LAGONDA 2-LITRE SPEED MODEL REVIEW

Unusual for an English company, Lagonda was founded by an American, Wilbur Gunn, beginning in Staines as the manufacturer of the Tri-car. From 1907 until the 1920s light cars being the theme, their 11.9hp offered competition for a while to the 11.9hp Morris Cowley. While Morris concentrated on mass production, Lagonda decided to produce top quality cars for the discerning. From the mid 1920s the firm concentrated on sports cars and tourers in the main. A new engine designer, Arthur Davidson, was brought in from Lea Francis when he introduced the 14/60 in 1926, the new 2-litre 4-cylinder sporting engine featuring twin, high mounted camshafts operating inclined valves in hemispherical combustion chambers. Power output of this advanced new design was a respectable 60bhp. This engine was to propel Lagonda production into the 1930s, the Speed Model from 1927 featuring improvements to the chassis, camshaft, con-rods, lubrication and brakes. For the 1929 season a new Low Chassis Lagonda 2-litre Speed Model was introduced, featuring revisions to the frames front end and a higher compression engine fitted with twin carburetors. In 1930 a supercharged version was introduced, the Powerplus blower mounted vertically and in front of the engine, feeding a Cozette carburetor, a stronger crankshaft and a 3-litre axle. 80mph plus was capable under normal aspiration, 90mph with the optional supercharger, and an acceptable 18mpg feeding from a 20 gallon fuel tank. Long distance trials and rallies were of immediate appeal to owners, this model being considered as one of the most usable and enjoyable vintage and PVT sports cars around, its supreme versatility proven time and time again on road, rally and race track events, Lagonda firmly establishing itself at Brooklands, and later of course at Le Mans.

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