1950 Lagonda 2.6 Litre Drophead Coupe by Tickford


Details

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a factory right hand drive, matching numbers, 1950 Lagonda 2.6 Litre Drophead Coupe by Tickford.

The build sheets on file confirm this car was delivered new on the 13th November 1950 to Bridges Garage Limited on Castle Street, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK. Sir Derrick Thomas Louis Bailey, 3rd Baronet DFC from Hereford, UK is mentioned as the first owner. The car was first registered as KDF 248.

Sir Bailey was quite an interesting person. He was the son of Sir Abraham Bailey, 1st Baronet KCMG who, in the 1920’s and 1930’s had acquired substantial mining and land properties in the former Rhodesia. By the 1930s he was one of the world’s wealthiest men. His mother, Mary, Lady Bailey, DBE, was an aviation pioneer. In 1927 she became the first woman to fly across the Irish sea and also in 1927 she set a world height record. In 1928 she flew her plane from Croydon in the UK to Cape Town and back. It was the longest solo flight and longest flight accomplished by a woman that far. She was awarded the 1929 Britannia Trophy for this accomplishment.

This Lagonda 2.6 Litre Drophead Coupe was originally delivered in ‘austin maroon’ with a beige interior. The build sheets also detail the service history of this car up until 1954. Interestingly, the car was repainted by the factory in November/December 1954 in ‘golden beige’, paint colour code 202-004.

It is understood the car made its way to Australia somewhere in the 1960’s. The early history of the car in Australia is not known. Around 1976 the engine in the car was rebuild by Glarrie Grohn, a Rolls-Royce mechanic at Kellow-Falkiner in Melbourne. Circa 1977 the car was acquired by James Stewart in Melbourne. At that time the car was still painted ‘golden beige’ and from a recent phone call with Stewart he recalled fond memories from his time with the car. He vividly remembers driving the car from Portsea to Melbourne along the coast road one summers evening. It drove beautifully. He then sold the car to Mrs Charlotte Ramsay, the partner of a very well-known eye doctor in Melbourne in late 1977 or early 1978. Mrs. Ramsay hardly used the car and circa 1979 she sold it to another very well-known Melburnian, Mrs Carolyn Harper. Mrs Harper was the lessee of the Palais Theather in St. Kilda, Melbourne. Apparently, she also used the car sparingly and it was understood to have been parked up in South Yarra for most of the time during her ownership.

In 2013 the car was offered for sale through Brooklands Classic Cars in Victoria. In their write up the car was described as “This matching numbers 2.6 litre Lagonda has been garaged but not driven for almost 30 years. In complete condition (except hubcaps) this is an ideal opportunity to acquire a genuine “Garage” find Tickford bodied Drophead Lagonda for restoration”.

The current owner had a relationship with Brooklands having bought and sold a few cars through them in the past. During a phone call he casually mentioned to them that the only car he would still like to own was a Lagonda. He couldn’t believe his luck when shortly thereafter he received a phone call to say they had found him a 1950 Lagonda 2.6 Drophead Coupe. He purchased the car sight unseen and had it shipped to Queensland.

When the car arrived he realised that it was a major project to get this car back on the road, but he was up for a challenge. He decided to give the car a sympathetic restoration. The timber frame was repaired, some body work undertaken and the car was repainted. He choose to have the car repainted in a very rich red metallic. The interior was completely reupholstered in off white leather with beige piping, all the wood work was redone and all the instruments were refurbished by Lionel Otto Instruments. The car also received a new custom made soft top. One of the unique features on a Lagonda 2.6 Drophead Coupe is the split rear window in the soft top. Fortunately, the new soft top was made correctly with the split rear window.

Mechanically the car was assessed to see if any major engine work was required. Fortunately, the car was given a clean bill of health and an engine rebuild was deemed not to be necessary. The car had been sitting in a garage for a long time and obviously that meant major recommissioning work needed to be done. The brakes were overhauled, the cooling system overhauled, which included a replacement water pump. Where necessary electrical wiring was also replaced. A new custom built stainless steel exhaust system has been fitted.

Today the car presents well. The paint work on the car is good and the paint has a nice deep gloss finish. The car was repainted some years ago and unfortunately there are now a few imperfections here and there, most noticeably a small ‘star’ in the bonnet and the odd scratch here and there. The panel gaps on the car are really good and the doors open and close easily. The chrome and bright work on the car looks to be original and as a result shows its age, but all things considered it is still in reasonable condition.

Open the bonnet and the majority of what you see is original. The engine bay is unrestored, though relatively neat and tidy. The car still runs on two six-volt batteries.

We were excited and fascinated to take the car out for a short test drive and we were not disappointed. When the engine is cold you do need to use the choke which is located on the left side of the ignition key. First you turn the ignition on by turning the key. Then you turn the knob to activate the choke. A light will show up on the dashboard informing you the choke is operational. You then press the starter button to start the car. We were pleasantly surprised that the car fired up at pretty much first crank. The first impressions were immediately good. The engine sounds good and idles easily. You do need to keep the choke on whilst the engine is warming up. Once the temperature gauge starts to move you can turn it off.

Out on the road this car is surprisingly easy to drive. The engine just seems to go about its business with no fuss at all. It revs freely and feels strong. This car has a four speed column shift which takes some getting used to, but once you do it is fairly easy to use. The gear changes are smooth, both up and down the box. For a seventy plus year old convertible, the car feels solid on the road, which is probably best explained by the original design and build quality of the car. The steering is direct and precise, which really enhances the driving experience. The brakes work well to complete the package.

Accompanying the car is a reasonable history file, including the build sheets, receipts for much of the recent work undertaken, service manual, spare wheel and some miscellaneous spare parts.

It is important to note that the car was only given a sympathetic and mainly cosmetic restoration. It was not a complete nut and bolt restoration and there are still a few little jobs which need to be done to finish the restoration and take the car to the next level.

The current owner has enjoyed his journey with this Lagonda but unfortunately is no longer able to drive it and therefore is reluctantly offering it for sale.

Here is a unique opportunity to acquire a very rare and elegant high end British classic.

Highlights:

  • Factory right hand drive, matching numbers example.
  • Rare car, being 1 of 122 examples built.
  • Interesting history.
  • Use and enjoy as is or take to the next level.

 

Background

Wilbur Gunn was born in 1859 in the Shawnee settlement “Lagonda” in modern day Springfield, Ohio. Gunn was a former opera singer who became a British national in 1891. After moving to the UK Gunn further pursued a career as an artist and singer. Fortunately, he wasn’t that successful and in 1898 he started building motorcycles. Gunn was quite successful building motorcycles, so much so that a Lagonda represented Great Britain in international cup races.  In 1905 he won the London – Edinburgh trail. In 1906 Gunn founded a company and he started building cars. The name Lagonda was the Shawnee Indian name for what is now Buck Creek in Gunn’s native Springfield, Ohio and Gunn decided to use that name for his company. His first car was launched in 1907, the 20HP, 6-cylinder Torpedo. The car was quite a success and in 1910 Gunn won the Moscow – St. Peterburgs trial in the car. That win resulted in quite a few export orders from Russia.

Already in the pre-war period Lagonda started producing some pretty advanced cars. In 1913 the company produced the 11.1, and advanced, small car with a 1,099cc four-cylinder engine. By 1914 this model featured a panhard rod, a rivetted unibody body and the first ever fly-off handbrake.

After World War I, production of the 11.1 continued. The car evolved in the 11.9, which had a larger 1400-cc engine and standard electric lighting. The 11.9 until 1923 and the updated 12 until 1926.

After Gunn had passed away in 1920, three existing directors took charge of the company led by Colin Parbury. In 1925 Lagonda produced its first sports model, the 14/60 which featured a twin-cam 1,954 cc four-cylinder engine and hemispherical combustion chambers. It was superseded by the 2-Litre speed model with a higher output engine in 1927. By 1930 that car could be ordered with a supercharger. A lengthened chassis version, the 16/65, with 6-cylinder 2.4-litre engine, was available from 1926 to 1930. The final car of the 1920s was the 3-litre using a 2931-cc 6-cylinder engine. This continued until 1933 when the engine grew to 3181 cc and was also available with a complex 8-speed Maybach transmission as the Selector Special.

A new model for 1933 was the 16-80 using a 2-litre Crossley engine with pre-selector gearbox from 1934. A new small car, the Rapier came along in 1934 with 1104-cc engine and pre-selector gearbox. This lasted until 1935 but more were made until 1938 by a separate company. At the other extreme was the near 100-mph, 4.5-litre M45 with Meadows-supplied 6-cylinder 4467-cc engine. An out and out sporting version the M45R Rapide, with tuned M45 engine and a shorter chassis. Car dealer Arthur Fox entered two Lagonda M45R’s into the 1935 Le Mans race and despite suffering from damaged steering and having hardly any oil left in the engine the Lagonda driven by John Hindmarsh and Luís Fontes won that year’s race beating Alfa Romeo.

Alan P. Good managed to purchase the company in 1935, outbidding Rolls-Royce. He then also managed to persuade W.O. Bentley to leave Rolls-Royce and join Lagonda as a technical director. The 4.5-litre range now became the LG45 with lower but heavier bodies and also available in LG45R Rapide form. The LG45 came in 3 versions known as Sanction 1, 2 and 3 each with more Bentley touches to the engine. 1938 saw the introduction of the LG6 with independent front suspension by torsion bar and hydraulic brakes.

In the meantime, Bentley, together with ex-Rolls Royce employees Stuart Tresillian and Charles Sewell and design expert Frank Feeley, had been working on his new masterpiece, the V12. It was launched in 1937. The 4480-cc engine delivered 180 bhp and was said to be capable of going from 7 to 105 mph in top gear and to rev to 5000 rpm.

Production of the Lagonda V12 started in 1938 and finished in 1940. Coachwork could be done by either Lagonda or one of the other independent coach builders. To accommodate the various body designs, upon ordering customers were given the choice of either a 124 inch wheelbase, a 132 inch wheel base or a 138 inch wheel base. In total Lagonda produced 189 V12’s only 10 of those had the long, 138 inch wheel base.

In 1947 Lagonda was purchased by David Brown which resulted in the company being moved to Feltham, Middlesex, UK where Aston Martin, also owned by David Brown, was based. Production was restarted and the first Lagonda produced after World War II was the Lagonda 2.6 Litre. Powered by the straight six engine designed by WO Bentley the 2.6 was available as a saloon and a drop head coupe. The 2.6 remained in production through until 1953 and in total 512 were made, comprising 390 saloons and 122 convertibles (or drophead coupes).


Specification

  • -
  • Lagonda 2.6 Litre Drophead Coupe by Tickford
  • 1950
  • Drophead Coupe
  • Manual
  • 60 miles
  • 2580cc

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