Lot 291 - 1931 Lagonda Low Chassis Open Tourer (Two-litre, Supercharged)
|Sold - £68,500
In the Edwardian era, Lagonda concentrated mainly on the production of light cars before reverting to sporting and luxury models in the mid-1920s with the introduction of the 14/60. The latter abandoned the firm's traditional in-unit gearbox in favour of a midships-mounted transmission but of greater technical interest was the engine. Designed by Arthur Davidson, the two-litre 'four' featured twin camshafts mounted high in the block and operating inclined valves in hemispherical combustion chambers. Power output of this advanced design was a highly respectable 60bhp. For the 1929 season, a 'low chassis' Speed Model was introduced, featuring revisions to the frame's front end and a higher-compression engine fitted with twin carburettors. The Speed Model had resulted from the factory's Le Mans effort of 1928 when the Two-Litre, driven by Andre D'Erlanger and Douglas Hawkes finished 11th overall in the 24-hour Endurance Classic. In 1930, a supercharged version was introduced with the 'blower' mounted vertically in front of the engine and fitted with a counterweighted crankshaft. A Powerplus supercharger was specified at first, but most 'blown' Two-litres came with a Cozette. Thus equipped, a 'low chassis' Two-litre was capable of up to 90mph.
First registered on the 28th August, 1931 and presented in green with dark green leather and black wet weather gear, including hood, tonneau and side screens. This handsome low chassis Two-litre has been in the same family since 1962 when it was bought by the vendor's father. When the vendor took over ownership of GT 609, he dedicated himself to tracking the history of the vehicle through the Lagonda Owners Club. As luck would have it one day, Wing Commander Paddy Barthrop visited and has helped detail a large part of this cars fabulous history.
During WWII, Wing Commander Paddy Barthropp, as with many pilots, was allowed a greater fuel allocation. In a canny move, he exchanged 400 gallons of 100-octane aviation fuel that he had liberated from the air base for an eight year old Lagonda he acquired from a struggling garage in London. Whilst in the Wing Commander's stewardship he also had his ground crew fit two further 10 gallon fuel tanks, although no longer with the car, we are told a shrewd inspection will still find the mounts for the fixing brackets that held the tanks, he later said, "gave me an extra supply of juice to keep me ahead of the game when I set off for pastures green". Later in the war, whilst flying missions over Germany and France, he was eventually shot down and further imprisoned with Douglas Bader in Colditz Castle. We are informed that sadly Wing Commander Barthrop's father assumed him dead and sold the car and it was not until many years later at the Biggin Hill air show did he get to see the car again.
In recent years, GT 609 had become quite the celebrity, used in period drama's and films such as an episode of Poirot named The Hollow and two films, Haunted with a young Kate Beckinsale and the Academy-award winning Gosford Park. DVD's of each appearance can be found within the history file.
Our vendor describes GT 609 as a very original car (except for the blower not being fitted), this has been off the car since the ownership of Wing Commander Paddy Barthrop, however our vendor had taken great pains over the last five years to initially source and then recondition an original Cozette supercharger which will be supplied with the car and ready to fit should a new owner wish. In good running order, this motor car presents well with lovely patination that only comes with long-term use. It is offered here with a V5C, an original Buff logbook and original workshop manuals. A fabulous car with truly fascinating provenance.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each Lot prior to the sale. Accordingly, buyers are on notice that each vehicle is offered ‘as is/as seen’ subject to the Terms and Conditions for the auction. All registration numbers, engine and chassis details are sourced from registration documents provided to Historics by the client or representative or HPI checks and buyers are to satisfy themselves as to the accuracy of these details. Buyers are advised to inspect the vehicle in person or use a professional to carry out this service. Historics will not entertain disputes over descriptions.