Bonhams & Butterfields to sell renowned Lagonda at Quail Lodge sale in August
Known as “EPE 97”, this highly important 1936 Lagonda Rapide LG45, featured in all key publications on the marque and noted in many as “The most famous Lagonda of all”, was prepared by celebrated specialists Fox Nicholl and raced extensively in 1936 and 1937. It has also been campaigned successfully at major international historic events over the last 40 years.
When the brilliant W.O. Bentley took over as chief designer at Lagonda in 1935, his aim was to create a line of motorcars that would dominate the luxury car market. At the same time he wanted to build competition models capable of putting Lagonda at the front of the grid at Le Mans, in much the same way as the Bentleys that carried his name in the 1920s had done.
Within a year, Lagonda specialists and racing drivers Arthur Fox and Bob Nicholl were employed to build four competition models to compete at Le Mans. However, the 24-hour race wasn’t held that year and EPE 97, one of the two two-seater models, ran instead in the 1936 French Grand Prix at Montlhery driven by Marcel Lehoux, as well as the 1936 RAC Tourist Trophy and the BRDC 500-Miles race at Brooklands, where the car finished third with an average speed of 113.02 mph.
The following year Fox Nicholl entered the Lagonda in the Le Mans GP driven by Brackenbury and Hindmarsh, but the car retired with mechanical problems. After an appearance at the RAC TT, EPE 97 was borrowed by Alan Hess, editor of Speed magazine, to
set a new world record for driving a sports car with a passenger – from a standing start – for 104.4 miles in one hour.
This charismatic and legendary racecar is expected to sell for $1.2m – 1.5m when it comes under the hammer Friday, August 15th at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, California.
Buyers interested in registering to bid, either in person or remotely, may call 415-861-7500. Owners interested in consigning individual cars or entire collections to this highly anticipated auction may contact the Motoring Department by e-mailing [email protected], or calling the following individuals:
- Mark Osborne, San Francisco, 415-391-4000
- Rupert Banner, New York, 212-461-6515
[Source: Bonhams & Butterfields]