Sold for £109,125
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: JSK 535
Chassis No: Z10512
Introduced at the 1933 Olympia Motor Show, the M45 remains for many the ultimate sporting Lagonda. Derived from that of its 3-Litre ZM series predecessor, the newcomer’s chassis was very much Vintage in flavour featuring a 10ft 9in wheelbase, all-round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension and four-wheel drum brakes. Doubtless influenced by the Monte Carlo Rally win and Brooklands triumphs that Invicta had achieved since fitting the proprietary Meadows 6ESC 4453cc OHV straight-six engine to its products, Lagonda chose to install the same powerplant and associated Meadows T8 four-speed gearbox aboard the M45. The result was among the fastest cars that money could buy with closed examples able to exceed 90mph and open ones, given the right conditions, punching past 100mph. Contemporary reports in Autocar and Motorsport magazines praised the Lagonda’s ‘brilliant acceleration and sheer performance’ as well as its ‘high power-to-weight ratio’ and ‘easy running in a way that can be achieved to the fullest extent only by a big-engined machine working well inside its limits’. The Staines manufacturer had amply demonstrated this latter point during pre-production testing when a prototype took fourteen hours less to cover the 1,500 miles between Dieppe to Brindisi than an express train! Arthur Fox and Bob Nicholl whose specially prepared Roesch Talbot 105 cars had done so well in international races and rallies were quick to spot the potential in the new Lagonda. A trio of shorter wheelbase, skimpily bodied and tuned M45 racers took the Team Prize at the 1934 Ards TT with one of their number claiming outright victory at the following year’s Le Mans 24 hours against Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 opposition (the Fox & Nicholl Team Cars’ specification inspired that of the M45 Rapide). Understandably popular not just with sporting motorists but also racing drivers and celebrities, some 410 Lagonda M45s (and 53 Rapides) were made from 1933–1935.
According to information kindly supplied by the Hon Registrar and Vice Chairman of the Lagonda Club, Arnold Davey Esq., chassis Z10512 was supplied new via Warwick Wright Ltd to G. Potter Esq of The Guards Club, Brook St, London on December 1st 1933. Bodied as a Close Coupled Saloon (also known as a Honeymoon Coupe) and road registered as ‘AXA 129’, the M45 returned to the Staines service department for maintenance up until 1951 by which time it had passed through the hands of Mr Archibald of Hanover Terrace, Regents Park, Basil Heathcote Lepine-Williams Esq. of Coventry and Percy W. Parr Esq. of Benthall House, Broseley, Shropshire. Interestingly, work carried out by the factory included replacing the car’s original engine with a LG6 unit (both were derived from the Meadows OHV 4½ litre straight-six but the later powerplant was considerably more powerful due to its revised cylinder head design and twin magneto ignition etc).
Known to the Lagonda Club since 1956 when A.J. Boxton Esq. of Highcliffe, Hants acquired it, the M45 was converted into a Drophead Coupe shortly thereafter. Subsequently belonging to A.G. Sparrow Esq of Henley-on-Thames and W.R. Alexander Esq. of Sheffield, the latter is understood to have campaigned it with the Vintage Sports Car Club during the 1960s and 1970s complete with a skimpy two-seater body and the number plate ‘UV 5’. Bought by David Taylor Esq. of Birkenhead during 1986, he commissioned the renowned marque specialist Peter Whenman of Vintage Coachworks to fabricate and install the current body. Faithfully modelled on the factory’s T8 Tourer design, the full flowing wings, cutaway doors, fold flat windscreen and sloping tail make it look every inch a 1930s sports car. Passing to J.R. White Esq of Kidderminster in 1993, the Lagonda was fettled by Fisher Restoration, the Shropshire Car & Engineering Co, Mike Fisher Restoration Ltd, Brewster Mudie Ltd and Vintage Sports Cars of Lymington. As well as routine servicing, the four-seater was uprated with an Alvis 4.3 Litre all-synchromesh gearbox (an accepted modification) not to mention receiving attention to its clutch, water pump, magnetos, Andre Hartford shock absorbers, fuel pumps and track rods ends etc.
Mr White successfully applied for a VSCC ‘buff form’ and drove the M45 up Shelsey Walsh on several occasions during the 1990s but never circuit raced it. Inherited by his son, the Lagonda was treated to an external bare metal repaint in 2014 at a cost of some £16,479.60. Entering the current family ownership the following year via Beaulieu Garage for the princely sum of £162,500, the four-seater has been kept garaged as part of a small collection. Re-registered as ‘JSK 535’ since the 1970s, the Lagonda started readily and ran well during our recent photography session. The paintwork is notably smart, while the Black leather upholstery, which is thought to date back to the mid-1980s, now has a gentle patina to it. With its more potent ‘Sanction IV’ engine, sought after Alvis all-synchromesh gearbox and nicely wrought Peter Whenman coachwork, this handsome M45 has much to recommend it. Looked after in recent years by Connaught Cars, ‘JSK 535’ is accompanied by a V5C Registration Document and history file (encompassing copy factory records and numerous invoices etc).
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Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 14th Jun, 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 and the only one owned and managed by its employees.
An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Cambridgeshire.
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Tuesday 13th June 2023 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 14th June 2023 from 9am
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