1934 Lagonda 16/80 Special TourerSOLD
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Estimate: 70,000£-80,000£
Estimate: €102,000 - €131,000
Estimate: $140,000 - $180,000

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of £61.463

From the Collection of Mr. Bernie Ecclestone

2,056cc inline six-cylinder engine, ENV Preselector transmission, semi-elliptical leaf spring and beam axle front suspension, semi-elliptical leaf spring and live axle rear suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes.

One of the truly great pre-war marques, Lagonda was founded by Wilbur Gunn, originally of Springfield, Ohio. The company’s name was derived from the Shawnee Native American name for a river now called Buck Creek, near Gunn’s home.

Arriving in England in 1891, Gunn met and married the widowed Mrs Constance Grey in 1897, moving to her estate on the Thames at Staines, just outside London. Early tinkering with petrol engines yielded a successful fitting of a small, single-cylinder engine to his bicycle. He conducted these experiments on the lawn of the Grey estate, which would later become the location of the Lagonda factory.

Motorcycle manufacture proved to be a worthy venture, as Lagonda products represented Great Britain in international competition. Three-wheelers and larger capacity twin-cylinder engines were later introduced and Gunn used one such
engine to win the London to Edinburgh reliability trial of 1908.

As public fascination shifted towards four-wheeled transportation, Gunn once again stayed ahead of the game by designing a unibodied car that won the 1910 Moscow–St Petersburg race. The company stayed afloat during World War I by manufacturing shells but was taken over in 1920 by Alf Cranmer, Gunn’s long-time business partner who faithfully retained control of the company after Gunn’s death until 1935.

However, Lagonda’s competition successes and engineering advancements continued. In 1921, an 11 horsepower model won the Light Car Trophy and by 1930 Lagonda, one of the first manufacturers to experiment with supercharging, introduced a 2-litre model capable of 90mph speeds.

1932 proved to be another milestone year for Lagonda, which had just adopted its trademark winged badge. A complex eight-speed Maybach gearbox was introduced, as was the new 16/80 Tourer, a sporty Lagonda with a 2-litre six-cylinder engine manufactured by Crossley. An ENV Preselector gearbox was initially an option on this car and installed as standard equipment by 1933. Although a four-door saloon and two-door sporting model were available, perhaps the best-known body style was the T2 open four-seater design. All 16/80s had long swept wings instead of the cycle-type wings previously used, thereby foreshadowing the introduction of the legendary 4?-litre cars of the 1930s.

As with numerous other luxury and sports car manufacturers, custom coachwork was available at Lagonda. Vanden Plas, originally of Belgium, proved to be among the most enduring coachbuilders employed by British companies, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Daimler included. After achieving great success in Brussels by producing award-winning carriages of exceptional quality, Vanden Plas Ltd was created in England in 1913 to build bodies under licence. The company was fully established as an independent coachbuilder in London by 1923, although it was acquired by Austin Motors shortly after World War II. According to The Times, ‘Vanden Plas-bodied cars had an air of distinction lacking in many of the products around them.’

The Lagonda 16/80 featured here was originally purchased in 1934 by a Mr Turner as a Silent Running Pillarless Saloon with coachwork probably executed by Vanden Plas. Turner owned the car for a long time, finally selling it in 1958 to one Mr Mowatt, who became the second long-term owner, keeping it for some 25 years, until November 1973. Thereafter it is believed that the car left the United Kingdom, reappearing in 1987 under the ownership of Richard A. C. Nunn, who had the car converted in 1991 to a T2 Tourer. The conversion was carried out by the company of Kevin Roskruge and conducted to very high standards. The car was finally offered at auction in 1996, when it was acquired by Bernie Ecclestone. It has remained in show-quality condition in the Ecclestone Collection ever since. It should be noted that the exceptionally high quality of these T2 bodies has resulted in full acceptance of cars carrying this stylish coachwork by the Lagonda club.

With the exception of minor imperfections, the blue paint is generally excellent throughout and appears to have been well maintained. Fitting of the panels seems to be original and correct for the period. The chrome and polished aluminium trim pieces are also in very good condition as are the six Dunlop tyres, two of which are side-mounted spares. The car is fitted with a full black canvas hood and a complete tonneau cover. Accessory items include a pair of front-mounted horns, a centre-mounted driving light, and a rear luggage rack.

The interior is carpeted in blue while the blue leather bucket seats and satin finish on the wooden dash all appear to be new. The fit of the leather is generally very good. The steering wheel has been refinished and the period correct Smiths gauges behind it appear to be proper new or restored pieces. The odometer reads 785 miles, which might very well be the mileage since restoration. A Lagonda instruction manual is also present.

As with the rest of the car, the engine bay shows signs of proper restoration and remains in very good condition. The wiring, tubing, linkages, hardware, and all fittings appear to be period correct and the original starting crank is mounted on its proper bracket under the dash. Its sand-cast, brass-bodied Skinners Union carburettors were recently rebuilt, as was the brass-bodied fuel pump. The suspension, meanwhile, features Hartford friction shock absorbers. Showing only minor evidence of road use, the undercarriage is fully detailed and has also benefited from a complete and full restoration with new hardware fitted as appropriate and necessary. The car is reportedly a pleasure to drive.

As a forward-thinking manufacturer of top end motor cars, the legacy of Lagonda, along with that of Vanden Plas, has survived into the modern world of sports and luxury cars, respectively. It is therefore a true delight to present a 1934 Lagonda 16/80 T2 Special Tourer of such high quality, fascinating history, and great automotive significance – a unique find that piques the onlooker’s curiosity and will surely garner concours admiration.

Reference Number 13211

as of 9/14/2007

Car 1934 Lagonda 16/80 Special Tourer
VIN S10617 
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