Fascinating Lagonda V12 Team Car to cross the block

| 25 Jun 2012

One of Britain's most interesting pre-war Le Mans entries is coming up for sale with Bonhams.

The 1939 Lagonda V12 Team Car may have come only fourth, but it was a remarkable achievement with a brilliant back-story.

Unbelievably it was raced to just one spot shy of the podium by a pair of inexperienced young aristocrats, one of whom used his £65,000 inheritance to fund their boy's own adventure.

Lord Selsdon, then just 26, was persuaded to finance the car’s build and entry by 34-year-old Eton and Trinity College Oxford graduate Lord Waleran, who was a keen Lagonda enthusiast.

Neither had raced before and the trip down to Le Mans was their sole test and running-in for the Lagonda.

After its Le Mans debut, Selsdon – who with Luigi Chinetti and driving a Ferrari 166MM, would go on to win the next Le Mans held, in 1949 – raced the Lagonda to second at Brooklands' 1939 August Bank Holiday meeting, the last held at the track.

James Knight, Group Motoring Director at Bonhams, said: "In this day of ultra-professional race outfits, it is hard to look back and imagine a time in history when two friends with some money to spare could get in a sports car and go racing – and at Le Mans of all places. But they and others did."

The Lagonda will be on display at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale on 29 June and will go under the hammer at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale on 15 September. Despite being estimated to make more than £1 million, we reckon that makes it a bargain compared to Bentleys with Le Mans history.