When people think of
British exploits at Le Mans, Bentley (during the 1920's) is usually the
name that comes to mind, or Jaguar during the 1950's. Little known is the
fact that a Lagonda 4 1/2 litre won the race in 1935.
In 1936, the LG45 was
announced with a new streamlined body designed by Frank Feeley. It
featured synchromesh on third and top gears, hydraulic dampers and
automatic chassis lubrication. W.O. Bentley's design improvements to the
Meadows engine included an improved crossflow inlet manifold cast into the
cylinder head and a lightened flywheel.
1937 saw the
introduction of the LG45 Rapide, a glamorous open four seater with helmet
wings, external exhaust pipes and round tapering tail.
The maximum speed was
108 MPH (174 KPH) with 0-50 mph in 9.4 seconds.
Only 25 were built (of
which 24 still exist).