assorted MOT certificates dating back to 1972, current MOT certificate valid until April 27th 2010 and historic class (free) road tax.

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions

Lagonda 1935 LG45 Tourer

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