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Lagonda Rapier unearthed after 30 years – to be sold in Harlech collection auction

Lagonda Rapier unearthed after 30 years – to be sold in Harlech collection auction Classic and Performance Car

A Lagonda Rapier 10hp Tourer will headline a number of interesting items from the Harlech Collection, which is being auctioned by Bonhams later this month


Bonhams is to host a sale of the Harlech collection at the end of this month. Items in the sale includes a Douglas 2¾hp Model CW motorcycle and a 1936 Lagonda Rapier 10hp Tourer.
 
These machines were uncovered at the coach house of Glyn Cywarch, the Welsh Baronial seat of the Harlech family. In spite of being unmoved for 30 years, the car appears to have been largely unaffected by the Gwynedd weather and is in good condition. It is one of only 330 models ever made, and retains its exquisite Ranalah coachwork.
 
Lagonda returned to car manufacture in 1934, producing light cars such as the Rapier but this foray lasted only four years. Despite its short life, however, the British marque was highly sought after primarily because of its powerful engine – created by Thomas 'Tim' Ashcroft. The 1100cc motor was billed as 'Britain's finest 1100cc engine.’ And it was this that led to the Rapier becoming the highest-revving car of its time, capable of up to 70mph.
 
Rapiers were supplied without a body, which allowed buyers to select their own coachbuilder. The car originally retailed at £375, but is now estimated to reach something between £20,000 and £25,000 at auction. 
 
But that’s not all they found in the barn…
 
Beneath the decades worth of dust in the Harlech family coach house was a 1925 Douglas 2¾hp Model CW. The Douglas marque – based in Bristol –  began production in 1907 and quickly began to enjoy successes in competitions such as the Junior TT in the Isle of Man, where 2¾hp machines finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. 
 
This success, combined with sound results in the 1914 Six Days Trials, led to the marque being awarded the wartime contract for the supply of military machines. This post-Great War model is an example of their continued success,. This particular model has an engine that still turns over despite being more than 90 years old. The Douglas is offered for re-commissioning or restoration from £3500 to £4500. 
 
This particular sale is already creating quite a sensation, not least because among the many items on offer are   books inscribed by Jackie Kennedy attesting to the family’s close relationship with John F Kennedy. There is also an intimate letter from Mrs Kennedy to Lord Harlech – who served as British Ambassador to the United States during the Cuban missile crisis. In the letter, dated May 1964, she says: ‘I wish I could give you the most precious thing that belonged to him – as precious as your friendship was to him – but nothing tangible could ever express that – so please accept this with all my love. Jackie.’
 
That – combined with the Rapier and Douglas, of course – make for quite an interesting sale!
 
The Bonhams The Contents of Glyn Cywarch – the Property of Lord Harlech sale will take place on Wednesday 29 March at Bonhams, New Bond Street, London. The sale includes more than 400 items from the Welsh family seat, which is currently owned by Jasset Ormsby Gore, 7th Baron Harlech. 

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