1930 Lagonda 2-Litre Low Chassis Speed Model Tourer to Supercharged Specification

A participant at the 1930 Lagonda Fete held at Brooklands

Chassis No. 9644

Engine No. 2B 1012

Registration No. GF 1954

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Lagonda was responsible for the production some of the prettiest of the all the British Sports cars made before the outbreak of The Second World War. As with most manufacturers of any note, Lagonda participated in sporting events in order to help improve the breed. In 1929 the “Low-Chassis” Speed model was introduced and featured a revised chassis, fitted with the Arthur Davidson designed, 2-Litre Twin-Camshaft four-cylinder engine, with higher compression pistons and a twin carburettor set up. In this form, Lagonda took the new model to The Le Mans 24 Hour Race in 1929 where they finished a creditable 11thOverall bettering a number of much larger capacity cars. One drawback of Davidson’s design were the inlet tracts and thus a supercharged version of the model was introduced in 1930 to try and overcome this issue. Although originally designed with a PowerPlus supercharger most were ultimately fitted with a Cozette blower, mounted at the front of the engine. The 2-Litre Supercharged Low Chassis Speed Model represents the ultimate incarnation of the pure Lagonda, prior to the firm moving to the use of proprietary engines supplied by Crossley and, most notably and successfully, by Meadows.

According to records supplied by The Lagonda Club, this fine example of a Lagonda 2-Litre Speed Model, chassis number 9644, started life and an unsupercharged Speed Model and was fitted with engine number OH 1388. The car was registered GF 1954 on the 24thMarch 1930 and was photographed in both The Motor and Autocar magazines competing at The Lagonda Fete (Car Number 29) held at Broolkands on the 19thJuly 1930. Despite this early competition appearance, the early ownership history is, to date, unknown.

Contained within the extensive history files offered with the car is an interesting account of a period of ownership of “GF 1954” during the late 1930s. It is thought that ‘GF1954’ was in the ownership of Wintergarden Garages of London. The company was owned by Lance and Constance Prideaux-Brune and they became importers of Alfa Romeo sports cars via an amateur lady racing driver named Prudence Fawcett. Prudence had previously been invited to travel to the 1937 Le Mans 24 Hour Race on the Duke of Kent’s private aeroplane, and, having already caught the racing bug in Italy, decided that she would like to have a try at the French endurance race. Wintergaden Garages had become a main dealer of Morgan motorcars and a plus 4-4 was used for the race, where she and Geoffrey White finished 13thoverall. ‘GF 1954’ was used as a support car for the race, carrying all the luggage, other team members and spares and there are a number of superb copy period photographs on file showing the trip.

In 1941 the Lagonda was purchased through Derringtons Ltd of Kingston on Thames by Henry Coates, a farmer from Yorkshire. At this stage, the car was in a rather shabby state. After The War, Coates purchased a 2-Litre Supercharged rolling chassis from Derringtons, and removed the supercharged engine (Number 2B1000) and fitted it to “GF 1954.’ In this guise, he competed on numerous rallying events with some considerable success, winning the 1947 VSCC Border Rally and the coveted Lycett Northern trophy in 1951, amongst many other wins. In 1952 Henry Coates became a founder member of the 2-Litre Register and wrote many articles for The Register until he passed away in 1979.

In 1954 the Lagonda passed to Peter and Jack Allison of Beverly (photographs on file) who also used the car for numerous events and tours over an eight-year period. From the Alison brothers, ‘GF 1954’ went to R.W. Hill of Stoke-on-Trent in 1962, Roland Morgan of Kent in 1963 before being purchased by Alasdair Sproat, also of Kent, in 1964. During Sproat’s ownership ‘GF 1954’ was treated to a, much-needed, restoration by Aston Service Dorset, under Capt. Ivan Forshaw, who was the Lagonda Club spares secretary at the time.  In 1966 the car was sold through Motorsport magazine, to John Cope who kept the car for 19 years, using it sparingly. By this time engine 2B1012 had been fitted and the supercharger removed. In 1983 Peter and Ann Sowle purchased ‘GF 1954’ and retained ownership of the car until it was purchased by the current vendor in 2014. In 1991 Peter and Ann Sowle fitted a replica Cozette blower to engine number 2B1012 and the car still runs in this format today.

During the current ownership ‘GF 1954’ has been treated to numerous mechanical and cosmetic improvements, too lengthy to list here, but all listed in the history files offered with the car. The works included a total strip down of the engine with any faulty or overly worn parts replaced as necessary. Most recently the car has been entrusted to Classic Performance Engineering for a general service and tune up.

This well documented and nicely presented vintage Lagonda comes complete with a superb history file detailing its interesting history and works carried out. It is a hugely popular car within The Lagonda Club and would be suitable for all sorts of competitive events, from rallying to racing and hillclimbing. Viewing of the car and the accompanying history file is recommended.