Lagonda LG6 Drophead Coupe
In 1933, Lagonda began using Meadows engines, a 4.5-liter unit that proved no heavier than Lagonda’s own three-liter but produced 50 percent more power. This new M45 model became quite popular, as it offered the performance of a Bentley at a lower price. A Rapide version on a shorter chassis was faster still. A pair of cars competed at Le Mans in 1935, one of them winning outright, besting Bugattis and Alfa Romeos.
Lagonda, Ltd., as the company became, fell on hard times by 1935. The company was in receivership when a young lawyer, Alan Good, came to the rescue with a generous offer. With Good came plenty, in the persona of W.O. Bentley.
In 1931, Walter Owen Bentley’s bankrupt company had been acquired by Rolls-Royce, Ltd. Bentley was kept on as a customer relations and testing advisor, but the relationship with his new bosses was not a good one. Good, knowing of Bentley’s talent and his unhappiness, recruited the older man for Lagonda, where his experience and acumen were soon put to work on new designs.
Bentley’s objective was to take the Lagonda upscale while making technical improvements in the process. Starting with the M45, Bentley added twin Scintilla Vertex magnetos and synchromesh on the higher speeds in the gearbox and improved the chassis lubrication. Further improvements to a new LG45, introduced in 1934, included a cross-flow intake manifold and a lighter flywheel.
The new LG6, announced in October 1936, featured torsion bar independent front suspension, hydraulic brakes and a hypoid rear axle. The engine now gave 140 bhp. Joining the LG6 at the Olympia Motor Show debut was a new V-12 engine, wholly designed by Bentley. There were two wheelbases for the LG6 and three for the V-12, although the chassis were similar, and factory bodies were offered on either chassis. Production didn’t begin until October 1937 but continued until the outbreak of war in 1940. Interestingly, the 12 outsold the six, 189 to 85.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2009 at the Battersea Evolution, London, in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
140 bhp, 4,453 cc inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, two SU carburetors, torsion bar independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 127.5".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel