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1932 LAGONDA 2-LITRE LOW CHASSIS

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  • Fitted in period with a Cozette supercharger
  • Entrant in the 1939 RAC Rally; finished 15th in its class with CE Littler
  • Fully restored from the chassis up in the 1990s
  • Presented today in lovely patinated condition
YEAR1932
MAKELagonda
PRICESOLD

VEHICLE DESCRIPTION

With its fabric four-seater tourer body, this is a very handsome example of the Lagonda 2-Litre, a model that was heralded in period as providing ‘astonishing performance under every condition’. 

Chassis number OH10088 was first registered on 4 March 1932 and issued with the registration number PJ 3812. It was apparently supplied new as a non-supercharged Speed Model but, according to a letter in the file that was written by well-known London dealer Dan Margulies, its first owner ‘had it returned to the factory via Mayfair dealer Ernest Sutton within a few months of purchase, to be fully uprated to supercharged spec’.

The car was one of four Lagondas that were entered in the RAC Rally in April 1939, when 200 cars tackled a long road section in what The Autocar described as ‘wintry conditions’ before descending upon Brighton for the final tests. Driven by CE Littler, PJ 3812 finished 15th in Group III, which was for Open Cars 10-15hp. This turned out to be the best result of the quartet, two of the others finishing 17th and 23rd in Group VI, and the fourth car retiring.   

The letter from Margulies claimed that the Lagonda was ‘loaned to one of the Dambusters pilots during the war’ and also that it was briefly campaigned by wealthy ERA racer Bob Ansell in the early post-war period – neither of which has been confirmed. Subsequent owners during the late 1950s and through the 1960s include Dennis Bizeray, Richard Smith of Surrey and Erica Marston of Middlesex. 

By the mid-1990s, the Lagonda had been acquired by a marque enthusiast who restored it between 1994 and 1998, including a full engine rebuild. He subsequently used it for trips to the continent, including the Circuit des Ardennes and, in 2003, the first historic revival of the Coppa Milano-Sanremo. He sold it in 2005 to an owner who kept it as part of a small private collection before selling it the following year. 

This supercharged Lagonda 2-Litre is offered for sale in beautifully patinated condition following its previous restoration, and benefits from recent work carried out by renowned specialist Alpine Eagle. Not only would it make a versatile and sporting choice of pre-war road car, it’s eligible for prestigious events such as the Flying Scotsman, on which its new owner would be able follow in the wheeltracks of CE Littler when he drove PJ 3812 on the 1939 RAC Rally.

MODEL HISTORY

Founded by Wilbur Gunn and based in Staines, west of London, Lagonda made a name for itself before World War One by winning the 1910 Moscow-St Petersburg Reliability Trial and experimenting with innovations such as monocoque construction and anti-roll bars.

The marque started to focus its attention on sporting models during the 1920s, and in 1925 the 14/60 was introduced with a new overhead-valve, 1954cc, four-cylinder engine that had been designed by Arthur Davidson. It featured hemispherical combustion chambers and the twin camshafts were mounted high in the block. 

For 1928, a modified version of the 14/60 was unveiled. Known as the 2-Litre Speed Model, it had revised valve timing, a higher compression ratio of 6.8:1, and twin carburettors. The gearbox was a four-speed manual, while suspension was via semi-elliptic springs front and rear, and braking was by cable-operated drums.

Three 2-Litre Speed Models were entered for the 1928 Le Mans 24 Hours, the car driven by Baron André d’Erlanger and Douglas Hawkes finishing 11th overall and second in class.

In 1929, the low-chassis model was introduced and the following year a supercharged variant was made available. This cost £610 for the chassis alone, but with a Powerplus or Cozette blower, it was good for 90mph. The Autocar road test said that it was ‘a delightful car to handle, which shows most definitely what a supercharger, properly applied, can do.’


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