Lagonda was established in 1906 by American born Wilbur Gunn in Staines, Middlesex UK and has been owned by Aston Martin since 1947. The Lagonda name was taken from a Shawnee village “Lagonda” in Springfield Ohio where Gunn was born.
Following bankruptcy in 1935, the company was bought by a young solicitor, Alan Good, who lured a disillusioned W.O. Bentley away from Rolls Royce, who had acquired the Bentley Company in 1931. He set about designing Lagonda’s V12 which is widely considered to be his masterpiece. The rejuvenated company showed their new model in 1936 but only officially began producing customer cars in 1938 in four different body styles (coupe, drophead coupe, saloon, and a limousine).
The production specification V12 engine had a single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank with twin S.U. carburetors and produced 180 bhp at 5000rpm. The engine was coupled to a four-speed manual transmission with syncro-mesh on top which also has a mounted change lever positioned in the centre. This combination gives the Lagonda V12 the capability to hit speeds of over 100 mph
British motor racing icon, Earl Howe, purchased a V12 Lagonda which he brought to Cape Town in 1939 as personal transport for the Grosvenor Grand Prix at Pollsmoor. He also covered 101.5 miles over an hour at Brooklands in the Lagonda V12 factory prototype FPK 550 pictured below which was later rebuilt to Lemans specification.