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Lot 349: Lagonda 4½-Litre LG6 Short Wheelbase Drophead Coupé

The Beaulieu Sale, Bonhams (7 September 2013)

(The) much improved '4½'... comes up to expectations... It is doubtful whether a fast car has ever been made so steady and yet so comfortable. It is almost uncannily easy to take this car round bends at high speeds and at the same time the insulation offered to passengers is of the highest order.' - The Autocar, 17th June 1938. By the mid-1930s, cars using the proprietary Meadows engine were seen as the way forward for Lagonda. The first of these - the M45, introduced in 1934 - deployed Meadows' 4.5-litre, twin-plug 'six' to good effect, saloons being capable of reaching 90mph and tourers the 'ton' under favourable conditions. Under the great W O Bentley's technical direction the big Lagonda became more refined, gaining synchromesh gears, flexible engine mounts and centralised chassis lubrication among many other improvements. The ultimate expression of the big, Meadows-engined Lagonda - the LG6 - arrived in 1937. Announced at the same time as the Bentley-designed V12, the LG6 used a similar, diagonally cross-braced chassis featuring independent front suspension by means of unequal length wishbones and torsion bars. Two chassis lengths were made (standard and long, those of the six-cylinder cars being longer than the V12's) and both models came with Lagonda's own coachwork. Regardless of the style of body fitted, the LG6 was good for around 100mph, with lighter types capable of considerably more. Only 64 short wheelbase LG6s like this one were made between early 1938 and late 1939 (plus 18 long wheelbase) of which around 50 are believed to have survived. Some 25 are thought to be drophead coupés. This particular LG6 was first owned by Colonel Mark Mayhew, a pioneer motorist and racing driver of the heroic age who had driven Napiers in the Paris-Madrid and Gordon Bennett races. The Lagonda was probably sold to Mayhew by University Motors of Piccadilly, London who had a monopoly on the 'MG' series of registration numbers, which they issued to favoured customers. The Lagonda was delivered on 12th September 1939, nine days after the outbreak of World War 2. Indeed, an early entry in the car's service record details a visit to Mayhew's home at Cobham to fit headlamp masks for the blackout, while in July 1940 a further entry describes the laying up of the Lagonda 'for the duration' at Mayhew's Battersea Flour Mills (it was re-commissioned in March 1946). By 1959 'MG 6694' had passed into the hands of one J T Needham of Kingsthorpe, Nottingham, who sold it in 1963 to Keith Merrick of Sibley, Iowa. Three years later he in turn sold it to Harold E Happe of Middleburg, Virginia who was the United States representative of the Lagonda Club. Happe restored the LG6 to a high standard and retained it until December 1988 when it returned to the UK, imported by a Mr Peter Bennett of Cheshire. The current owner acquired the Lagonda at Brooks' Olympia Sale in April 1993 (Lot 172). Its then owner stated that the car had 'seen little use and never been driven on wet roads'. Since acquisition the Lagonda has been rallied, but not as extensively as the Collection's 4.3-litre Alvis. The detailed history file contains copies of the USA title, chassis card records, correspondence dating back to 1966, a magazine article, the Brooks' auction catalogue, past MoTs, FIVA identity card and Swansea V5C document. The car will be freshly MoT'd at time of sale.

Lot Details
Auction The Beaulieu Sale
Bonhams, Hampshire, UK
Lot Number349
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£105000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£119100
Condition rating2
Registration number
Chassis number12357
Engine numberLG6/497/S4
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors