MEET THE MOST TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED PRE WW2 BRITISH CAR FOR SALE
This stunning pre-war 1939 Lagonda V12 Drophead Coupe will be sold for an estimate of £300,000 to £400,000 at the next H&H Classics sale at Duxford on March 18th 2020.
Quite possibly the finest example on the market today and a real jewel for any collection it was unearthed after forty years’ barn storage and subsequently treated to an exhaustive ‘chassis up’ restoration with input from the likes of LMB Racing, Bishop Gray and Mel Cranmer.
The 1939 Lagonda before undergoing extensive restoration
H&H Classics sold the then unrestored car in 2006 (as above) covered in a protective wax to prevent the brightwork from corroding. It had been stored away for 40 years and made £82,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £40,000 – £50,000. Fresh from its dry hiding place, it sported the original push-button radio, the correct period lights and wire wheels and showed just 50,112 miles on the odometer. Finished in blue with brown leather upholstery, the car had remained with the same family since the mid ‘60s. The brightwork still showed traces of the wax that was applied at the time and the hood had never been lowered in the 40 years that the family owned it! The car was complete and ripe for restoration. Indeed, despite its lengthy lack of use, the engine still turned freely.
This Lagonda was the most technologically advanced motor car to come out of Britain pre-WW2. A Lagonda press release from August 1937, states: ‘Of the half-dozen patrician motor cars still remaining on the world market, none ever inherited such a rich patrimony of design as the 12-cylinder Lagonda. The new car is no mere recapitulation of a good – but tired – design in terms of 1937. It is a new-born car, unrelated to any yet on the road – here or on the Continent. New ideals of performance were set up and these have been exceeded in the sheer versatility of the new car. Such is the 12-cylinder Lagonda – a car destined to rank from now on, among the greater names in motoring history’.
‘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).
The most technologically advanced and ambitious motorcar to come out of Britain pre-WW2, the Lagonda V12 had few international peers. Bugatti’s Type 57 may have boasted a similarly exotic overhead camshaft powerplant but its chassis layout was positively archaic by comparison. Mercedes-Benz’s 540K could match the British car’s power output but only when its refinement-compromising supercharger was engaged, while Hispano-Suiza’s J12 needed over twice the cubic capacity to develop an extra forty horsepower! A landmark design, the Lagonda will forever be notable as the world’s first production car to feature an overhead camshaft V12 engine.