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Lot 061: Lagonda 3-Litre Saloon

Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (18 July 2012)

The name Lagonda conjures up all things British  cucumber sandwiches at the village cricket match, raffish RAF pilots, and country house parties  you name it. The origins of the firm are rather different however. The founder was Wilbur Gunn, an American opera singer who had the sense to realise that his talents lay elsewhere. In 1906 he left the stage and with help, produced and marketed a very competent motorcycle under the Lagonda brand - named after a creek in his native Ohio! He soon moved into car production and after a rather crude effort introduced a range of bespoke quality machines at bespoke quality prices. One of these won the 1910 Russian reliability trials and sold well in that market for a while. The market back home, however, was awash with such machines so he changed tack and produced an unconventional 11hp model noted for its riveted steel body, anti-roll bar and fly-off handbrake. This was quite successful, but had to make way for armament manufacture during WW1. Lagondas were busy making munitions and grew into a sizeable organisation, such that when hostilities ceased, there was plenty of machining capability and the little 11hp resumed production. Improvements followed, the car gaining a much bigger engine and morphing into the 12/24, a more conventional vehicle which was the mainstay of the range until 1926. Gunn sadly died in 1920 and the firm was run by the remaining directors who shrewdly decided, with the onset of the mass produced Morris and Austin, that their future lay further up-market. To this end they appointed Arthur Thomas from Lea-Francis who designed a new engine with, predictably, overhead valves operated by short pushrods from two camshafts located high up in the engine block. The 14/60 model as it was known sported powerful Rubery 4 wheel brakes and was particularly attractive and sporting, especially as by 1930 (renamed the 2-litre) it could be had with a Cozette supercharger. In 1928 the chassis was stretched and a 2.4-litre six-cylinder engine with conventional pushrods was introduced in the 16/55. This was all a bit heavy and performance was brought back up to specification when the capacity was increased to 2931cc as the 3-litre. An article in the Times newspaper quoted 78bhp at 3,700rpm. In total some 580 3-litres had been produced by 1934 when the last one was sold, making way for the new 16/80 and M45, both using similar chassis however fitted with proprietary engines. Unlike most quality manufacturers of the period, Lagonda built most of their own bodies  and very handsome they were too. The saloon, as in this example here, could be had with either a Weymann fabric body or conventionally panelled in steel and in 1933 cost 990. The accompanying buff log book shows that this 1933 3-litre was owned by Croup Captain Geoffrey Peel before passing to a patternmaker, who in turn sold it to the vendor in 1957 for 95. The patternmaker had used it to take castings to Perkins Diesels in Peterborough, but as it was a bit thirsty had decided to sell it. The original invoice shows that a deposit of 45 was paid, with further payments made over a period before the car was released. It was then used by the vendor's family until the early '60s when it was taken off the road. The family has numerous stories of summer holidays (plus exciting break downs!) and it has been a well loved member of the family for the last 50 plus years. There are a number of invoices for work done during the early '60s, and whilst it has always been the intention of the family to restore it to its former glory, they have finally decided to pass on that task to someone else. Last tested in 1961, it spent a short period outside before moving into a wartime pre-fabricated shed where it has lain ever since. During cataloguing, the original DWS jacking handle was located, along with various other loose spares. The car appears in sound condition, although the rear doors have been removed and will require attention. As far as the vendor is aware it is complete, and carries the extremely handsome ST24 body without the peak over the windscreen and the elegant long front wings. It is everyone's dream of opening a barn door somewhere and discovering a treasure that has been lost to the world for many years. Well here it is, a wonderfully preserved example of a real quality marque that could now be yours!

Lot Details
Auction Classic & Vintage Cars & Motorcycles
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Easters Court, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
TypeCar
Lot Number061
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£31000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1933
Condition rating
Registration numberTV 9829
Mileage-
Chassis number10640
Engine number2389
Engine capacity (cc)3000
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors