Amongst British sports-cars built up to an ideal as distinct from down to a price the 4½-litre Lagonda has always been classed very high indeed. For 1937, this line chassis is continued almost unmodified, since W. O. Bentley brought it up to date only a short time ago, but a new Rapide is introduced, with external exhaust-system and a maximum of about 100 m.p.h. The six-cylinder push-rod engine gives 140 b.h.p. at 3,800 r.p.m. The chassis is priced at £825, the tourer at £1,050 and the saloon at £1,125. The price of the tourer is for the new Rapide edition. Twin Scintilla Vertex magnetos are now used and the gear-lever is now centrally located.
The new V12 of 4.4-litres is also W. O. Bentley’s work and it will constitute one of the sensations of the motoring year. The valves are overhead, operated by a chain-driven o.h. camshaft to each block of six cylinders, the blocks being set at 60°. There is a distributor and a dual downdraught carburetter to each block ; the sump holds three gallons, supplied under low pressure to the timing gears, valve gear, etc. and under high pressure to the crankshaft. Light alloy rods run direct on the balanced nitro-hardened crankshaft. The engine is of shortstroke type and is rumoured to develop some 200 b.h.p. so that the new Lagonda should be of direct interest to competition exponents, although designed to compete with luxury cars in the highest priced classes. Front suspension is independent on the torsion-bar system, both axles are controlled automatically by hydraulic shock-absorbers that are also under the drivers’ control, and the gearbox is separate, has silent pinions, pump lubrication of its plain bearings, external striking mechanism, synchro-mesh on second, third and top gears, and a non-resonant aluminium casing. Final drive is by hypoid bevel and the brakes have Girling operation with conduit-enclosed terminating cables. The short-chassis has a wheelbase of 11 ft., and costs £1,050, or £1,450 with Lagonda saloon bodywork, in which form the V12 weighs about 1 ton 15½ cwt.
Arthur Fox has done much to strengthen the reputation of the 44½-litre by entering it for sports-car races in which it has shown up notably, while in the last ”500,” standard but stripped, the Lagonda gained third place at 113 m.p.h. We tested an open example last May and recorded 10 to 50 m.p.h. in 11½ seconds, 10 to 70 in 20 seconds, covered the half-mile at 95 m.p.h., stopped in 56 feet from 40 m.p.h. and averaged 13 m.p.g.