The Big Car Database

Lagonda 3.5 Litre 1933

Taut, fast, precise and elegant, the 3-Litre Special Tourer must rank as one of the most desirable and collectable vintage cars today 

(Geoffrey Seaton, 'Lagonda An Illustrated History 1900 - 1950').

A derivative of the earlier 16/65 model, the Lagonda 3-Litre was unveiled in 1928. Progressively developed in line with its smaller 2-Litre sibling, it made the transition from 'High Chassis' to 'Low Chassis' specification early the following decade. A somewhat conventional ladder-frame design equipped with all-round semi-elliptic leaf-sprung suspension and four-wheel drum brakes, the rakish Lagonda was nevertheless impeccably built. Powered by a 2931cc OHV straight-six engine allied to four-speed manual transmission, the model was a true Thoroughbred (a point reinforced by Lord de Clifford's fine performances aboard a Works 3-litre on the 1932 RAC and Monte Carlo rallies). Priced accordingly, it enjoyed muted sales success but remained in production until 1934.

A similar advance over its predecessor, the 3.5 Litre engine debuted in late 1934. Displacing some 3619cc, it was quoted as developing some 88bhp @ 3,000rpm (though, this figure might be somewhat conservative given that Harry Weslake found Lagonda's test bed to be under reading just a few years later). Benefiting from alloy connecting rods, five rings per cylinder, twin SU carburettors and an Autoklean oil filter, the overhead valve unit was notably refined and torquey. A common modification among Lagonda owners, utilises an Alvis all-synchromesh manual gearbox (arguably the finest transmission of its kind available during the 1930s and still a joy to use today).