Lot 138: Lagonda LG 45 Rapide Specification
In September 1936, Lagonda announced the LG45 Rapide with a pretty fair claim to be the fastest car in the world; its drive train used the engineering improvements found on the LG45R race cars, but with a daringly stylish touring body that has held its place ever since as the quintessential British pre-war sports car. The great Frank Feeley was responsible for styling, which featured helmet-type front wings, cutaway doors and, indispensible for the correct racing look of the era, external chrome exhausts. Like the works competition cars, the Rapide used a high-compression engine and longer-legged gearing for increased top speed - in 1937 'The Motor' achieved a staggering108 mph, comfortably exceeding the legendary 100 mph which defined 30s supercars. Only 25 of the special LG45 were produced and this small series represents probably the most desirable model of Lagonda or any other manufacturer of the pre-war period. In 1989 the well-known Lagonda specialist Barry Simpson Restoration Devon were commissioned to completely restore PSY918 to LG45 Rapide specification and coachwork. Unfortunately by mid 1991 with the car approximately 85% completed, Barry Simpson Restorations went into administration. The vendor re-negotiated with John Goulstone, who had been the senior body and engine builder with Barry Simpson, to take on and complete the remainder of the restoration, and the quality of the work done shines out to this day. Some three years on the car was finished. Subsequently the engine was rebuilt with a new block from 'LMB Racing' in Belgium along with many other new engine components such as a new and much improved crankshaft, new higher spec. connecting rods, pistons and a totally new ported and gas flowed aluminium cylinder head. The result was effectively a new engine with an increased compression ratio - now 8.3:1 - and much improved breathing. The original engine block is supplied with the car. The new cylinder head was to a Sanction One design, reflecting the preference of many Lagonda owners and racers needing the greater tuning potential of the sanction one over the later Sanction Three. Additional and very sensible modifications include a new fuel pump cut out switch just under the facia board, a front oil cooler vent leading to the oil cooler concealed just below the radiator, and an oil temperature gauge is concealed in the glove compartment. The car has been used on a number of occasions in the south of France in high ambient temperature and an oil temperature gauge was deemed sensible but concealed so as to leave the facia board as 'original' as possible. A magneto emergency cut-off facility has been installed for competitive events and the cast red warning 'arrow' is in the glove box and attaches to a spigot on the facia seen when the cigarette lighter has been removed. PSY 918 has been subject to recent significant expenditure including four new splined hubs and five completely new wheels, now fitted with a new set of Blockley tyres and recent rolling road tuning. Two rebuilt Scintilla magnetos were fitted in 2009/10. Coachwork is finished in Embassy Black with an interior beautifully trimmed in Connaught Green leather. Well-known and respected in the Lagonda Club, this magnificent LG 45 with superbly-executed Rapide style coachwork represents a very uncommon opportunity to join a very exclusive group of prewar 'supercar' owners. Simply stunning and ready for this summer's motoring.
HISTORIC COLLECTORS MOTORCARS|
Coys, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PX
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