1939 Lagonda V12

Le Mans Specification

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1/1939
  • Mileage 
    81 540 mi / 131 226 km
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Drive 
    RHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Interior colour 
    Brown
  • Interior type 
    Leather
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Green
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Performance 
    206 BHP / 209 PS / 154 kW
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

Lagonda was established in 1906 by American born Wilbur Gunn in Staines, Middlesex UK and has been owned by Aston Martin since 1947. The Lagonda name was taken from a Shawnee village “Lagonda” in Springfield Ohio where Gunn was born.

Following bankruptcy in 1935, the company was bought by a young solicitor, Alan Good, who lured a disillusioned W.O. Bentley away from Rolls Royce, who had acquired the Bentley Company in 1931. He set about designing Lagonda’s V12 which is widely considered to be his masterpiece. The rejuvenated company showed their new model in 1936 but only officially began producing customer cars in 1938 in four different body styles (coupe, drophead coupe, saloon, and a limousine).

The production specification V12 engine had a single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank with twin S.U. carburetors and produced 180 bhp at 5000rpm. The engine was coupled to a four-speed manual transmission with synchro-mesh on top which also has a mounted change lever positioned in the centre. This combination gives the Lagonda V12 the capability to hit speeds of over 100 mph

British motor racing icon, Earl Howe, purchased a V12 Lagonda which he brought to Cape Town in 1937 as personal transport for the Grosvenor Grand Prix at Pollsmoor. He also covered 101.5 miles over an hour at Brooklands in the Lagonda V12 factory prototype which was later rebuilt to Lemans specification.

Shortly after production commenced, Alan Good announced that they were entering the Lemans 24-hour race in 1939. After several arguments with WO Bentley, both agreed to treat 1939 as a practice run to collect data in preparation for an all-out effort for victory in 1940. Two modified, race specification examples were developed to enter in the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans, with four carburetors installed to give the V12 engine 206bhp at 5500rpm. Further modifications included a weight reduction and higher gearing to get the V12 to reach 230km/h.

The works car (number 5) driven by Charles Brackenbury and Arthur Dobson finished third and the customer entry (number 6) driven by Lord Selsdon and Lord Waleran finished fourth behind the winning Bugatti type 57C tank car and Delage D6

This Example:
This 1939 Lagonda V12 is one of only two examples in South Africa and left the factory as a saloon car. It was rebuilt to Le Mans specification approximately 15 years ago by a skilled Cape Town enthusiast with the bodywork completed by Vintage Coachworks in the UK. Like the Le Mans spec Lagonda V12, this example also has the four SU carburetors installed and every effort was made to make sure this example was as accurate to the two Le Mans racers as possible.

Only 189 examples of the Lagonda V12 were ever made, they could exceed 100 mph in standard form and are considered one of the outstanding models of the era and extremely rare and desirable collector cars.

This 1939 Lagonda V12 in Lemans specification is available for viewing at the Crossley & Webb showroom in Gardens Cape Town