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Lot 242: Lagonda LG45 4½-Litre Drophead Coupé

Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bonhams (29 June 2012)

Having established its reputation by winning the Moscow - St Petersburg Reliability Trial of 1910 with a 30hp six, Lagonda concentrated mainly on the production of light cars before reverting to sporting and luxury models in the mid-1920s with the introduction of the 14/60. This four-cylinder, 2-litre model was joined in 1929 by the first of Lagonda's own sixes - the 3-Litre - but by the mid-1930s the Meadows-engined cars were seen as the way forward. Introduced at the 1933 Olympia Show and based on the preceding ZM 3-Litre model, the M45 deployed Meadows' 4½-litre, twin-plug six to good effect, saloons being capable of reaching 90mph and tourers the 'ton' under favourable conditions. Shortly after the M45's introduction, The Autocar got its hands on one. 'A short run on one of the first of the 4½-Litre Lagonda models, with an open four-seater body, left a vivid impression not only of brilliant acceleration and sheer performance, but of a car delightfully silent and easy running in a way that can be achieved to the fullest extent only by a big-engined machine working well inside its limits.' A team of three specially prepared short-chassis cars (effectively the soon-to-be-announced M45 Rapide) prepared by Lagonda main agents Fox & Nicholls performed creditably at the 1934 RAC Tourist Trophy at Ards, and the following year one of these TT cars driven by John Hindmarsh and Luis Fontes won the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance classic outright. Under W O Bentley's technical direction the big Lagonda became more refined: the M45's successor - the LG45 - gaining synchromesh gears, flexible engine mounts and centralised chassis lubrication among many other improvements. Endowed with such an impeccable pedigree, the 4½-Litre Lagonda quickly established itself as a favourite among the wealthy sporting motorists of its day. In its road test published on 10th April 1936, The Autocar declared: 'The 4½-Litre has always given a fine performance; in its latest form it provides all the performance that anyone can reasonably require, and at the same time has been silenced, smoothed out and made a much more comfortable car, so that in comparison with the earlier versions it is hardly recognisable on first driving it. It can only be said that the appeal of the car has been considerably widened, for the people who today set great store by noise and a harsh suspension are greatly outnumbered by those to whom refinement in a fast car is far more desirable.' One of only 278 LG45s produced during 1936/37, this matching-numbers drophead coupé was first registered on 18th March 1937 and was originally dark blue. After WW2 (there is no known previous history) the car was owned by impressionist Peter Cavanagh – 'the voice of them all' – who was one of the stars of BBC radio's long-running show, 'Workers' Playtime'. Cavanagh occasionally raced the Lagonda, at Brighton or possibly Goodwood, and was pictured in Motor Sport (April 1954, page 198). The next three owners were W A Oldroyd of Leeds (1962), N P Scott of Doncaster (1967) and Bob Thredder of London SW8. In October 1976 the car was offered for sale by auction at Alexandra Palace and in September 1977 passed to L & T Alderson of Rossmoor, California, USA. J R Wilson of California was the owner in 1979 and then in October 1987 the car returned to the UK and was registered to Ms Linda Porter of London SW10 with the age-related number 'HSU 451'. In April 1988 the Lagonda passed to a Mr Allmand-Smith of Macclesfield and was reregistered under its original number, 'BKU 999'. The current vendor purchased the car in 1994. Recipient of an 'Award of Merit' at the 1999 Lagonda Club Concours, 'BKU 999' is pictured on page 218 of Geoffrey Seaton's book, 'Lagonda: an Illustrated History 1900-50' (see history file). The history file also contains assorted items of correspondence, various photographs, sundry invoices, copies of Lagonda literature, Lagonda/Invicta spare parts catalogue, 'Lagonda in the Thirties' book, Lagonda Club spares catalogue and Swansea V5C registration document. There is also a quantity of expired MoTs showing the recorded mileage increasing from 29,594 in 1994 to 37,420 when the most recent certificate was issued (expires 9th November 2012). Finished in blue/silver with blue leather interior, this beautiful Lagonda was invited to attend the HRDC Blenheim Palace Concours in 2011 and is certain to receive many such invitations in the future.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Festival of Speed
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood,UK
Lot Number242
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating1
Registration numberBKU 999
Chassis number12158/G10
Engine numberLG45/317/S3
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2