In 1934 Lagonda fitted their 4-litre Meadows engine in the 3-litre chassis for outright performance. The result was one of the fastest cars of the period.
Johnny Hindmarsh and Luis Fontés won the 1935 24 Hours of Le Mans outright with their Lagonda M45R Rapide. This added considerable credibility to the Lagonda M45, a production version of the Le Mans cars.
Famous owners of the M45 included Malcom Campbell and Leslie Charteris, author of The Saint.
The car on offer has been fitted at a date unknown with the tourer body cherished by the English: halfway between a torpedo and a roadster with long bonnet and sporty four-seater cockpit with low-cut doors at the front. Also rear seats on the axle, wings styled ” velo ” or tailored to the running board, and, right at the back, a petrol tank or spare wheel. This example has a ” Sanction 4 ” engine, one of the ultimate evolutions under W O Bentley’s direction much better to use than the original engine. In black livery with black leather interior and wooden dashboard, the car has been fully restored, and is presented in absolutely superb condition. The car was formerly owned by Alan Cardash from London, and later by Mr Lewis, also from London. It was bought in 2003 through the renowned specialist LMB and became part of an important Italian collection. Since that time, the owner has carefully preserved the car in good working order, with maintenance being carried out by a garage specialising in British cars : Officina Amaducci. It is registered with the ASI and comes with its FIVA passport.
This car, an M45 Special Bodied Tourer, is an elegant and fast four-seater on a shortened 10-foot chassis, combining both great performance and stylish lines. Pre-war Lagonda service records confirm that M45 chassis Z11226 originally carried a closed factory body. Sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s, the car entered the vast collection of Harry Ellard, who stored nearly 100 cars at his factory, some owned for nearly 50 years prior to his death at the age of 87 in 1984. His entire collection was subsequently auctioned, and this car was acquired at that time by Tony Longmate, proprietor of respected classic car restorers Oaklands, for his own use.
At the time the rolling chassis had not been run in decades, and the saloon body had deteriorated. In 1985, Oaklands started a slow but comprehensive 15-year restoration, finally completed in 2000. The ash-framed, fabric-covered body now on the car was based on a sporting three-litre Lagonda of the early 1930s and features a re-trimmed interior, a new double-duck hood and tonneau.
The engine (no. 12670/2976) is a correct M45 Meadows 4½-litre unit but is not original to this car. It was fully rebuilt during restoration and had only accumulated 1,500 miles when it was acquired by the current owner in 2008. It is mated to an original four-speed Lagonda gearbox (T8 322/5485) and has a high ratio 3.3 rear axle for fast touring. All components, instruments, etc. are correct, period Lagonda. As the car had been off the road for a considerable period, its original registration number BGT 269 had to be re-applied for and was granted by the DVLA in 1995. There is a photographic record of the rebuild and a log book detailing every outing made by Mr. Longmate.
The current vendor has spent in excess of a further £60 000 over the last two years in cosmetic and mechanical upgrades on the car to prepare it for mild competition, long-distance touring and shows. The work was carried out by Greenwood Motorsport, who have maintained the car in top-notch condition. The engine, brakes and suspension were tweaked, the crown wheel and pinion replaced, the car rewired, an overdrive unit fitted for relaxed cruising at 90 mph, correct-style spats fitted to the front wings, and twin spare tyres fitted for rally use. In addition, an ingenious hidden compartment was created behind the seats to carry the full set of side screens.