Wonderfully Sporting Supercharged Rapier with $257,000 in Comprehensive Restoration Work. California Mille Participant.
1935 Lagonda Rapier Sports Tourer
s/n C11419 engine no. 409/2
Black with St. James Red Leather Interior
The Lagonda Rapier is a delightful and technically advanced automobile that was produced in 1934 and 1935. Powered by a twin cam inline four of 1100ccs, the cars were small, light and quite quick. A few examples were fitted with superchargers, which increased the horsepower to near 100hp, which coupled with the fine handling made the cars competitive in races, sprints, and hillclimbs. The cars were sold as chassis only and then fitted with bodywork by a number of coachbuilders in a variety of styles ranging from rather pedestrian to quite sporting, and all told, fewer than 500 examples were built.
While the bodywork fitted to these cars was ordinarily rather staid, some were fitted with very sporting bodywork such as that which this car wears. Additionally, most examples have a preselector gearbox, while this example has a conventional 4-speed unsynchronized gearbox for ease of use. This car was comprehensively restored by specialists in the United Kingdom between 2005 and 2008 at a cost of £121,000 and is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition.
The car was manufactured in 1935 and is recorded as originally having an Abbots fixed head coupe body. In 1951, it was owned by Eric Lane, one of the founding members of the Rapier Register, and by 1972 it had passed on to a Ronald McCaffrey at which time it wore a two-seat sports tourer body. It passed on to a David Miller in Hertfordshire, England in 1980, and was raced extensively in Vintage Sports Car Club meetings between 1986 and 1991, competing in events at Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Castle Coombe, and a number of hillclimbs. The car fell into disuse before being acquired by an enthusiastic keeper in 2005 who commissioned a total restoration with Lagonda specialist Bishopgray of Berkshire. New aluminum bodywork was fabricated in the style of the Brooklands racers with twin folding aero screens, while the motor was specially prepared and equipped with a supercharger, providing over 110hp. Every aspect of the car was restored, including the chassis, bodywork, paint, upholstery, wiring and lights, dashboard and instruments, wheels and tires, engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes.
The car was imported by a Californian owner after the completion of the restoration, and participated in the 2012 California Mille. In 2013, the engine was rebuilt in its entirety by Phil Reilly & Co. with considerable engineering performed to enhance the reliability and functionality of the engine including a reworked oiling system, rebuilt oil and water pumps, and new camshafts. The engine was broken in on the dyno and tuned for optimum power. The rear axle was also resealed at the outboard ends and the rear brakes relined. The suspension was serviced and rebuilt as necessary and the gearbox resealed. The brakes were adjusted all round and the distributor was also rebuilt. In all, this work totaled over $57,000 and the resulting car is an absolute joy to drive.
The car is in excellent cosmetic condition. The paint and bodywork were done to very high standards are in excellent condition, with only the lightest of wear and one scratch on the front left fender. The wheels and tires are excellent, and the car sits in wide wire wheels with vintage Blockley tires. This combined with the sporting bodywork gives the car a low slung aggressive stance. The chrome and trim are excellent throughout, as are the lights and glass. The car has functioning turn indicators and other lamps and is street legal. The car is beautifully detailed, from the mesh grilles on the radiator and headlamps, to wrapped exhaust to the exposed quick release fuel filler.
The interior is in excellent shape. The upholstery was beautifully done in red hides, and the floors were left in bare metal for a spare and competition-inspired aesthetic. The exposed shifter adds further to the competition feel, as does the lovely competition-type Jaeger Tachometer. The remaining instruments are Smiths items, and the dashboard is a beautifully wrought etched affair. The switches and controls are excellent, and the banjo style steering wheel has been fitted with a quick release adapter to aid ingress and egress. The car has a full black canvas tonneau cover.
The engine is a beautiful twin cam unit with supercharger. The valve covers, supercharger, and carburetor float bowl are nicely polished, and the engine compartment was obviously restored to high standards. It shows a few signs of use since the restoration, but is tidy overall. The undercarriage is equally nice, having been refinished in its entirety as part of the restoration.
The car runs and drives extremely well. The engine starts easily and sounds great through the straight-through exhaust. It is well tuned and pulls well through the rev range. The suspension works properly, as do the brakes, and the gearbox is positive and straightforward to use for those accustomed to unsynchronized gearbox.
This is an absolutely stunning car. In addition to being arrestingly gorgeous, it is an absolute pleasure to drive. This Lagonda represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a sporting prewar car that was beautifully restored and works extremely well. Fitted with lovely sporting bodywork and supercharged twin overhead cam engine, this car captures all of the experience of a prewar car that would have run at Brooklands or a continental Grand Prix. Indeed, the closest comparable experience to this car is probably a Bugatti or Alfa Romeo grand prix car from the same period. It runs and drives superbly, and it is clear everywhere throughout the car that it was prepared by specialists with no expense spared. The car is widely eligible for the world’s premier events, including the Monterey Historics and many other great historic racing and rally events. It comes with photo documentation of the restoration, in addition to a thick file of invoices. There are also some photos of the car with its earlier bodywork, as well as an original advertisement for the Lagonda Rapier, from a 1934 issue of The Motor.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608