The British high-performance cars - we could even call them the supercars - of the 1930s included the Derby Bentley, the Alvis Speed models, the SS100, the Talbot 105, the Invicta and the Lagonda. Of these, the Lagonda 4½ Litre, with its magnificent presence and its sheer size, was perhaps the most visually impressive. It was also a considerably rarer beast than the Bentley, the Alvis or the Talbot, partly because of its price. This rarity endowed it then, and today, with a very exclusive cachet. It was also fast. Even the first model, the M45 of 1934, could be relied on to reach more than 90mph, propelled by a robust Meadows engine with a crash gearbox to match. The specification in some respects was already outdated, but there was no denying the Lagonda's abilities or its appeal, which was much boosted by the car's 1935 Le Mans win. In the same year W O Bentley joined the firm from Rolls-Royce, and proceeded to refine and revise the 4½ Litre, resulting in the LG45 model and later the superb V12. Throughout, from M45 to V12, a Rapide version was available, with tuned engine and glorious two-seater or tourer body.
This book opens with an exposition of the earlier history of Lagonda and the background to its introduction of the 4½ -litre M45 in 1933. Then comes a highly detailed description of the car, covering every aspect of the chassis, running gear, engine and transmission, followed by a chapter on its competition career, including the Le Mans win and TT entries, and a section on the M45 Rapide.
The succeeding LG45 was the first model to bear the mark of W O Bentley's attentions, and this receives the same treatment as the previous model, with an extensive description, notes on differences from the M45, and an account of the cars' competition activities.
While the LG45 was in production, Bentley and his team were working on the fabulous V12, also of 4½ litres. It attracted a great deal of attention and was produced alongside the six-cylinder LG6, which was a development of the LG45 and shared many of the V12's components. Both LG6 and V12 are discussed in depth, with coverage of the 1939 Le Mans, where V12s took third and fourth places.
The author also takes a look at published road tests of all the cars and offers advice on the practicalities of owning any of these models today, including common problems, parts availability, maintenance and preservation.
Seven outstanding cars have been photographed specially for this book and are featured in some 80 colour shots. There are also more than 140 black-and-white photographs drawn from archive sources.
This is the first ever book devoted exclusively to the 4½ Litre Lagondas. Its in-depth examination of these splendid, charismatic cars provides an unrivalled store of knowledge for the many owners and enthusiasts who care passionately about them, and serves as a tribute to the men who made them.