A brief overview of the 'old number five' 1939 Lagonda.
"The legendary no.5, is surely the most famous of all Lagonda V12 exemplars. It is the car that arrived third in absolute and first in its category in the Le Mans in 1939.
Lagonda’s participation in the Le Mans race was almost an improvisation. The no.5, registered as HPL 448 with chassis number 14089 (you can see it on these pages), should have been the only car designed for the competition, but then it was decided to prepare one more, the no.6. On June 7th 1939, at the moment of the official presentation, no.6 was not yet finished and no.5 was being tested after only 5 month of development. The Lagonda team headed by Bentley succeeded in turning a passenger model into a real competition racing car in less then 6 months.
The new engine had horsepower of 206 Hp at 5500 revolutions (declared as 220). This performance increase of 35% was due to the following big series of modifications: use of 4 instead of 2 carburettors SU, new cylinder heads, different intake pipes, new camshafts with new phasing and a higher compression rate. The compression rate has been brought up to 8.8:1 and there were plans to further increase it but the fuel used for the Le Mans excluded this possibility, most certainly because of the problems with the pinking.
Chassis, suspensions, transmission and body have been of course adapted to needs of the race as well. The race was held on June 18th 1939. No.5 arrived third and No.6 fourth.
The no.5 HPL 448, piloted by Charles Brackenbury, has covered 239 laps in an average speed of 83.21 MPH and it wrote the Lagonda V12 name into the history by finishing one of the most demanding car-races ever." Photo and text brought to you by: Chromo Classico