Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

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Lagonda – V12 Rapide (1938)


Vehicle Type:
Drophead Coupé
Coach Builder:
James Young
Engine CC:
Adrian Burr (UK)

Class A


Lagonda - V12 Rapide
Class A12

Lagonda has a very special resonance among the great names to adorn classy, powerful automobiles at the peak of British motor-car construction. The impressive V12 engines developed by W. O. Bentley with their masterful generation of power undoubtedly make a significant contribution to this aura.

The powerhouse behind the Lagonda engine presented in 1936 was an engine the engineer had already designed with his own company in mind. Bentley had developed it after his firm was taken over by Rolls-Royce so he was only able to create it for Lagonda. Given that engines had only ever been purchased from Henry Meadows, the marque was looking for a pathway to obtain a foothold at the top of the range. The new twelve-cylinder engine was mounted in chassis with three different wheelbases and proved to be the masterpiece by W. O. Bentley. As already in the case of the M45, the designation Rapide was reserved for the short chassis, optimised for sporting performance. These were used in sports road-going cars and in motor racing. Third and fourth places were achieved in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939. Out of a total of around 190 V12 chassis built, only 17 were delivered in Rapide specification and only two examples of the entire V12 production were styled as a Drophead Coupé by James Young. After the car presented in the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este was already in Australia in the 1950s, it came into the custodianship of its present owner in 2022.

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