'Lagonda cars have always upheld a reputation for effortless fast touring and the pride of ownership which fine detail work and distinguished coachbuilding can give. The 4½-Litre model retains these characteristics, but scores considerably over its forebears by its high power-to-weight ratio. The chassis is no bigger than the three litre car, and there is no suggestion of clumsiness, heavy steering or the other drawbacks which often accompany the large engined car.' - Motor Sport, January 1934.
The 4½-Litre Lagonda was one of the most accomplished sports cars of the 1930s, as a succession of high-profile race wins, culminating in victory at Le Mans in 1935, amply demonstrates. In 1934 a team of three specially prepared short-chassis cars (effectively the soon-to-be-announced M45 Rapide) prepared by Lagonda main agents Fox & Nicholl performed creditably at the 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.
The Lagonda car company was founded in 1906 in Staines, Middlesex by the American Wilbur Gunn (1859-1920) who named it after a river near his home town of Springfield, Ohio. Gunn had started out building motorcycles in the garden of his house in Staines with some success, including winning the 1905 London to Edinburgh Trial. In 1907 he launched his first car and in 1910 won the Moscow to St Petersburg Trial driving a 16/18hp model. Having established its reputation, 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, 2.0-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.
'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,' reported The Autocar in 1933. As the foregoing contemporary quote clearly demonstrates, these exceptionally handsome big-engined Lagondas created a considerable impression when new.
Carrying saloon coachwork finished in black, 'LV 9072' was originally registered in Liverpool on 13th June 1934 to Central Motor Co Ltd, who sold the car to Hugh Reid of Liverpool later that same year. In 1941 ownership passed to The Bee Cycle & Motor Co in Liverpool, then to Geoffrey Fawcett of Preston in March 1948. In 1953 the Lagonda was sold to Ronald Hayman in Bognor Regis. Eric Reginald Mitchell bought 'LV 9072' in 1954 and sold it in 1959 to Joseph Arthur Hind of Newark. It is not known when one David Brandon of Eastbourne purchased the Lagonda, but it was described in a note on file as having been stored for 20 years. He carried out a complete rebuild in the style of a Fox & Nichol team car. There are many bills on file relating to the works, all dated 1973, which are detailed in a typed data sheet. The works included a complete strip of all components back to the bare chassis. The engine was rebored and rebuilt with new pistons etc. Gearbox and axles restored, steering box rebuilt etc. The body professionally made in seasoned ash, clad in aluminium then padded fabric covering.
The Lagonda was then purchased in May 1974 by Dr Mervyn Busson of West Haddon, Northants, who had Aston Service Dorset provide some additional items to finish the project. After completing a mere 100 miles in two years, he sold the Lagonda to the vendor's father (now deceased) in July 1976. Since then the car has formed part of a private collection and has been used sparingly, covering only some 280 miles. It was re-commissioned in 2015 and thoroughly serviced, and is now driving very well, ready to enjoy. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned bills; original and continuation logbooks; MoT to October 2016; and old/current V5/V5C documents. The car also comes with an instruction book, original sales brochure and a reprint of 'Lagonda in the 30s'.