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Lagonda
NewLagondaEmblem.jpg
Type Automotive brand
Current owner Aston Martin
Country of origin United Kingdom
Introduced 1906
Lagonda 2-Litre Tourer 1931
Lagonda M45 Saloon
Lagonda 3½-Litre Rapide Tourer 1935
Lagonda M45 Sports Tourer
1937 Lagonda LG45R Rapide.

Lagonda is a British car manufacturer, founded as a company in 1906 in Staines, Middlesex by the American Wilbur Gunn (1859-1920).[1] He named the company after a river near the town of his birth Springfield, Ohio.[2][3] The company was purchased and integrated into Aston Martin in 1947.

Contents

Establishment

Wilbur Gunn had originally built motorcycles on a small scale in the garden of his house in Staines[1] with reasonable success including a win on the 1905 LondonEdinburgh trial. In 1907 he launched his first car, the 20-hp, 6-cylinder Torpedo, which he used to win the MoscowSt. Petersburg trial of 1910.[1] This success produced a healthy order for exports to Russia which continued until 1914. In the pre-war period Lagonda also made an advanced small car, the 11.1 with a four-cylinder 1000 cc engine, which featured an anti-roll bar and a rivetted monocoque body and the first ever fly-off handbrake.

During World War I Lagonda made artillery shells.[1]

After the end of the war the 11.1 continued with a larger 1400-cc engine and standard electric lighting as the 11.9 until 1923 and the updated 12 until 1926. Following Wilbur Gunn's death in 1920, three existing directors headed by Colin Parbury took charge.[1] The first of the company's sports models was launched in 1925 as the 14/60 with a twin-cam 1954-cc 4-cylinder engine and hemispherical combustion chambers. The car was designed by Arthur Davidson who had come from Lea-Francis. A higher output engine came in 1927 with the 2-litre Speed Model which could be had supercharged in 1930. A lengthened chassis version, the 16/65, with 6-cylinder 2.4-litre engine, was available from 1926 to 1930. The final car of the 1920s was the 3-litre using a 2931-cc 6-cylinder engine. This continued until 1933 when the engine grew to 3181 cc and was also available with a complex 8-speed Maybach transmission as the Selector Special.

A new model for 1933 was the 16-80 using a 2-litre Crossley engine with pre-selector gearbox from 1934. A new small car, the Rapier came along in 1934 with 1104-cc engine and pre-selector gearbox. This lasted until 1935 but more were made until 1938 by a separate company, Rapier Cars of Hammersmith, London. At the other extreme was the near 100-mph, 4.5-litre M45 with Meadows 6-cylinder 4467-cc engine. An out and out sporting version the M45R Rapide, with tuned M45 engine and a shorter chassis led to a Le Mans victory in 1935. Also in 1935 the 3-litre grew to a 3.5-litre.

All was not well financially and the receiver was called in 1935 but the company was bought by Alan Good, who just outbid Rolls-Royce.[1] He also persuaded W. O. Bentley to leave Rolls-Royce and join Lagonda as designer along with many of his racing dept staff.[1] The 4.5-litre range now became the LG45 with lower but heavier bodies and also available in LG45R Rapide form. The LG45 came in 3 versions known as Sanction 1,2 and 3 each with more Bentley touches to the engine. In 1938 the LG6 with independent front suspension by torsion bar and hydraulic brakes came in.

Bentley's masterpiece the V12 was launched in 1937. The 4480-cc engine delivered 180bhp and was said to be capable of going from 7 to 105 mph in top gear and to rev to 5000 rpm.

Aston Martin

In 1947 the company was taken over by David Brown and the company moved in with Aston Martin, which he had also bought, in Feltham, Middlesex. Production restarted with the last model from W. O. Bentley, the 1948 2.6-Litre with new chassis featuring fully independent supension. Its new 2580 cc twin overhead cam straight 6 became the basis for the Aston Martin engines of the 1950s. The engine grew to 3 litres in 1953 and continued to be available until 1958.

Many thought that the marque had disappeared but in 1961 the Rapide name was resurrected with aluminium body by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan and 3995 cc engine capable of taking the car to 125 mph. By this time, Aston Martin-Lagonda as it now was, had moved to Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire. The Rapide lasted until 1965.

Between 1974 and 1976, seven Lagonda saloons were produced on the basis of the Aston Martin V8.

One more car was to appear with the large and futuristic Aston Martin Lagonda of 1976 designed by William Towns. This low, rather square, wedge shaped car was built on Aston Martin V8 components and was available, at least in theory, until 1989.

Aston Martin produced a concept car called the Lagonda Vignale at the 1993 Geneva motor show.

In 1994, a handful of Lagonda 4-door saloons and shooting brakes were built on the basis of the Aston Martin Virage. Although these are the most recent cars to wear a Lagonda badge, the Rapide name is expected to be revived for 2009 as the Aston Martin Rapide saloon.

Revival

Aston Martin said on 1 September 2008, as reported by Automotive News Europe that it will relaunch its Lagonda brand to help it expand into new markets such as luxury sedans and celebrate Lagonda's centennial anniversary in 2009.

"The Lagonda brand would allow us to develop cars which can have a different character than a sports car," said CEO Ulrich Bez in a statement. "Lagonda will have its own niche with luxurious and truly versatile products suitable for both existing and emerging markets".

"Lagonda models would be vehicles that could be used all year round in markets such as Russia where specialized sports cars such as Aston Martins could only be used for three or four months each year", said Aston Martin spokeswoman Janette Green.

Lagonda concept

It is a 4WD, 4-seat SUV that commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first Lagonda car. It includes a V12 engine and 22-inch wheels.

The car was unveiled in 2009 Geneva Motor Show.[4]

Models

Year Type Engine Production
1906-1913 20 3052 cc side valve 4 cylinder
1911-1913 30 4578 cc side valve 4 cylinder
1913-1921 11 1099 cc inlet over exhaust valve 4 cylinder 6000(inc 11.9 and 12)[5]
1920-1923 11.9 1421 cc inlet over exhaust valve 4 cylinder 6000(inc 11 and 12)
1923-1926 12 and 12/24 1421 cc inlet over exhaust valve 4 cylinder 6000 (inc 11 and 11.9)
1925-1933 14/60 and 2 litre Speed 1954 cc ohv 4 cylinder 1440[5]
1926-1930 16/65 2389 (later 2692) cc ohv 6 cylinder 250[5]
1928-1934 3 litre 2931 cc ohv 6 cylinder 570[5]
1932-1934 16/80 1991 cc ohv 6 cylinder Crossley 260[6]
1933-1938 Rapier 1087 cc twin ohc 4 cylinder 470 + app 45 by Rapier Cars[7]
1926-1930 M45 4467 cc ohv 6 cylinder Meadows 410 + 53 M45R Rapide[7]
1935 3.5 litre 3619 cc ohv 6 cylinder 65[7]
1936-1937 LG45 4467 cc ohv 6 cylinder Meadows 278 + 25 Rapides[7]
1938-1940 LG6 4467 cc ohv 6 cylinder Meadows 85[7]
1938-1940 V12 4480 cc single overhead cam V12 189[7]
1948-1953 2.6-Litre 2580 cc double ohc 6 cylinder 510[8]
1953-1958 3-Litre 2922 cc double ohc 6 cylinder 270[8]
1961-1965 Rapide 3995 cc double ohc 6 cylinder 55[8]
1976-1989 Aston Martin Lagonda 5340 cc ohc V8 645

Further reading

  • Aston Martin and Lagonda; Frostic, Michael; ISBN 0-901564-24-9
  • Lagonda Gold Portfolio 1919-1964; ISBN 1-85520-155-0 : Collection of reprints of articles from early motoring magazines
  • Lagonda Heritage; Bird, Richard; ISBN 1-85532-363-X : Collection of colour photographs
  • Images of Motoring Lagonda 1899-1999; Davey, Arnold; ISBN 0-7524-1713-4 : A short history of the company and marque by the UK Lagonda club historian
  • Lagonda: An Illustrated History 1900-1950; Seaton, Geoffrey; ISBN 1-85223-107-6

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1. 
  2. ^ "My kind of car: Laginda 16/80 1932". Drive (Magazine of the British Automobile Association) vol 115: page 66. date February 1985. 
  3. ^ "British Tradition from an American". The World of Automobiles. 10. Columbia House. 1974. p. 1129.  Lagonda is the French form of the Native American name for Buck Creek near Springfield.
  4. ^ Geneva 2009: Aston Martin revives Lagonda to questionable effect
  5. ^ a b c d Baldwin, N. (1994). A-Z of Cars of the 1920s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-53-2. 
  6. ^ Georgano, G N (1968). The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motor Cars. Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, UK: Georg4e Rainbird Limited. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Sedgwick, M. (1989). A-Z of Cars of the 1930s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-38-9. 
  8. ^ a b c Sedgwick, M. (1986). A-Z of Cars 1945-1970. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. 







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