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Chassis no. 14089 - Engine no. 14089
Coachbuilder: Lagonda
Categories: E- Historic event cars; F- Cars owned by the famous; G- Team cars; H- Works cars; L- Limited edition cars (no. 2 remaining of no. 2 manufactured, no. 1st built)
Owner: Louwman Museum (Netherlands)
The legendary “Old Number 5” is the most famous of all Lagonda V12s. It arrived third overall in the Le Mans in 1939.
Just before Christmas 1938, barely six months before Le Mans, Lagonda chairman Alan Good decided to run a works-entered V12 car in the 1939 24-Hours Race. His Technical Director, W.O. Bentley, already busy with Good's entry for the 1939 Monte Carlo Rally and the development of an electric gear change, was far from pleased with the idea. However, he agreed to develop the Le Mans car, provided that the aim should simply be to finish the 24-Hour race in 1939, with a view to winning it in 1940. As early as March 1939, a Le Mans V12 engine with four carburettors was being tested, the works team of Arthur Dobson and Charles Brackenbury had been chosen and work had begun on a second car for Lord Selsdon and Lord Waleran. The Le Mans Lagonda V12s had lightweight chassis frames made from thinner gauge steel with large holes cut in strategic places and covered with aluminium discs. Elektron - much lighter than aluminium - was used for the lower crankcase, sump, gearbox and brake backplates instead of the standard aluminium castings. The ultra-light frameless aluminium bodywork was retained directly on the chassis by quick-release fasteners. The body, produced directly by Lagonda, was designed by Frank Feeley, who later projected some of the more significant Aston Martin models of the 50’s. Feeley made an extraordinary job in balancing the classical elements and the originality. The strongly curved lines and the full-bodied volume of single elements does not harm the general elegance.

The time schedule was so tight that the first car only managed a few test laps round Brooklands before setting off for Le Mans, while the two Lords had to use the
journey to Le Mans to run in and test their car. The cars were race-numbered 5 and 6.
Lagonda V12 No 5 (known ever after as "Old Number 5") started well but was outclassed by the French Bugattis and Delages. Around four o’clock in the morning the Lagonda was in sixth position, but eventually advanced to third position behind Gerard/Monneret’s Delage and Wimille/Veyron’s Bugatti; the Lagonda held that position until the finish. ‘Old Number 5’ did win its class. The car covered 239 laps - equivalent to a distance of 3229 km (2018 miles) - at an average speed of 133km/h (83.21 mph. It was officially clocked at 223 km/h on the Mulsanne Straight. The noble Lords in No 6 were a mere 10 km (6.25 miles) behind in fourth place. It was an amazing feat for cars that had only been entered in the hope of finishing. This works-entered 1939 Le Mans V12 was finally road registered 'GRK 77' in 1948 and was chassis serial '14089', Lord Selsdon's sister car was registered pre-war as 'HPL 449' and is chassis serial '14090'.
The following year, in 1940, war broke out and Le Mans was not run. After the war the cars were sold to Charles Brackenbury. This particular car had a few more owners before it was acquired by the Louwman Museum. 
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documents & certificates
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history - owners & events
1939 - 1946
owner: Lagonda Ltd | United Kingdom
19th June 1939
24H Du Mans
| Le Mans | France
driver: Charles Brackenbury
co-driver: Arthur Dobson
entry number: 5
August 1939
Brooklands August Bank Holiday
| Brooklands | United Kingdom
driver: Charles Brackenbury
entry number: 5
owner: Charles Brackenbury | United Kingdom
1976 - 1990
owner: John Collard Rees |
1990 - 2nd September 2002
owner: Bernd Holthusen | Netherlands
1st May 1997 - 4th May 1997
Mille Miglia
| Brescia - Roma - Brescia | Italy
entry number: 127
6th May 1999 - 9th May 1999
Mille Miglia
| Brescia - Roma - Brescia | Italy
entry number: 108
6th September 2002
The Holthusen Collection of important Lagonda Motors Cars
| Goodwood | United Kingdom
17th May 2007 - 20th May 2007
Mille Miglia
| Brescia - Roma - Brescia | Italy
driver: Bernd Hulshoff
co-driver: J. Hulshoff
entry number: 90

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