One of just seventeen examples of W.O. Bentley’s magnum opus, and one of the finest sporting automobiles of the late 1930s. Numbers-matching engine, modified in period by Lagonda Works Service to Sanction II specification with Le Mans 4-carb intake. Superb presentation and a proven concours competitor.
The stunning V12 Rapide on offer is chassis number 14068, believed to be one of the earliest, if not the earliest, Lagonda Rapide drophead coupe produced. With well-documented history from new, it presents in beautiful condition thanks to a superb specialist restoration and years of care by passionate enthusiasts. The extensive history file reveals the first owner of this Rapide was Alfred James “Jimmie” McAlpine of the influential McAlpine family construction business in Britain. Jimmie was a noted sportsman and petrolhead, and he maintained an impressive collection of cars through the years, including a V12 Hispano-Suiza and numerous Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. Records show he specified “special mushroom” paint (a dark, greenish-gray) over a green hide interior. It seems Mr. McAlpine drove the car with purpose, as service records indicate it returned to the works service department on November 22nd, 1929, following a shunt. While undergoing repairs, McAlpine took the opportunity to request a thorough service and upgrade to the latest specification. Updates included a new water pump, late-type distributors with revised firing order, modified kingpins, and new springs to bring the car up to Sanction II specification. It is believed that it was around this time when it received the most notable modification – the addition of the Le Mans-style intake manifold and quartet of SU DAL carburetors. Subsequent service records through 1941 mention tuning and adjusting four carbs, leaving little doubt that this desirable modification took place in the first owner’s stewardship. The original, numbers-matching engine remains with the car to this day.