29 August 1999
1934 LAGONDA 3-LITRE OPEN TOURER
Chassis No. Z10710
Engine No. 2459
Black with red leather upholstery
Engine: in-line six cylinder overhead valve, 3,181cc; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: four wheel drum. Right hand drive.
Wilbur Gunn, who founded Lagonda, emigrated to England from a suburb of Springfield, Ohio called Lagonda; the name deriving from a local tribe of Indians.
In line with American engines, his motorcycles, tri-cars and early cars were renowned for their large displacement. These cars were successful in trials and rallies in Edwardian times. After the light cars built before and after the First World War, the excellent 2 litre and later 3 litre cars regained a sporting image for the company.
The logical follow up to the successful 2 litre Lagonda was a 2.5 litre six announced in 1927, and two years later capacity was up to 3 litres. The definitive low chassis sports model with a top speed of 85-90mph came in 1930, being progressively developed until 1934.
This particular Lagonda started life as a silent travel saloon and its former UK registration number KY 6237 indicates it is a 1934 model which was supplied by Central Motors of Bradford. It is believed that as a saloon this vehicle was owned by Peter Whitehead, the famous English amateur racing driver who raced ERAs, Ferraris and Jaguars among others.
It has a ZM specification chassis which was a strengthened version of the old chassis and was introduced in 1932 to cope with the extra weight of the German Maybach gearbox which Lagonda had started to manufacture under license and install in its select models. This chassis proved to be a great success and became the platform for the 3 litre manual gearbox model and later for the 3.5 and 4.5 litre cars.
In the early 1980's Peter Whenman, the pre-eminent English restorer of vintage Lagondas, carried out a total restoration and rebuild project on the car. The extensive restoration included the manufacture of new bodywork which is an extremely fine reproduction of the T series body style originally fitted to the tourers. It has the cycle wing mudguards, short running boards, full width windscreen and racing aeroscreens and a hand spotlight mounted on the driver's side. The quality and detail of the restoration is extensive and the Lagonda is even fitted with a full set of correct tools behind the hinged rear seat.
The vehicle arrived in the USA a short time after the rebuild where it entered in to a private California collection of British cars. In 1991 it was sold at Christie's Pebble Beach into another important collection in the Midwest. The purchaser enjoyed the car, using it on rallies and concours events, frequently winning prizes including a first prize at the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance. This is a handsome, top quality British touring car in fine condition.
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