|Product type||Automotive marque|
Lagonda was founded as a company in 1906 in Staines, Middlesex, by an American, Wilbur Gunn (1859–1920), a former opera singer of Scottish ancestry. He named the company after Lagonda Creek near Springfield, Ohio, the town of his birth. He had originally built motorcycles on a small scale in the garden of his house in Staines with reasonable success including a win on the 1905 London—Edinburgh trial. In 1907 he launched his first car, the 20 hp, 6-cylinder Torpedo, which he used to win the Moscow–St. Petersburg trial of 1910. This success produced a healthy order for exports to Russia which continued until 1914. In 1913 Lagonda introduced an advanced small car, the 11.1 with a four-cylinder 1099 cc engine, which by 1914 featured a panhard rod and a rivetted monocoque body and the first ever fly-off handbrake.
The ratchet control button on the end of a fly-off handbrake is designed to work in the opposite way to what is normally accepted. If the lever is lifted or pulled back to the "on" position, on letting go it immediately releases unless the end button is pressed and held in place before letting go of the lever. Once set, the brake is released by lifting the handbrake lever (not pushing the button) in the setting direction (up or back). This mechanism was traditionally fitted to sports cars to facilitate a racing get-away, such as at traffic lights. It can also be used to help the back wheels to slide, without the worry of the ratchet leaving the brake on.
During World War I Lagonda made artillery shells.
Between the wars
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. 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, David Napier and Son of Hammersmith, London. At the other extreme was the near 100 mph, 4.5-litre M45 with Meadows-supplied 6-cylinder 4467-cc engine. An out and out sporting version the M45R Rapide, with tuned M45 engine and a shorter chassis achieved a controversial 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 P. Good, who just outbid Rolls-Royce. He also persuaded W. O. Bentley to leave Rolls-Royce and join Lagonda as designer along with many of his racing department staff. 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.
Along with ex-Rolls Roycers Stuart Tresillian and Charles Sewell, and design genius Frank Feeley, W.O. swallowed his distaste for the primitive conditions of Lagonda's factory, and got to work on the new engine that was to become his masterpiece, the V-12, which was launched in 1937. The 4480-cc engine delivered 180 bhp and was said to be capable of going from 7 to 105 mph in top gear and to rev to 5000 rpm. The car was exhibited at the 1939 New York Motor Show: "The highest price car in the show this year is tagged $8,900. It is a Lagonda, known as the "Rapide" model, imported from England. The power plant is a twelve-cylinder V engine developing 200 horsepower." 
Lagonda at war
Richard Watney was managing director of Lagonda at the start of the Second World War:
"He was Rootes' retail sales manager for the London area until 1935, when he became managing director of Lagonda, Ltd. He is a production expert, who during the war organised and controlled for Lagonda one of the largest British gun production plants, and also plants which produced 50,000 25 lb shells a day. Watney also developed and produced the "Crocodile" and "Wasp" flame-throwing equipment for armoured vehicles."
Aston Martin ownership
In 1947 the company was taken over by David Brown and moved in with Aston Martin, which he had also bought, in Feltham, Middlesex. The old Staines works at Egham Hythe passed to Petters Limited, in which A.P. Good had acquired the controlling interest. Production restarted with the last model from W. O. Bentley, the 1948 2.6-Litre with new chassis featuring fully independent suspension. 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 a four-door saloon based on the contemporary Aston Martin DB4, with an aluminium body by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan and a 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 four-door saloons were produced based on the Aston Martin V8.
One more Lagonda saloon 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.
During 1993–1994, a handful of Lagonda 4-door saloons and shooting brakes were built on the basis of the Aston Martin Virage. They could be ordered with the 5.3 litre V8 (310 HP) or the 6.3 litre V8 (500 HP). Production numbers Lagonda Saloon (8 or 9 cars), Lagonda Shooting Brake 5-doors (1 or 2 cars).
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.
The Rapide name was revived in 2010 as the Aston Martin Rapide saloon.
Aston Martin confirmed the revival of the Lagonda brand on 9 March 2011. The new range will initially consist primarily of high-end SUVs.
|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)|
|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|
|1926–1930||16/65||2389 (later 2692) cc ohv 6-cylinder||250|
|1928–1934||3-litre||2931 cc ohv 6-cylinder||570|
|1932–1934||16/80||1991 cc ohv 6-cylinder Crossley||260|
|1933–1938||Rapier||1087 cc twin ohc 4-cylinder||470 + app 45 by Rapier Cars|
|1935||M45||4467 cc ohv 6-cylinder Meadows||410 + 53 M45R Rapide|
|1935||3.5-litre||3619 cc ohv 6-cylinder||65|
|1936–1937||LG45||4467 cc ohv 6-cylinder Meadows||278 + 25 Rapides|
|1938–1940||LG6||4467 cc ohv 6-cylinder Meadows||85|
|1938–1940||V12||4480 cc single overhead cam V12||189|
|1948–1953||2.6-Litre||2580 cc double ohc 6-cylinder||510|
|1953–1958||3-Litre||2922 cc double ohc 6-cylinder||270|
|1961–1964||Rapide||3995 cc double ohc 6-cylinder||55|
|1976–1989||Aston Martin Lagonda||5340 cc ohc V8||645|
- G.N. Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1.
- "Nachtschicht im Schloss: A report on a concours d'elegance at Schloss Bensberg". Auto Motor u. Sport. Heft 25 2010: Seite 45. 18 November 2010.
- "My kind of car: Lagonda 16/80 1932". Drive (Magazine of the British Automobile Association) 115: page 66. February 1985.
- "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. This is a glacially eroded limestone gorge of much beauty.
- Apral, K. "Lagonda 1930". www.classiccarcatalogue.com. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- The Autocar, 21 June 1935, Pages 1115-1124b.
- The Manchester Guardian, 26 April 1935, Page 12.
- New York Times, 17 October 1939, Page 16.
- The Sydney Morning Herald, June 14, 1946, Page 1.
- The Argus, Melbourne, Victoria, 10 August 1949, Page 5.
- The Manchester Guardian, 11 February 1953, Page 2.
- Aston Martin to Revive Lagonda Nameplate – Automobile.com
- Lavrinc, Damon (4 March 2009). "Geneva 2009: Aston Martin revives Lagonda to questionable effect". Autoblog.com. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
- Baldwin, N. (1994). A-Z of Cars of the 1920s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-53-2.
- G.N. Georgano, G N (1968). The Complete Encyclopaedia of Motor Cars. Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, UK: George Rainbird Limited.
- Sedgwick, M. (1989). A-Z of Cars of the 1930s. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-38-9.
- Sedgwick, M. (1986). A-Z of Cars 1945–1970. Devon, UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7.
- Aston Martin and Lagonda; Frostic, Michael; ISBN 0-901564-24-9
- 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 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
- Lagonda: An Illustrated History 1900–1950; Seaton, Geoffrey; ISBN 1-85223-107-6
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lagonda vehicles.|
|British car industry – companies and marques|
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