|Date in Production||1910|
|How many exist today?|
|Bore X Stroke|
Wilbur Gunn had developed ideas for an export market in Russia as it had no motor industry of its own but a small, very rich, aristocratic customer base. A 1909 reliability trial from St Petersburg to Riga. Entrants had to be standard production models and Wilbur Gunn proposed to enter a 16-18 HP tourer or “torpedo” as he called it. He set up a Russian agent, a man called Thornton, to be ready to sell the cars once the 2000 mile rally had generated the expected publicity.
After the run there was no clear winner so a tie-breaker was announced; a special stage from Moscow to St Petersburg (about 400 miles) in one day. Wilbur Gunn was the only entrant to take this on, won it in less than 12 hours.
The publicity worked and for the next couple of years a substantial part of the production went to Russia and testimonial letters came back when St Petersburg residents made painless trips to Venice and back without trouble.
After this success Lagonda restarted making its own engines. These were to be installed in a slightly beefier 16/18 chassis with stronger axles which the Russian adventure had shown were needed. There was to be a 20HP four cylinder and a 30 HP six cylinder. In each case the side-valve cylinders were cast in pairs on a common crankcase and had dimensions of 90 x 120 mm, the maximum Lagonda’s machinery could accommodate. Capacities were 3054 cc and 4580cc respectively.
Although production began in late 1910, all these cars went to Russia and it wasn’t until October 1911 that the UK motoring press announced the new 20 HP as a new model. Lagonda cars were now no longer in the ‘cheap’ range as the smallest 20 HP was £485 and the 30 HP limousine was £750. In each case an extra £40 was needed to install electric lights.