#7276 Lagonda V12 "Works Team Car" (1939) Louwman Museum
Lagonda V12 "Works Team Car" (1939) at the Louwman Museum in The Hague (Holland)
This Lagonda V12 is the 1939 Le Mans class winner. "I want to take the V12 to Le Mans next year". Those were probably the words of Lagonda chairman Alan Good when he stormed into the office of his technical director Walter Owen Bentley just before Christmas in 1938. Bentley then had six months to build a racing car equipped with the new twelve-cylinder Lagonda engine. "It will be impossible to win. We'll just try to finish the race; we can win next year", he retorted. Bentley altered the V12, increasing maximum power from 180-HP to 206-HP. He reduced the weight by using lighter steel and by drilling holes in the frame, covering them with aluminium discs. The car was given the race-number 5, hence its nickname 'Old Number 5'. Arthur Dobson and Charles Brackenbury made up the team. Dobson 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. A privately owned sister car finished fourth. However, 'Old Number 5' did win its class. The car covered 239 laps, a distance of 3220 kilometres, at an average speed of 133 km/h (about 83 mph). It was officially clocked at 223 km/h (about 138 mph) on the
5 kilometre (about 3 miles) long Mulsanne Straight. The following year, in 1940, war broke out and Le Mans was not run. After the war the Lagondas were sold to racing driver Charles Brackenbury. 'Old Number 5' had a few more owners before it was acquired by the Louwman Museum.
The Louwman Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands, features one of the most impressive private car collections in the world. Several hundred cars are on show to teach you all about car history. The Louwman Museum offers a wide collection that includes everything from antique and classic cars to Formula 1 racing cars and hybrids. Since 1934, two generations of the Louwman family have assembled a unique collection of cars. The present Louwman Museum was designed to display the collection to the public. It was festively opened in 2010. The collection leads you from horse and wagon to the first self-propelled vehicles. It also takes you past the luxury cars from the end of the 19th century, post-war "affordable cars" and the first racing cars. Some of the Louwman Museum's highlights include unique specimens such as the boat-car, the beach-car and the swan-car as well as famous cars such as James Bond's Aston Martin from the film Goldfinger and the customised Cadillac Fleetwood of Elvis Presley.