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1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Boattail Convertible Coupe

  • Chassis Number: 12245/G10S
  • Engine Number: 12245
Lagonda, founded in 1906, was purchased by Alan Good in 1935, who also hired W.O. Bentley. Lagonda's in-house designer Frank Feely styled the LG 45 Rapide and W.O. Bentley turned it into a luxury sports car. This car is one of the 25 examples built between 1936 and 1937 and has an overhead valve 4.5-liter in-line 6-cylinder engine developing 119 horsepower and a top speed of 100 mph.
Having left his name behind but not his talent, W.O. Bentley would apply all his skills to make Lagonda into the automotive company it could be. Lagonda was already proving itself on the track and on the road, but Bentley's final touches would help to create a masterpiece.

Drawing the name from a Shawnee settlement located near Springfield, Ohio, Lagonda would be the brain-child of former opera singer and Scottish-American Wilbur Gunn. Becoming a British national just before the beginning of the 20th century, Gunn would start out building motorcycles but would soon turn his efforts to automobiles.

By the 1920s, Lagonda was becoming a more viable competitor to the Bentley and Rolls Royce automobiles that populated Britain at the time. However, the company still lacked that certain something or someone.

Financial troubles would see the company purchased by Alan Good, and he would persuade W.O. Bentley to leave Rolls Royce to come and help make Lagonda into the success it could always be.

It wouldn't take long before Bentley began tweaking and building what was to become its best engine yet—the V-12. The 4.5-liter engine would produce some 180bhp and could rev to an impressive 5,000rpm.

The more powerful engines would be mated to heavier bodies that were also positioned closer to the ground. This would actually increase the car's handling characteristics, though it did hinder performance a bit. Nonetheless, the combination would come together to help the company achieve victory at Le Mans with a shortened M45R chassis.

Perhaps the grandest of Lagonda's pre-World War II vehicles would have to be the pricey Rapide. Combined with Bentley's tweaked V-12 engine and the low-slung body, the car had aggressive looks, but also looked very elegant at the same time.

This particular example, chassis 12245/G10S, would be among those LG45 Rapide's greatly desired among the sporting elite of the day The fact that only 25 examples would ever be produced would make them greatly desired even today.

The third from the last to ever roll out of the factory, this car would be completed in September of 1937 and would be fitted with a right-hand change gearbox. Its first owner was believed to be a Mr. Jones living in Surrey.

Mr. Laurence Mitchell bought the car just before the outbreak of the Second World War and would retain ownership of the car right up through the mid-1950s. Then, in 1955, the car was sold by Mitchell. Josh Shirman, a vendor who opened his own garage in London following the war, would purchase the car from Mitchell and would take great care looking after the car, only using it on very special occasions and in good English weather.

The car would be retained by Shirman for more than three decades. In fact, the car would remain with him longer than that as it would be years before he actually registered the Rapide. More than three decades with Shirman and the car would never be more than walking distance away from the original Lagonda factory.

Shirman would go to great lengths to take care of the car, keeping it as original as possible In fact, as late as 1993, the car would be described by Lagonda experts as highly original and un-restored.

Shirman really started to let the Lagonda out in his latter-years. He and the car would make appearances at charity shows and charity events. The car would take part in charitable runs and would even appear in shows at Rickmansworth and The Princess Royal hospital.

Tested annually, the car remained in good working order with only light overhaul and modifications being undertaken. At the time of its sale in 2008, the car remained highly original.

Since coming to its new owner, 12245 has undergone some rather extensive restoration efforts, but maintaining originality has been a major focus. Now completed in a green finish, the chrome brightwork accents the color sharply and the Lagonda is now complete with show book and extensive images from the restoration process.

One of just 25 LG45 Rapides to be built, and show-ready, this 1937 Lagonda would be made available for sale through the 2015 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction. As a result of the restoration efforts and the sheer reputation of the brand, estimates prior to the auction had the sale price falling somewhere between $900,000 and $1,200,000. When the bidding came to an end, a sale price of $880,000, inclusive of the buyer's premium, would be realized.

By Jeremy McMullen

2023 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $900,000-USD $1,200,000 
Sale Price :
USD $1,055,500

2015 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $900,000-USD $1,200,000 
Sale Price :
USD $880,000

1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Lagonda LG45 Rapide

(Data based on Model Year 1937 sales)
1937 LAGONDA LG45 RAPIDE
Chassis#: 12245/G10S
Sold for USD$1,055,500
  2023 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Sport Tourer
Chassis#: 12172/R
Sold for USD$692,500
  2023 Broad Arrow : Monterey Jet Center
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  
1937 LAGONDA LG45 RAPIDE REPLICA TOURER
Chassis#: 12178/G10
Sold for USD$223,236
  2022 Bonhams : Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris
 
1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe
Chassis#: 12224
Sold for USD$209,000
  2017 Worldwide Auctioneers : The Pacific Grove Auction
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  
1937 LAGONDA LG45 SALOON DE VILLE
Chassis#: 12257/G/10
Sold for USD$117,188
  2016 Bonhams - Goodwood Members' Meeting
 
1937 Lagonda 4½-Litre LG45 Rapide Tourer
Chassis#: 12173/R
Sold for USD$1,185,233
  2015 Bonhams : Bond Street Motor Car Sale
 
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide
Chassis#: 12245/G10S
Sold for USD$880,000
  2015 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  
1937 Lagonda LG45 Saloon De Ville
Chassis#: 12212/G10
Sold for USD$17,326
  2012 H & H Auctions - Rockingham Castle
 
1937 Lagonda LG 45 Rapide Specification
Sold for USD$296,802
  2012 Coys Auctions - Spring Classics
 
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Sports Tourer
Chassis#: 12172
Sold for USD$744,688
  2010 RM Auctions - Sporting Classics of Monaco
 
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Tourer
Chassis#: 12167/G10
Sold for USD$181,969
  2010 Bonhams - Automobiles d'Exception á Rétromobile
 
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide
Sold for USD$671,000
  2006 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide image  
1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe
Chassis#: 12226
Sold for USD$119,151
  2003 Bonhams - Sports, Competition & Collectors' Motor Cars
 

Lagonda LG45 Rapides That Failed To Sell At Auction

1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Sports Tourer12267/G10S2024 RM Sothebys : ModaMiami $750,000$850,000
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Tourer12267R/G10S/R2018 Bonhams : The Bond Street Sale $750,000$850,000
1937 Lagonda LG45 M45 Le Mans ReplicaLG45/SB/120382016 Bonhams : The Willi Balz Collection Public Tender Sale $100,000$150,000
1937 Lagonda LG 45 Rapide Specification 2013 Coys Blenheim Palace $165,000$185,000
1937 Lagonda LG45 4½-Litre Drophead Coupe12158/G102012 Bonhams Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia at Goodwood $80,000$100,000

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1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide

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