‘In making an evaluation of the better British cars, the Lagonda V12 certainly must be considered an excellent design and one that contributed to raising the state of the art – not forgetting, of course, that it probably should be considered W O Bentley’s masterpiece.’
– Road & Track, October 1978.
First seen in 1936, the Lagonda V12 did not commence deliveries until 1938 and only 189 have been built before the the 2nd. world war ended production. The advanced chassis employed double-wishbone independent front suspension and was available with a varied choice of coachwork.
Frank Feeley, stylist of Aston Martin’s post-war ‘DB’ cars, was responsible for the elegant factory bodywork as this car has.
A quite remarkable piece of automotive engineering, the W O Bentley-designed Lagonda V12 was one of the outstanding British models of its day and one of the exclusive handful of 1930s road cars that could exceed 100mph in standard tune.
ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
The Lagonda V12 Drophead Coupé was introduced at the London Motor Show in 1937. Because the engine was not quite developed yet, the first cars were produced in 1938.
At the London Motor Show show, the body was presented with so called “swages” which ran over the bonnet and the doors.
When Lagonda started producing the cars, they found out that the body was so expensive that the decision had to be taken to use for the Lagonda V12’s the same body as the LG6.
Five customers who ordered their cars at the London Motor Show insisted that their cars were delivered with the exact body as they had seen on the show.
This example is 1 of the 5 cars with the unique and expensive body.
This specific example was delivered to Lagonda’s Glasgow agents on 30th June 1938. It took 3 months before the first owner collected the Lagonda from the agent but on the 14th. Of September 1938 the first miles were driven with the car by Mr. A. Fraser Bellfield.
The Lagonda car was re-registered in June 1947. Very probably the re-registration was to gain the new flat rate tax of that time.
Lagonda Club correspondence on file reveals that the Lagonda was on April 1958 re-registered, bought by a Dr. Turner in Caithness, Wick.
The next recorded owner was in 1962. A Mr. Thomson from Schotland bought the car.
The car was exported to the USA in 1966. In 1972 the owner was Mr. Burling in Massachusetts. This gentlemen sold the Lagonda in 1977 to Mr. Rogers from Massachusetts.
In 1979 the Lagonda was exported to Belgium. and it was in the USA from 1966 till 1979, when it returned to Europe, initially in Belgium.
In December 1996 The Lagonda was auctioned in London.
The car was purchased by an important Lagonda collector in the Netherlands who owned the Lagonda between 1996 and 2020.
During the gentlemen ownership, he embarked on a thorough and authentic restoration at Vintage Coachwork in the UK, mindful of retaining original components whenever possible.
He carried out an exhaustive effort over a three-year period at a cost of approximately £ 150.000,-.
Work carried out has included stripping, examining and reassembling the engine, which was found to be in good condition; rewiring the electrics; stripping and repainting the bodywork; re-plating the brightwork; refurbishing all decorative woodwork; interior re-trim in leather; overhauling the brakes and radiator; and fitting new carpets, exhaust system and hood.
There are large files coming with the car which are showing a variety of invoices as well as pictures bout the work done.
During the last ownership the Lagonda was enjoyed in numerous tours and revered by knowledgeable automotive enthusiasts while serviced by his own in-house mechanic for a thorough check to ensure that the car was ready in all respects for the tours.
Finished in a combination with light silver and dark silver paintwork with a beautiful dark grey convertible top the Lagonda is an impressive appearance.
Due to the impressively high quality and thorough restoration as well as the amazing design the car is beautiful to look at.
As mentioned above, this is 1 of only 5 examples with the unique “expensive” original Lagonda body with the unique swages. This body make the Lagonda even more impressive and more special to look at.
The entire exterior is in an absolute amazing and impressive condition.
The paintwork has a beautiful deep high gloss.
The doorfittings are excellent including the bonnet and the boot.
The chrome has a beautiful shine and is in a superb condition.
Overall exterior wise this Lagonda is absolutely amazing. The looks as well as the condition are absolutely unique.
The interior is upholstered in a beautiful dark red Connolly leather.
The dashboard as well as the door panels are finished with a beautiful walnut veneer.
The seat position in the car is excellent and shows all the beautiful designed meter, gauges and knobs.
Small details such as the Lagonda brand name in the meters as well as the wind up clock are so impressively nice.
The doorcards even have a lining which comes back in the exterior of the car.
Sitting as a passenger or driving this amazing machine is fantastic. It’s not only the impressive exterior looks of the Lagonda which make the car special. Also the interior is has the same level.
When our photographer came back with the Lagonda we saw a huge smile on his face. Our photographer is driving many different cars but he was impressed. Very impressed.
How is it possible that a 1938 car is driving so extremely well and easy he said…..
And that’s completely right.
The car looks huge and impressive but is very easy to maneuver and to handle.
Let’s start at the beginning. Taking a seat in the Lagonda is easy. The door opens widely and the seat position can easily be reached. The ignition has to be switched on and when the 4 carburetors are filled with petrol the start button can be touched.
The engine start immediately and it is absolutely breathtaking how nice the Lagonda V12 is running. The sound is beautiful. The sound can be best described as soft and chique.
The gearbox shifts impressively light and actually the entire car handles impressively light. Even the brakes are very accurate, certainly for a 1938 car.
We can easily conclude, the Lagonda V12 Drophead Coupé is one of the most sophisticated, attractive, and exclusive cars of the pre-war era and this example, with its rarity and well-chronicled provenance, is a very very special car.