1932 Lagonda 2 Litre
Year of manufacture1932
Number of seats2
1932 Lagonda 2-Litre Continental Saloon
Coachwork by Weymann
Registration no. GY 133
Chassis no. OH10107
Lagonda's early success had been founded on the production of light cars, but the company changed direction in the mid-1920s with the introduction of the 14/60. The latter abandoned the firm's traditional in-unit gearbox in favour of a midships-mounted transmission, but of greater technical interest was the engine. Designed by Arthur Davidson, the 2.0-litre 'four' featured twin camshafts that were mounted high in the block, operating inclined valves in hemispherical combustion chambers. Power output of this advanced design was a highly respectable 60bhp.
For the 1929 season, a 'low chassis' Speed Model was introduced, featuring revisions to the frame's front end and a higher-compression engine fitted with twin carburettors. The Speed Model had resulted from the factory's Le Mans effort of 1928, when the 2-Litre driven by André D'Erlanger and Douglas Hawkes had finished 11th overall in the 24-Hour endurance race. A classic example of racing improving the breed, the 'low chassis' 2-Litre possessed markedly superior handling characteristics courtesy of its lower centre of gravity.
For all its virtues, Davidson's engine was limited by its tortuous induction tracts, and in 1930 a supercharged version was introduced to overcome this deficiency. The 'blower' was mounted vertically in front of the engine, which was fitted with a stronger crankshaft, while a 3-Litre rear axle beefed up the transmission. A Powerplus supercharger was specified at first but most 'blown' 2-Litres came with a Cozette. Thus equipped, a 'low chassis' 2-Litre was capable of up to 90mph.
The final Speed Model variant was the Continental, an un-supercharged model with coachbuilt, steel-panelled, saloon body (rather than the more usual fabric-covered type); a slanting, slatted radiator; and bigger brakes. Another distinguishing feature was its 18"-diameter wheels, which had the effect of lowering the overall gearing for improved acceleration.
One of only two Continental saloons known to the Lagonda Club, and the only one running, this example carries Weymann coachwork in that company's later, 'semi-panelled' style. When offered for sale at Bonhams' Harrogate auction in November 2006 (Lot 422), the car was described as a 'barn find' in need of restoration. It has since been fully restored, many parts being sourced from the Lagonda Club, and comes with all invoices and a photographic record documenting the body-off rebuild. Recognised specialists involved in the restoration include Dave Strange of Guildford (re-trimming, £11,000); Winston Teague of Worcestershire (rewiring, £2,350); and Mouland & Yates of Hampshire (specialist panel work, £18,000). A new cylinder head casting was obtained from Wessex Workshops Ltd, and new brake drums and shoes from Typecast Engineering Ltd, while other mechanical works were carried out by Formhalls Vintage & Racing Ltd and Jim Stokes Workshops. The sensible provision of flashing indictors is the only notified deviation from factory specification.
Presented in beautiful condition, this ultra-rare Post-Vintage Thoroughbred is offered with a most substantial history. Contained within two large box files, the latter includes correspondence from the Lagonda Club and Arnold Davey; photographs of similar cars; contemporary road test reports; two Lagonda Instruction books (reprints); MoT to October 2020; a V5C Registration Certificate; and the aforementioned restoration records.