The Lagonda V12, designed by W.O. Bentley, stands as a remarkable example of 1930s British automotive engineering. It was one of the few road cars of its era capable of exceeding 100 mph in standard tune. The impressive 4½-litre V12 engine generated enough torque to allow the car to smoothly transition from walking pace to maximum speed in top gear. Production was limited to around 185 units before World War II halted further manufacturing.

In 1935, Lagonda faced bankruptcy but was rescued by Alan Good, a young solicitor. Good restructured the company and brought on W.O. Bentley, who had grown disenchanted with Rolls-Royce after its acquisition of Bentley in 1931. Bentley enhanced the robust Meadows-engined Lagondas and developed a more advanced design, considered by many as his finest work.

Although introduced in 1936, the Lagonda V12 didn’t start deliveries until 1938. By the onset of WWII, only 189 units had been produced. The car featured an advanced chassis with double-wishbone independent front suspension and came with a variety of coachwork options, including a limousine. The factory bodywork, styled by Frank Feeley, who later designed Aston Martin’s post-war ‘DB’ series, was particularly elegant. The short-chassis Rapide roadster variant offered even greater performance.

Photo Source: RM Sotheby’s