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Lagonda_1933_3-5_Litre_1.jpg

From the collection of `An American in Paris'

Estimate:SOLD for £88000
Registration No:KY 4000
Chassis No: Z10221
Engine No:Z1971
CC:3619
Colour: Black
Trim Colour:Old English Red

"Taut, fast, precise and elegant, the 3-Litre Special Tourer must rank as one of the most desirable and collectable vintage cars today" (Geoffrey Seaton, 'Lagonda An Illustrated History 1900 - 1950').

A derivative of the earlier 16/65 model, the Lagonda 3-Litre was unveiled in 1928. Progressively developed in line with its smaller 2-Litre sibling, it made the transition from 'High Chassis' to 'Low Chassis' specification early the following decade. A somewhat conventional ladder-frame design equipped with all-round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension and four-wheel drum brakes, the rakish Lagonda was nevertheless impeccably built. Powered by a 2931cc OHV straight-six engine allied to four-speed manual transmission, the model was a true Thoroughbred (a point reinforced by Lord de Clifford's fine performances aboard a Works 3-litre on the 1932 RAC and Monte Carlo rallies). Priced accordingly, it enjoyed muted sales success but remained in production until 1934.

One of the advantages of having a car restored from scratch is that an owner can tailor it to his or her exact specification. Although beginning life as a 3-Litre Saloon, 'KY 4000' now embodies the vision of two men, namely Peter Whenman of Vintage Coachworks and the vendor. Retaining its original ZM 3-Litre chassis, the car has been mechanically upgraded with a 3.5 Litre engine and aesthetically enhanced with 'Special Tourer' style coachwork (hence the Geoffrey Seaton quote above). Thus, it not only plays host to one of Lagonda's most revered chassis designs but also to the largest six-cylinder powerplant that the Staines factory ever devised. A response to the heft and complexity of the short-lived Maybach Selector gearbox, the ZM-type 3-Litre chassis was introduced at the instigation of Alf Cranmer. Distinguished by the flared course of its side rails, the new frame employed better cross-bracing, improved brakes and revised suspension. Suitably modified, it went on to underpin both the marque's M35 and M45 models.

A similar advance over its predecessor, the 3.5 Litre engine debuted in late 1934. Displacing some 3619cc, it was quoted as developing some 88bhp @ 3,000rpm (though, this figure might be somewhat conservative given that Harry Weslake found Lagonda's test bed to be under reading just a few years later). Benefiting from alloy connecting rods, five rings per cylinder, twin SU carburettors and an Autoklean oil filter, the overhead valve unit was notably refined and torquey. A common modification among Lagonda owners, 'KY 4000' utilises an Alvis all-synchromesh manual gearbox (arguably the finest transmission of its kind available during the 1930s and still a joy to use today). Beautifully executed, its lightweight fabric covered body cuts a far greater dash than the saloon coachwork that had been all but falling off chassis Z10221 when Vintage Coachworks embarked upon the transformation. While, the provision of a full-length double duck hood and snug fitting tonneau gives some weather protection.

Reportedly the result of three years work (1996-1999) and £120,000 expenditure, the reincarnation of 'KY 4000' has resulted in a truly magnificent Post Vintage Tourer (and yes restoration costs have increased dramatically over the last decade or so). As well presented underneath as on top the four-seater's neatly painted back axle casing is a match for its well-crafted interior. Finished in black with maroon leather upholstery, this unique Lagonda is described by the vendor as being in "excellent overall" condition. Said to have been "carefully serviced and maintained", it is further understood to have "completed many European rallies including the prestigious Megev-Simplon run across the Alps". A great testament to the late Peter Whenman's skill and understanding of Lagondas, 'KY 4000' is offered for sale with MOT certificate valid until March 2010.

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions

1933 Lagonda 3 - 3.5 Litre Tourer

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