1936 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Tourer

In the sea of somber pre-war British saloons, the Lagonda LG45 Rapide emerged as a stunning anomaly, its sleek contours, squared radiator, and distinctive exterior features setting it apart. Crafted by the visionary Frank Feeley, who later shaped the iconic Aston Martin DB2, the Rapide exuded boldness and elegance, capturing attention even when stationary. Housed within Lagonda’s unassuming facilities by the River Thames in Staines, the rarity and beauty of the Rapide added to its mystique.

The fate of Lagonda teetered on the brink as the specter of war loomed in 1935, with financial turmoil nearly leading to acquisition by Rolls-Royce. Yet, Alan Good and Dick Watney intervened, salvaging the company and charting a course toward excellence. Guided by the expertise of W.O. Bentley and his team from Derby, the Lagonda evolved into the LG45, equipped with advancements like centralized lubrication and improved gearbox.

Recognizing the LG45’s potential, Watney spearheaded the creation of the Rapide, a more spirited iteration tailored for affluent enthusiasts. With Feeley’s daring design and powered by a refined Meadows engine in “Sanction 3” guise, boasting enhanced performance and a throatier exhaust note, the Rapide epitomized luxury and speed. Unveiled in 1936 under Lagonda’s new ownership, only 25 of these extraordinary vehicles were ever produced, cementing its status as a coveted gem of automotive history.

Photo Source: Bonhams