1934 Lagonda 4½-Liter M45 Tourer

The body on this car is “reputedly new old stock from the factory” and mounted in the early 1950s. It’s handsome and correct, but still a rebody

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If the best British workmanship and the finest materials appeal to you, and if character, sweet running, and a maximum speed. are qualities that attract you, there is no need to look further; you will find them in this British car.”

So read Lagonda’s sales brochure announcing the M45, a powerful model boasting 4 1/2 liters and regarded as one of the most desirable of all post-vintage thoroughbred cars. Launched in 1933, it was powered by the 6-cylinder, 4,467-cc, OHV engine designed by Henry Meadows, which had been progressively developed since 1928.

Like all of Meadows’s engines, it was robust and, if anything, over-engineered, enabling the more sporting enthusiast in later years to tune it to good effect without serious consequences. At the time of its launch, it was the largest-engined British sports car available; even Bentley was left on the starting grid with its relatively new 3 1/2-Liter model.

Unlike Bentley, which did not produce its own coachwork at this time, the Staines factory offered a range of attractive factory-built bodies, including both open and closed cars, and arguably the most handsome and practical was the four-seat T7 (see note) tourer, although other bespoke coachbuilders such as Vanden Plas, Wylder, and Freestone & Webb were also close to the M45.

“AOL 564” was first registered in late 1934; at that time we understand it carried saloon coachwork. In the early ’50s, it was rebodied with a T8 tourer body, reputedly new old stock from the factory, which had been acquired by the David Brown organization when it acquired Lagonda.

In 1977, the Lagonda 4½-Liter M45 Tourer was acquired by the present owner from past VSCC president Bruce Spollon and has since been both well-used and used well. Only the owner’s advancing years bring the car to market. In 1982, the owner, an artist of some distinction, won a travel scholarship from the Royal Scottish Academy, enabling him to drive his old Lagonda on a tour of France, a mission most successfully accomplished.

In 1991, a 3.3:1 rear axle ratio was fitted to facilitate high-speed touring without stressing the motor. In the late 1980s, the M45 Tourer was entrusted to the late Herb Schofield for a cosmetic facelift and retrim in blue leather, while the engine was dispatched to Lagonda exponent Alan Brown for a major overhaul. Brown later rebuilt the gearbox.

In more recent years, a stainless steel exhaust system was fitted, spring leaves and bushes were refurbished, and the clutch was re-lined. The body has been sensibly modified at the rear, doing away with the opening boot-a well-known weakness of this body design.

In short, here is a car from long-term ownership that has been enthusiastically driven and correctly maintained. “AOL 564” is presented in blue livery with blue leather upholstery, has all period instruments, and is complete with good weather equipment, including hood, sidescreens, and a rear tonneau cover.