1932 LAGONDA 3 LITRE ZMS SELECTOR TWO SEATER TOURER
Registration No. YFH 134
Chassis No. Z10010
Engine No. 1758
Green, with no upholstery
Engine: Six cylinder, in line, overhead valve, 3 Litre, 21hp; Gearbox: 'Selector' Maybach designed, 8-speed; Suspension: front and rear, semi-elliptic leaf spring; Brakes: four wheel drum. Right hand drive.
In the early 1930's, the development of the motor car had begun to focus on improving the ease of use of the gearbox. This decade would see the introduction of a number of gearboxes with multiple clutches, where the driver first selected the gear and then depressed the clutch to change. There were various designs that made it into production, Wilson 'boxes' were found in MGs and Rileys, and on the Continent, the Cotal Electromagnetic gearbox became prevalent on the sporting Delages and Talbot-Lagos.
Lagonda were always keen to keep up with technological development, and this car is one of very few examples that survive as testament to their experiment with an 'easy-change' gearbox. Named as their 'Selector' model, Lagonda chose to fit the German Maybach doppelschnellgang or 'double four fast change gearbox'. The sheer weight of this unit necessitated a strengthened chassis frame, which would later be the basis for the 4.5 litre models. But most importantly, it provided the company with an apparently simplified gear change for their 3 litre models.
In reality, it may perhaps be questioned as to how much more simple it was to master the 'Selector' than a standard 'crash' gearbox, for it provided the driver with 8 forward gears to choose from! The Maybach unit was set up with two sets of ratios, four 'normal' and four 'emergency low', these were controlled from the steering column, with a gear lever on the floor to opt for high, low, or reverse and neutral. The selection of the gears was made by servos in the box, with operation from a partial vacuum generated from the engine and atmospheric pressure.
In addition to the gearbox, the Selector model also featured a new radiator, front axle, and new braking system with cast iron 16 inch drums. It is understood that only 70 examples of the model were ever completed, very few surviving to today.
This rare example of the Selector Special model has been in the present family ownership for more than 35 years. When acquired it still wore very dilapidated saloon bodywork, which at the time was considered beyond economical repair. With the intention of building a car that could be used for Vintage Sports Car Club competition, it was decided that it would be far more sensible to restore the car with open coachwork. A rudimentary two seater body was constructed by Gurney Nutting Ltd., for the rear portion of the car, retaining the original front wings back to the scuttle.
Unfortunately, towards the end of the project a family bereavement caused work to be ceased. This was now some years ago, but a reluctant decision has been made to part with the car as it is, rather than finishing the work.
On recent inspection, it appears that all that remains to complete the car would be seats and upholstery, an exhaust system (although the car has the correct manifolds), wiring loom, and a petrol tank - the original having been converted into a tool/storage area.
Sold as seen, it would also be advisable that the mechanics were checked over, as it has not been run for many years.