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Lot 418: Lagonda M35 Rapide Tourer

Beaulieu Sale, Bonhams (10 September 2011)

Founded by ex-patriot American Wilbur Gunn in 1898, Lagonda built successful motorcycles and forecars before venturing into motor manufacture proper in the early years of the 20th Century. Having established its reputation by winning the Moscow - St Petersburg Reliability Trial of 1910 with a 30hp six, the Staines-based firm concentrated mainly on the production of light cars before reverting to sporting and luxury models in the mid-1920s. This change of direction was signalled by the introduction of the '14/60' model in 1925. The '14/60' abandoned the firm's traditional in-unit gearbox in favour of an amidships-mounted transmission, but of greater technical interest was the engine. Designed by Arthur Davidson, the latter was a 2.0-litre 'four' featuring twin camshafts, mounted high up in the block, operating inclined valves set in hemispherical combustion chambers. Power output of this advanced design was a highly respectable 60bhp. A lighter, more powerful and faster (80mph) 2-Litre Speed Model was introduced for 1927, after which the '14/60' was dropped. Davidson was less adventurous when asked to come up with a larger, six-cylinder engine for the new '16/65' model in 1926. Originally of 2,692cc, the seven-bearing overhead-valve unit was enlarged to 2,931cc (and later to 3,181cc) to create the 3-Litre model of 1928, finally being stretched to 3,619cc for the short-lived 3�-Litre in 1934, by which time the Meadows-engined cars were seen as the way forward. Ultimate expression of the Lagonda-engined line begun by the '16/65', the 3�-Litre was also available in short chassis (10' 3" wheelbase) 'Rapide' form and when bodied with tourer coachwork was capable of a top speed of around 90mph. Testing a Lagonda 3�-Litre Rapide in January 1935, The Motor declared 'it would be difficult to select a more appropriate vehicle for fast and lengthy journeys.' A mere 65 M35s had been produced when production ceased towards the end of 1935. The vendor purchased this rare Lagonda 3�-Litre in September 1964 from Charles Pinquey, in whose ownership it had been bodily restored and painted. The car was used as the vendor's daily drive from Dulwich to Balham until approximately 1980, and from then onwards was used for pleasure. While in the current ownership the Lagonda has benefited from rebuilds of the engine, gearbox and both axles, while in the 1980s the front axle was straightened and all four wheels rebuilt following a minor accident. Modifications include a coil/distributor conversion, 'top fill' SU carburettors, fold-flat windscreen with aero screen, and vinyl-trimmed front seats. 'CGC 797' was laid up in 1994 due to lack of use and has remained garaged ever since, the engine being turned over regularly. The car has been re-commissioned recently and now runs well, though further careful re-commissioning is advised prior to returning it to the road. A delightfully original VDP-bodied sports-tourer, coming from long-term enthusiast ownership, the car is offered with old-style logbook, sundry restoration invoices and Swansea V5 registration document. Accompanying parts include the original carburettors, Scintilla magneto, spare P100 headlights, original windscreen and half-shafts (x2).

Lot Details
Auction Beaulieu Sale
Bonhams, The National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, Hampshire, England
Lot Number418
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£66000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£74100
Condition rating0
Registration numberCGC 757
Chassis number211364
Engine number23112
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2