This 1934 Lagonda M45 is claimed to be the 14th built and to have been raced when new in Monte Carlo. Purchased as a complete, running car in 2010, the M45 has subsequently been dismantled and partially restored, and is now listed here on eBay in Ontario, Canada with the reserve not yet met at $26,000.
While the reasons to avoid project cars are many, there’s something about this Lagonda M45 that makes us forget them all. Possessing one of the best chassis of the day and powered by the largest (and most overbuilt) engine available in England in 1934, the Lagonda M45 was beautiful, fast and, in 1935, a Le Mans winner. So impressive were the cars (and so frustrated with Rolls-Royce was he) W.O. Bentley defected to Lagonda in 1935 to further develop these marvelous cars and the later, much-celebrated Lagonda V-12.
This particular Lagonda displays the open, four seat bodywork that remains the most desirable offered by the factory. Made like all British cars of the day with metal panels supported with a wooden frame, the body will require great skill to be returned to show quality. Further effort will be required of the new owner to prove this style is the original specification, as many of the cars now sporting this type of open, two door bodywork acquired the coachwork long after the car left the factory.
The seller’s claims that the M45 retains all of its components would seem to be supported by the car’s running condition at the time of purchase and the photos detailing the current condition of the most important assemblies. The outstanding 4½ liter straight six appears close to reassembly and the driveline and braking components look like the well-cared-for originals they’re claimed to be.
Make no mistake, projects cars are almost always more expensive and time consuming than the best laid plans. But when the finished product is one of England’s finest pre-war car, looks like this, is welcome at the most historic events, and trades above $200,000, the risks seem very small indeed.