1955 LAGONDA 3 Litre Sports Saloon

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1955 LAGONDA 3 Litre Sports Saloon


Named after a native American (Shawnee) settlement in Ohio, Lagonda was founded in Staines, Middlesex, by Wilbur Gunn - a former opera singer born in Springfield, Ohio, USA in 1859.

Tractor manufacturer David Brown bought Lagonda in 1947, merging it with his other recent acquisition, Aston Martin, and basing the combined operation at Feltham.

Post-war Lagonda production was kick-started using a new straight-6 engine designed by W. O. Bentley. In various guises, this engine would go on to power Lagondas and several generations of Aston Martins until superceded by Tadek Marek’s legendary V8.

The 2.6-litre Lagonda was initially available as a 4-door saloon and, from 1949 onwards, as 2-door drophead coupé. The drophead was bodied by coachbuilders Tickford, who would be brought into the Aston Martin fold in 1955.

An advanced design employing a cruciform-braced chassis and all-round independent suspension, the Lagonda came with leather upholstery, an abundance of walnut veneers and a general level of quality that put it on a par with the very best in the luxury car class.

In 1953 the engine was enlarged to 3.0-litres.

A contemporary Lagonda advertisement read: “Beauty of line, power and grace, superlative comfort and proud dignity are embodied in the three litre Lagonda Tickford Saloon and Drophead Coupe.”

The newly enlarged engine now produced 140bhp, an output good enough for a top speed in excess of 100mph despite the gain in weight over its 2.6-litre predecessor.

Expensive to produce and necessarily exclusive, these Lagondas did not sell as well as their manufacturer had hoped, although high-profile owners included HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Stirling Moss and Peter Ustinov, to name but three.

Production of these luxurious vehicles continued until 1958.

The Vehicle

This motor car is being sold as part of an overseas collection. It has been imported under the Bonhams temporary admission customs bond and is therefore subject to the lower rate 5% import tax if the car is to remain in the UK & purchased by a private individual. The 5% is calculated on the final selling price. For example, if the car sells for £14,000, then £700 is added, making the total amount payable of £14,700.

The winning bidder will receive a receipt for the final hammer value, and proof that HMRC fees are paid. If the car is subsequently exported abroad within 30 days then these fees are refundable.

Lastly, there will be a nominal administration fee of £250 for processing the NOVA application, and payable direct to the shipping company. A completed and processed NOVA will provide you formal proof that all duties & taxes are paid in UK and thus allow you to register the vehicle with the DVLA

In common with the majority of cars in this collection, this vehicle has been on static display for a number of years and there is no history available beyond that displayed in our photography section.

We have not started or driven the car so cannot vouch for its mechanical viability or functionality. It will require recommissioning prior to road use and is sold ‘as seen’.

It is available for view and inspection at our HQ near Abingdon and we will be delighted to show the car to you and/or your appointed engineer.

First registered on 13.5.55, this Tickford-bodied Lagonda 3-litre was purchased by the current vendor at a 2012 Bonhams auction from a seller who had owned the car since the early 1970s. The car had been used sparingly until 1996, after which time it was stored.

We know from an old road tax document that the car had black paintwork in 1970.

This car has been on static display since 2012.

In 1993 its odometer read 16,842 miles.

In 1996, it read 17,051.

Today, the odometer shows 17,185 miles.

The general cosmetic state of the car puts it into the ‘project’ category.

That said, there appears to be a good deal of integrity to the bodywork and, although there is rust in evidence underneath, we’re of the opinion that it is mainly superficial rather than structural. You will, of course, want to reach your own conclusion.

Although we haven’t been able to start or drive this car, we have managed to turn the engine by hand and can therefore attest that it isn’t seized.

On the Outside

Light grey in colour, the paintwork is something of a curate’s egg – at best, it’s good in parts.

Where it’s not good it is, variously, dull, discoloured, cracked, split, chipped or crazed.

The rear of the car, in particular, looks as if it was at some point being prepared for some restoration work, long since abandoned.

The bodywork, though, is relatively free of dinks, dents and folds, with the exception of a crease to the metalwork on the o/s/r panel just behind the door.

There are also some significant cracks to the paintwork below the windscreen, possibly as a consequence of underlying corrosion.

The rear bumper and light clusters are not in place. Together with sundry other bits of the car, including engine parts, they are in the boot.

We cannot vouch for the completeness, or otherwise, of the collection of parts in the boot.

The remaining chrome work is tarnished around the windows and pitted and foxed in other places - but it could, we think, be refreshed.

The rubber trim is perished and cracked throughout.

On the Inside

The interior is a little tired, dusty and exhausted. Again, though, it’s not beyond hope and has sufficient integrity to make cosmetic resurrection a realistic aim.

The seats, though intact, are heavily creased and the driver’s seat has a tear in it and cracks and scuffing at the top of the backrest.

The carpets have seen better days and are more than a little moth-eaten in places.

The door cards are showing signs of wear and tear and have cracks to the veneer cappings. So, too, does the dashboard.

We can’t make any claims about the functionality of switches, knobs, levers, toggles, buttons, dials or other electrics as we haven’t been able to start the vehicle.

The aluminium kick plates, particularly at the rear, are discoloured and spotted with corrosion.

The boot is in the same general state of faded grandeur as the rest of the car and is currently filled with boxes of parts.


There is some rust in evidence in various areas underneath the car. The degree to which this extends beyond the merely superficial is something you will want to determine for yourself.

The engine bay is clean and dry and everything appears to be in its right and proper place.

History Highlights

The car doesn’t come with a service history or any record of work done.

Currently, this car has neither an MoT certificate nor a V5.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

We think this is an honest and eminently salvageable example of what was once a luxurious, rare, hand-built saloon from one of the world’s most prestigious manufacturers of exceptional vehicles.

Although the years have not been overly kind to it, we think that beneath the superficial shabbiness there is a magnificent 1955 Lagonda 3-litre salon just waiting for a new lease of life.

Provided, of course, that the car’s engine and mechanicals are as fundamentally sound as the rest of it.

We’re confident to offer this car for auction with an estimate of £14,000 - £20,000, plus Bonhams bond payment and £250 NOVA fee.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 17186
  • Chassis Number: LB/290/1/115
  • Engine: 2922
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Grey
  • Interior: Brown Leather
  • Estimated Price: £14,000 - £20,000

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