In 1928, Lagonda unveiled their latest edition to the existing line up; the new 3 litre model, which was effectively a derivative of the earlier 16/65. The new model’s styling was true to a type already proven, and a good following had grown for the 2 litre car.
To my mind, the 3 litre six cylinder engine was Lagonda’s sweet spot of the vintage era, sadly like many for their contemporise, Lagonda’s late 1930’s car’s lost the simplified purity as the more sweeping art-deco style of the late 1930’s meant much heavier coachwork.
The early history of VN604 remains unknown at the point of writing. However on speaking with the vendor VN604 was clearly saved from extinction. This is a testament to his passion, enthusiasm, along with his mechanical knowledge of the Lagonda marque. I think I’m correcting in stating, that if the vender hadn’t come across VN604 chassis back in the early 1990’s, and then hadn’t pursued the owner to sell what remained of the VN604, she simply wouldn’t exist today, let alone stand before us in such splendour. I understand that there are only 66 surviving examples of Lagonda 3 litre. We as enthusiast must tip our hats to the dedication and hard work bestowed on VN604 a quarter of a century ago as without this, I’m certain only 65 would exist.
Chassis number Z9007 suggests that before us is one of the oldest surviving examples of the Lagonda 3 litre range, dating back to 1930. Leaving the Staines factory as an early low chassis model with chrome radiator. When discovered resting in a field in the 1990’s the original side rails were deemed irretrievable and replacements were undoubtedly necessary. These replacements were made to the exacting measurements of the originals, which were still useable as patterns. The original cross members had endured a little better and so were incorporated within the new rails. The vendor had already resurrected various other Lagonda in earlier years, and this 3 litre was to be his Lagonda final swansong project.
Some 17000 miles and 25 years later the car is really coming into her own. She has a level of interior patina that many try to replicate, and I just love her non-precious condition - she just ask to be use at every occasion. This all a testament to the quality of the leatherwork undertaken by the late Anne Taylorwhich still shines through today.
On arrival at the vendor’s workshop I was warmly welcomed with a cup of Yorkshire tea, and we stepped past the other cars and even a fire engine in the large and varied collection finally arriving at the back of the main workshop and service area. At this point dust sheets were swept off and I was formally introduced to the lady herself VN604. Over the previous few days I had spent some time studying photos provided on email, and I was delighted to see that she was looking just as good in the flesh. After a walk round and a good chat the vendor left me, the intervening minutes were spent getting to know VN604 more intimately. It was soon apparent that a huge level of restoration had been undertaken, and although this had been done a good while ago. VN604 has been lovingly maintained and enjoyed during the intervening years. Going through the old MOT’s that had been made available to me (I do miss MOT’s) confirmed the mileage covered since the resurrection of VN604 in the 1990’s amount to just fewer than 17,000.
I was then re-joined by the vendor where I took my last mouthful of tea before heading out on the inevitable test drive. Hand on heart I had never had the pleasure of driving a 3 litre Lagonda, however I do remember riding in the back of one, on Preston District Car Club rallies when still wearing shorts. The driving experience was as good as my memories of all those years ago. A short footed chassis and brakes mated to a smooth 3 litre 6 cylinder really makes for effortless driving, with bags of torque. This means you could almost stay in top all day long, a comfortable cruising speed is 65-70+ mph, at around 2500 rpm. However this could be pushed if needed to make that next long lunch stop.
For me the enjoyment of these cars isn’t purely the speed; yes it good to move a modern traffic without feeling you’re in the way (even over taking a few things!) But for me, its about drinking in the countryside as you head to your next destination, such trips as these hold some of my best proper car memories. Like the conversation the fuel station with someone in his go-faster roller skate or the retired gent ‘who’s dad use to own one of these……’ Or that conversation with the pedestrian walking along the footpath went you wait for the red light to go out. Custodianship of these cars create memories for you which are priceless, and so are the smiles you put on the faces of the people you past along the way.
Viewing highly recommended and available by prior appointment at our Foxfields showroom.
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