Lot Number
46
1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe


CHASSIS NO: 12224
• 1 of only 278 LG45s produced
• Formerly owned by and restored for Lagonda Club officer Rudy Wood-Muller
• Painstaking, well-detailed, documented, and maintained total restoration
• Engineering led by W.O. Bentley; one of the finest prewar sporting cars
• Outstanding documents include copies of factory records and restoration photos
• History documented by the Lagonda Club Limited

4,453 cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine, twin SU carburetors, 150 HP at 5,500 RPM, four-speed G10 manual gearbox with synchromesh second, third, and top gears, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, Girling four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 129”


Following its brilliant 1935 Le Mans victory and brief receivership, Lagonda was acquired by Alan P. Good and Dick Watney, who outbid Rolls-Royce to acquire it. Quickly, they reorganized the business as LG Motors and recruited W.O. Bentley as chief engineer, followed by most of his former engineering staff at Rolls-Royce. Bentley and his men soon revitalized Lagonda and redeveloped the existing M45 into the improved LG45, along two wheelbase lengths measuring 129 and 135 inches. Revisions included softer springs, new Girling brakes, and updates to the M45’s ‘twin-plug’ 4 1/2-litre Meadows engine.

LG45 production was brief, spanning late 1935 through the end of 1937, in four batches or ‘sanctions’ with ongoing changes grouped accordingly. Sanction 1 LG45 engines were similar to those of the M45, Sanction 2 brought twin-magneto ignition, Sanction 3 debuted a completely redesigned cylinder head with directly-mounted carburetors, and Sanction 4 utilized essentially the Sanction 3 engine. Gearboxes included the ‘right hand’ G9, Lagonda’s first with synchromesh on third and top followed by the ‘center change’ G10 which added synchromesh to second gear. Performance was exhilarating, with top speeds up to ‘the ton’ depending upon bodywork. While the LG45 was beginning to show its age by 1936, racing versions won class at the French Grand Prix for sports cars and the Spa 24 Hours, finished second in the Tourist Trophy, and beat Bentley at the Brooklands 500-mile race. According to the Lagonda Club, just 278 LG45s were produced in all and as few as 100 active and working LG45s are known to exist.

Carrying fascinating provenance, this handsomely restored 1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe bears chassis number 12224/G10. It was ordered on March 24, 1937 and purchased on June 18, 1937 by Richard Riegel, an American from Wilmington, Delaware who also owned a Tulipwood-bodied Hispano-Suiza. The next known owner was Walter Emery, an expatriate Englishman working in the engineering department at Princeton University, reputed to have acquired the car from a Princeton student behind on gambling debts. Subsequently, 12224 lost its engine and fell into dereliction, but it was eventually found along with 12232 – another LG45 Drophead Coupe – by Rudy Wood-Muller, the noted photographic artist, who purchased both cars from the McGowan brothers of Branford, Connecticut. A noted vintage racer and longstanding Lagonda Club member and officer, Mr. Wood-Muller was most recently the Club’s representative for the United States and Canada. Sadly, this key member of the Lagonda community passed away mid-December, 2016.

Following evaluation, the decision was made to restore 12224 from the chassis up including the engine and body of 12232. The chassis and engine were restored in the United States and the wooden body framing was restored and mounted. Next, the car was shipped to the UK, where the aluminum coachwork was restored by a specialist firm and then the restoration was finished by a group of talented and dedicated Lagonda enthusiasts in Northern England. Once completed in 1991, the reborn Lagonda embarked on a maiden voyage to France; however, upon returning to the coast, a main-bearing failure forced a switch to the engine from 12241, which powers the Lagonda today. Following its return to the US, the Lagonda was preserved, shown, and cherished by Mr. Wood-Muller. He also drove the car as appropriate.

As offered, 12224/G10 includes excellent and comprehensive documentation, including copies of the original factory records, correspondence with the Lagonda Club Limited, invoices, receipts, and photos chronicling the restoration, photographs of other surviving LG45s, technical drawings, and a reproduced 4 1/2 - LG45 Type Lagonda Instruction book.

Wonderfully elegant, this 1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe remains striking and clearly continues to benefit from the uncompromising long-term restoration, research, monetary investment, and care of Rudy Wood-Muller, one of the most committed prewar Lagonda enthusiasts ever known. In fact, its very survival is a testament to the vision and fortitude of Mr. Wood-Muller, one of the finest photographic artists of modern times. While the road traveled by this significant 1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe is long and at times fraught with significant challenges, this CCCA Full Classic® not only survives, but rather it thrives, steeped in quality, extreme rarity, and incomparable heritage.

1937 Lagonda LG45 Drophead Coupe
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