Lagonda LG45 Sports Tourer by Lagonda

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LG45 Sports Tourer by Lagonda





At the 1933 London Motor Show two important new Lagonda models were unveiled: the 1,104cc Rapier with twin-overhead camshaft engine and the 4½-litre M45 which employed an overhead-valve six-cylinder proprietary engine, manufactured by Meadows. Here at last was a Lagonda sports car which was capable of genuinely high performance, not only by the standards of the time, but enduringly so even today.
Lagonda returned, briefly, to the manufacture of light cars in 1934 with the introduction of the Rapier, which was heralded by The Autocar as 'a thoroughly worthwhile newcomer among small sports-type cars'. Tim Ashcroft's design had been on the drawing board for almost a year before it appeared in prototype form at the 1933 Olympia Motor Exhibition. In production from the late Spring of 1934, the Rapier was reminiscent of a baby 2-Liter in appearance and was most often seen with four-seat tourer coachwork by Abbott. The car's most notable feature was its gem of an engine; a four-cylinder, twin-overhead-camshaft unit built to Lagonda's design by Coventry Climax Ltd and displacing 1,104cc. It produced 45bhp on twin SU carburetors. A sturdy chassis frame, ENV four-speed pre-selector transmission and 13" diameter Girling brakes completed the mechanical picture. For its engine size, the Rapier was in a class of its own. Revving comfortably to 5,500rpm the motor allowed for impressive acceleration figures and a top speed of around 75mph. With such a specification, the model was consequently expensive to produce.
George A Oliver described the 4½-litre Lagondas as skillfully 'making the transition from the big and robust sports car of the early years to the equally robust but suave town-carriage cum road-burner of the later period' and this was especially true of the M45 Rapide, the top-of-the-range model. Quicker and cheaper than the contemporary Bentley, the Rapide incorporated significant improvements over the standard M45 model. The wheelbase was shortened to 10' 3", Girling brakes were standard equipment, the crankcase was RR50 alloy, heavier connecting rods and larger diameter crankshaft bearings were fitted, and a freewheel device was bolted to the T8 gearbox. A Tecalemit full-flow oil filter was provided for the Rapide together with a Scintilla magneto, while suspension was damped by Girling-Luvax hydraulic shock absorbers and André Telecontrol dampers. At £825 it was significantly more expensive than the standard M45 perhaps a sales ploy to enable the M45 to be phased out and manufacture of the Rapide to continue at a more commercially viable price.
In 1935, two additional models were also introduced. Both shared the same shorter, lighter chassis frame and were entitled the 4½-litre Rapide and the 3½-litre. Unfortunately, this multiplicity of models added to the company's post-Depression financial problems, and even the notable victory in the 1935 Le Mans 24-Hour Race came too late to save the company from collapse. It looked as if Lagonda was about to absorbed by Rolls-Royce, as had Bentley Motors, but that summer it was rescued by entrepreneur Alan Good, who appointed the revered W. O. Bentley himself as new chief designer.
'W.O.' took Lagonda straight into the luxury car market in 1936 with the new LG45 model. It featured longer springs and Luvax dampers, while retaining the successful and well-proven M45-model Meadows six-cylinder engine and chassis. Bentley also directed his attention to improving the proprietary engine, and his modifications emerged in the 'Sanction III' power units introduced at the London Motor Show that very same year.
Under the technical direction of the great W O Bentley, recently departed from Rolls-Royce, the big Lagonda became more refined, the M45's successor - the LG45 - gaining synchromesh gears, flexible engine mounts and centralized chassis lubrication among many other improvements. Intended as a prestige, upmarket model, the LG45 was aimed squarely at the Bentleys built by W O's erstwhile employer. Endowed with such impeccable pedigree, the 4½-Litre Lagonda quickly established itself as a favourite among the wealthy sporting motorists of its day.


Sold for: 172500 GBP
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