Rapier Restoration


Restoration of a 1936 Rapier

The Lagonda Rapier built between 1933 and 1938 was a superb small car with exceptional handling and brakes.

In most cases the bodies were produced by specialist coachbuilders.

Starting with only a wreck and log book we have set out to produce a replica of the Bertelli bodied car.

As far as is known there is only one Rapier which was bodied by Bertelli (there are rumours of a 2nd car but no evidence.


(Above are pictures of the original car, below are pictures of the replica)

John Macdonald owned the original car in 1961 and still believes that it is one of the most elegant of all the bodies fitted to this model. The original car still exists and lives in Australia although it has been altered in many ways. This restoration is trying to achieve, as near as possible, the original shape and fittings.

All the mechanical work has been carried out in our workshops and the bodywork is by J.G and J Henderson of Crooked Oak Consett.

There is no information on the construction of the Bertelli body and only a few photographs of the car dating from the 1950's and later exist. As the original car is in Australia it has not been possible to study the construction in detail but we know the principles and have carefully scaled the drawings from the photographs taking care not to spoil the overall shape which manages to make a long wheelbase (designed for 4 seat body work) look in proportion.



Above: The semi-restored chassis is fitted with the ash frame for the body work.



Back in our works the body frame is removed and the chassis dismantled for painting and final assembly. The overhauled engine & gearbox are fitted and the body frame remounted.



Free-flow stainless steel exhaust is manufactured and fitted and the car returned to Geoff Henderson for panelling. The fuel tank is made, original fittings assembled and the spare wheel bracket fitted.



Doors wings and bonnet tops are made and fitted.



Then the bonnet sides are made, latches fitted and the windscreen framework. The original car had a neat folding windscreen arrangement where the side deflectors doubled as racing screens when the main windscreen was folded down. We are copying this unusual feature.



Next the whole body is removed, painted and remounted on the chassis. The wiring loom is made up and installed, instruments wired etc. Nice new wheels and tyres are fitted and some of the newly painted panels fitted.



Assembly Continues untill the bodywork is complete.



The car is then trimmed in leather, carpets made and fitted and a tonneau cover made in matching colour.



The engine is run and all functions tested.



The car is now complete, MOT tested and ready for the road!