Designed by legendary W.O. Bentley, the Lagonda short stroke V-12 not only set new standards for power and performance but was the basis for their 1939 performance, finishing third and fourth, at the 1939 24 Hours of LeMans. Claiming 157 horsepower from the dual SU carburetor, single overhead camshaft engine, the Lagonda V-12 challenged the Rolls-Royce Phantom III in performance despite displacing only 4480cc to the Phantom's gigantic 8338cc engine. Both cars owed much to Britain's rapidly evolving aero engine industry.
The chassis was as advanced as the engine, with torsion bar independent front suspension, hypoid rear axle, X-braced frame and huge Lockheed hydraulic brakes giving it the comfort, handling and brakes to match the engine's 105 mph performance.
The Lagonda V-12's combination of performance, price and handling commended it to many of the most discerning drivers of the day including Briggs Cunningham, who borrowed a V-12 from the factory while touring Britain in 1939. He immediately placed an order for a drophead coupe and later described it as 'very smooth running as well as quiet and the chassis was excellent with good road handling.'