Auctions and Brokerage
From the Ron Rezek CollectionF.G. Casswell, Spalding, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom (acquired new in 1937)Mr. Morris, Hemel, Hempstead, United KingdomLaurence Mitchell, Fittleworth, United Kingdom (acquired in 1939)Josh Shirman, London, United Kingdom (acquired in 1955)Ron Rezek, Ashland, Oregon (acquired in 2008)
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach, California, August 2011Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance, Forest Grove, Oregon, July 2012 (Best of Show)Quail Motorsports Gathering, Carmel Valley, California, August 2012 (Best in Class)Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance, San Rafael, California, May 2012 (Best in Class)Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy, May 2013
Rooted in the 1935 Le Mans-winning 4 1/2-litre M45, the LG45 marked a new era at Lagonda following Alan Good’s reorganization of the company and the recruitment of engineering legend W.O. Bentley from Rolls-Royce. The Rapide topped the LG45 line and epitomized British sports-tourers during the 1930s. The beautifully restored example offered here is certainly one of the finest extant.
Offered with elemental yet glamorous four-seat touring bodies designed by Frank Feeley, the LG45 Rapide model exudes power, speed, and adventure from every vantage point. Underneath the sleek body, mechanical upgrades overseen by W.O. included a compression boost and a high-speed final drive, rendering the mighty Rapide a true 100 mph car – a point confirmed by testers from Motor, who reached a startling 108 mph testing the model in 1937. Just 25 LG45 Rapides are thought to have been produced, with these beautiful performers priced new from £1,050 – a truly remarkable value. This highly developed Sanction 4 car is the 20th Rapide built and includes such factory-fitted improvements as the new G-10 gearbox (featuring synchromesh second, third, and top gears), plus the improved engine specification of the LG6 model that was yet to come in 1938.
According to research conducted by the current owner, Ron Rezek, in conjunction with the Lagonda Club, the subject Rapide was first owned by F.G. Casswell of Spalding, Lincolnshire, UK, who registered the car “FPJ 199.” It passed from a subsequent owner to Laurence Mitchell of Fittleworth, UK, just before the outbreak of WWII, and it was maintained at the London garage of Josh Shirman, who eventually purchased the car in 1955. First registered by Mr. Shirman in 1963, the Rapide was used little over the years; in fact, UK MOT records document just 1,700 miles between 1974 and 2008. Interestingly, while the car was periodically shown by Mr. Shirman during his tenure, it was unknown for some time to the Lagonda Club; and following inspection by historian Arnold Davey, the car was pronounced one of the formerly “missing Rapides.”
The Rapide was acquired by Mr. Rezek in 2008 and brought to North America. During 2010 and 2011, it received an extensive restoration to factory-original appearance and mechanical specification, expertly performed to concours-level standards by Vancouver, Canada’s RX Autoworks. During the restoration process, the Rapide was dismantled, revealing that the vehicle retained a high level of integrity and originality. The original colors and finishes were discovered and matched, and the wooden body framing and aluminum coachwork were restored where possible and replaced as required. Following completion, the Rapide was shown to great effect at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, followed by major awards during 2012 at Forest Grove, Quail Lodge, and the Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance. In addition, the Rapide was invited to the 2013 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
Having traveled an approximate 1,300 miles since restoration to mechanically sort the car, this wonderful LG45 Rapide is equipped with a spare tire and a drop-down tool roll containing a selection of period tools, plus the engine crank, jack, and weather gear comprising a full tonneau cover and a new top. Outstanding supporting documents include service and UK MOT records, the original logbook, and a copy of the factory-issued build and service card. Striking throughout and exceedingly rare, this LG45 Rapide is an unqualified prewar design and engineering tour de force, and one of the first Lagondas directly influenced by the deft hand of W.O. Bentley.