Saturday, 19 July 2014


Today's Classic of the day is advertised at
1938 Lagonda V12 Short Chassis Rapide
Without doubt one of the most refined and graceful pre-war cars made, the V12 Rapide was the last true masterpiece for both Lagonda and WO Bentley. In 1935, Lagonda's new chairman Alan Good declared his ambition to produce the world's most desirable cars with the introduction of the V12 engine, giving his engineering and design team just 2 years to achieve production. With WO Bentley on board as technical director, he assembled a highly talented team from his days at Bentley and Rolls-Royce to accomplish this. Bentley achieved Good's aims with his 4480 cc V12 producing 180 bhp at 5500 rpm and with enough torque to take any of the V12 models from 7 mph to well over 100 mph in top gear. Reports of the de Ville press demonstrator achieving 109 mph caused a MP to call for a ban on the sale of cars capable of achieving the magic ton.

Aside from the engine, the V12 was the first car completely designed under the direction of WO since he left Bentley with a new chassis incorporating independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes amongst numerous other innovative design features, all resulting in a car remarked upon for having fantastic ride and handling characteristics. WO always made his racing intentions clear from the beginning of his technical directorship so it was not surprising when a Lagonda V12 scored a podium finish at the 1939 Le Mans 24 hours.

Introduced in 1938, the V12 Rapide was the jewel in Lagonda's crown. Built on a 10' 4" short chassis with Lagonda's master designer Frank Feeley (of DB3S fame) penning the voluptuous lines of the bodywork, the result was a true world beater; even today few cars can emulate the combination of beauty, luxury and performance of a V12 Rapide. Marketed at a price of £1600 (nearly 3 times the average house price in Britain), 14 V12 Rapides were produced and all of these are known to exist today and nearly all of them are in very secure ownership.

Chassis 14071 was completed on 9th November 1938 and guaranteed on 18th February 1939. It was ordered through the Grosvenor Garage by Mr E. Boydell of Hale, Cheshire, who kept the Rapide until 1950. Clearly a man of superb taste, Boydell ordered his V12 in the sumptuous specification of black exterior with a grey hood, disc alloy wheels and a red leather interior finished with a black ebonised wood dash and polished pewter inlays. Various rare features were ordered for the car including a Phillips radio and a non-folding screen for a much cleaner look.

According to Lagonda service records, 14071 had completed 27425 miles by the end of 1950. After that date, the car was known to the Lagonda Club and had a string of British owners including Lagonda collector Herb Schofield during the 1970s. In 1998 it was exported to the USA by Albert Vorthius of Maryland who kept it for 15 years before entering the Craig Davies collection of Pebble Beach.

Today 14071 is presented in fine cosmetic and mechanical condition. Currently in two tone red with tan interior, 14071 is ready to be enjoyed on the road or as a highly rewarding restoration project back to its stunning original specification. 14071 is nicely original apart from an engine transplant to a Sanction 2 engine (V12/204) that the Lagonda service department completed in November 1946 (a very common procedure as the Sanction 1 engines suffered reliability issues). All major mechanical parts are correct with the matching number timing case and original twin SU carb setup (WO's favourite) still on the car.

A very rare opportunity to acquire the finest gentleman's express of the pre-war era.
 For further information visit the Peter Bradfield Website at:

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