A-Z of Marques: Lagonda

Tuesday 02 March 2004 01:00

The marque: An aristocratic name exits in techno overload.

The history: Lagonda, Ohio, is where company founder Wilbur Gunn lived before emigrating to Britain to build motorcycles. Cars followed in 1906.

The 1930s saw the little Rapier and the big 4.5-litre, then one Alan Good rescued the company from the clutches of Rolls-Royce which had already absorbed Bentley.

WO Bentley himself joined Lagonda and oversaw a new 4.5-litre V12, and after World War Two he came up with a new six-cylinder engine. This ended up in Aston Martins, because tractor magnate David Brown now owned both Aston Martin and Lagonda.

Lagondas faded out in 1958, to reappear in 1961 as the new Rapide saloon. That died in 1964; five years later a Lagonda-badged, four-door version of the Aston Martin V8 emerged. Then came a low, angular, shovel-nose saloon with a high-tech interior of hopeless optimism. It had little TV screens, and endless problems. And that was that: the last Lagonda.

Defining model: That thing with the TV screens.

They say: Just waiting for the computers to re-boot.

We say: To the future and back, with a bump.

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