15th Mar, 2023 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Lot 99

1937 Lagonda LG45 Tourer
Invoices for restoration totalling over £130,000

Sold for £195,667

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: ELD 509
Chassis No: 12113
MOT: Exempt

  • Extensively, mechanically and cosmetically restored by Chris Shenton Engineering, Nick Croucher and Trevor J. Hirst
  • Beautifully refinished in its original colours of Silver with Blue leather upholstery
  • Detailed history file dating back to the 1950s
  • Uprated with a centre-change, G10 four-speed manual gearbox
  • Thought to be one of just 25 LG45 Tourers produced

Notable as the first Lagonda design to be overseen by legendary engineer - and recently appointed technical director of LG Motors (Staines) Ltd - W.O. Bentley, the LG45 was introduced in late September 1935. Although, sharing the same 10ft 9in wheelbase as its M45 Rapide and M45A predecessors, the newcomer boasted significantly reduced levels of noise, vibration and harshness. A massive ladder-frame channel-section affair, its chassis featured repositioned cross members (to liberate more rear legroom), softer semi-elliptic road springs, adjustable hydraulic shock absorbers, two prefabricated bulkheads and a harmonic stabilising front bumper. While other refinements included a Smiths 'Jackall' system (the controls of which were normally housed in a side-mounted 'dummy' spare wheel cover), one-shot Tecalemit lubrication and Girling four-wheel drum brakes. Powered by a modified version of the redoubtable 4453cc Meadows OHV straight-six engine (which had earned Lagonda victory in that year's Le Mans 24-hour race), the LG45 further benefited from a part synchromesh four-speed manual gearbox and strong Borg and Beck clutch. Initially available in Saloon, Tourer, Drophead Coupe or bare chassis guises, the model was among the fastest road cars of its generation (with most closed variants being capable of over 90mph and some open ones reputedly topping 100mph). Despite a fantastic 1936 season that saw four Fox & Nicholl prepared Works racers distinguish themselves in the French Grand Prix (1st in class), Belgian Grand Prix (1st in class), Ards Tourist Trophy (2nd in class) and BRDC 500 Mile Race (3rd overall), the LG45 was phased out of production the following year after some 278 had been made with a mere 25 of those thought to have been factory-bodied Tourers.

One of the exceptionally rare aforementioned factory-bodied Tourers, this particular Lagonda LG45 was first specified in the stunning colourway of Silver with a Dark Blue interior with complementing walnut dash and a Blue hood. Registered in London on the 16th of November 1937, this example was registered as ‘ELD 509’, which it still wears today. Having had a rather elusive early life, the history of ‘ELD 509’ is picked up in October 1954 with a Doctor O’Connor in Cornwall. Doctor O’Connor would own the car for just three years, before selling it to an F.B. Randles in Yorkshire in 1957. 1959 saw another change of ownership, a Mr Ted Townsley of Leeds, before custodianship passed to Brian Dearden-Briggs of Derbyshire in 1962. The car then left the shores for Dr A.E.P. Watson in Ontario, Canada in 1967, where it would remain for 37 years until it was repatriated in 2004 by Andrew Brackenbury who took on the task of restoring the car to its full glory.

For the restoration ‘ELD 509’ was first entrusted to Lagonda/Aston Martin specialist Chris Shenton Engineering, who alongside the rest of the car undertook a comprehensive overhaul of the engine. This included the original block line-bored and honed, the crankshaft re-ground, new rods and pistons, new white metal bearings, carburettors and much more. The rest of the car, including wiring, suspension, steering, bodywork and more were all rebuilt and replaced to the standard you would expect from Shenton’s work, and the original G9 gearbox replaced with the superior G10 unit, which was available in-period. The body preparation and paintwork was undertaken by Nick Croucher of Vintage and Classic Car Restoration with the coachwork, hood and trim undertaken by Trevor Hirst of Restoration & Coachwork. Overall, labour for the restoration, and some fettling since that time, totals some £110,000. With parts totalling over £21,000, invoices on file total in excess of £132,000; which is evidenced in the condition the vehicle is offered in today.

Acquired by the current owner through The Classic Motor Hub in October 2020, ‘ELD 509’ was shortly thereafter subject to extensive fettling to make it a useable and driveable car. The seats were lowered to give enough space for the legs under the steering wheel, a footwell was fitted so that the feet would not obstruct the steering column, the pedals rectified with the correct space and right-hand throttle, the washers in the dashboard replaced with shake-proof washers to prevent rattling and the carbs adjusted. The result, a now useable and beautifully restored motor car to be enjoyed by any collector or enthusiast looking for something truly special; offered with its original engine and in its correct colour combination. The vendor notes the Jackall system is still present in the left dummy wheel housing, but has yet to be recommissioned.

Accompanied with the vehicle is a beautifully organised history file, with a covering spreadsheet documenting the restoration work undertaken from 2004 through to 2016, separated by date, labour and parts, who undertook the work and which totals £132,611. Included in the sale, of course, is the comprehensive collection of invoices for the work undertaken, with further documentation covering the restoration in depth. Numerous photographs from the ‘50s and ‘60s are on file, a Lagonda Club maintenance manual, the current V5C document and more.

For more information, please contact:
Andreas Hicks


Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 15th Mar, 2023

Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe. 

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Tuesday 14th March 2023, from 12pm to 6pm
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