1939 Lagonda V12 Rapid Tulipwood TourerSOLD

RM Auctions - Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction - August 16-18

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Estimate: $400,000-$500,000 US

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $451,000

206hp, 4,480cc, dual overhead camshaft V12 engine, twin downdraught SU carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, live rear axle and semi elliptic leaf springs, four wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 136"

Lagonda was founded while Queen Victoria was on the British throne by an American, Mr. Wilbur Gunn. The company enjoyed steady success through the 1920s and introduced several important new models during the latter part of that decade including a “ Speed ” model and a six-cylinder car, which grew into a three-liter engine within one year, and a supercharged two-liter car.

In the early 1930s a new 2-liter six was followed by the twin cam four-cylinder Rapier in 1933. All this was prelude to the 4.5-liter M45 cars with their Meadows engines, formerly used in the Invicta. A sports variant, the M45R was capable of speeds over 100 mph and one of these cars won the Le Mans race in the early 1930s, giving Britain its only Le Mans first place finish in that decade.

The great engineer W. O. Bentley joined Lagonda in 1935 and produced the LG45 and LG6. But Lagonda ’ s greatest prewar car was the Bentley-designed V12, which is considered his engineering masterpiece. Further performance evidence is easily found in a variety of ways including the V12 Lagonda Saloon, which covered 101.5mph in an hour, including a stop to change a tire. This achievement constituted a notable record since the V12 was the first production closed car to exceed 100 miles in one hour. The following year, two special-bodied V12 Lagondas finished 3rd and 4th overall (1st and 2nd in class) at Le Mans, astounding the world and fulfilling the expectations of their engineers and designers. The drivers and all those concerned with the project felt the cars capable of winning the race outright were it not for the conservative RPM restrictions placed on the team by W.O. Bentley himself.

It is believed that nine boattail racing Rapides were built with the lightweight all-aluminum racing body. Out of the nine Rapides, one is understood to have been fitted with a wood body that, similar to the example offered here, provided a concealed rumble seat for two additional passengers. It is our understanding that no other examples are believed to exist.

Pictured in numerous magazines and publications, the Tulipwood Lagonda is a crowd favorite at concours throughout the country. The Lagonda has also won notable awards at prestigious events such as the St. Armands Classic and Antique Auto Show, where it won Best of Show and the Amelia Island Concours d ’ Elegance, where it was honourably bestowed with the Camille Jenatzy Award for Most Outstanding Body Work.

While the early history of the Lagonda is not known, its recent history shows the car as a prominent feature within an exceptional collection in Japan. It is thought that the Tulipwood Lagonda changed hands for a little over $1,200,000 USD as well. After returning to the United States in the 1990s it was purchased by a prominent American collector who maintained and stored the Lagonda in a humidity-controlled garage.

The Tulipwood Tourer ’ s overall condition is exceptional; the woodwork is beautifully preserved, the brass is stunning, the copper detailing is exceptional and the final product is unbelievable. The sculptured tulipwood body laminations are masterfully integrated by meticulous rows of brass rivets. The coachwork is exceptionally proportioned and is the perfect complement to the concours detailed engine, bay and underbody. The V12 engine and drivetrain is a masterpiece and has been recently serviced by a master mechanic.

Other wood-bodied cars do exist, however few can compare with the Lagonda presented here. It is truly peerless in its appearance and, most importantly, it offers the elegance and refinement of both a Bentley and a Rolls- Royce, however its performance far exceeds both of them. Simply put, this Tulipwood Tourer is one of the most highly desired and sought after Lagondas in existence.

Reference Number 10123

as of 6/1/2007

Car 1939 Lagonda V12 Rapid Tulipwood Tourer
VIN 14095 
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