Lagonda Rapier 10 HP chassis was introduced in late 1933.
Motor SportJanuary 1933
FAST TOURING DE LUXE FIVE LAGONDA MODELS IN 1933 PROGRAMME.
ENGLISH roads and English taste call for a type of sports car which can only be supplied in the British Isles. It needs to be fast and reliable, not too heavy, and quiet-running with just a suggestion of underlying power. Lastly it must have good lines, achieved without having recourse to eccentric mudguards, chromium plated bonnets, or colour schemes which are only tolerable in a French Riviera setting. Since the introduction of the early model two-litre in 1925, Lagonda cars have been designed with these ideals in view.
Built primarily to suit the British motorist, their success on the Continent has been considerable, helped not a little by their powerful headlamps, good springs and full equipment. The achievements of Lord de Clifford and others in Monte Carlo Rallies and Couper's Coupe des Alpes in the last Alpine Trial, have demonstrated the ability of Lagonda cars to stand up to the most strenuous conditions of travel.
For the coming season two chassis types are listed, the two litre on a 10ft. wheelbase, and the three litre which is nine inches longer. The two litre chassis is of sound and straightforward design, the side members being upswept from the rear of the engine forward to the dumbirons in order to lower the c.g. in front, and swept over the rear axle in the usual way. The chassis is braced by numerous cross members of pressed and tubular formation, the two immediately behind the gear box together with the one in front of it dealing effectively with the twisting stresses which are inseparable from high-speed motoring.
Two engines are available in the two litre chassis, the older 4 cylinder overhead camshaft unit, which can also be obtained in supercharged form, and the 6 cylinder push-rod engine, which is used in the car road-tested in this issue of MOTOR SPORT.
The cylinder dimensions of the four cylinder are 72 mm. by 120 mm., giving a total capacity of 1954c.c. The annual tax is £13. The cylinder block and crankcase are cast in one, and the detachable head carries two overhead valves per cylinder in hemispherical combustion chambers. The sparking plug is placed vertically between the two valves. The chain-driven overhead camshaft operates the valves through rockers, and the clearances are adjusted by rotating the eccentric rocker pins. The head can be detached without upsetting the valve timing.
Inva-Strut split skirt pistons with hollow gudgeon pins and duraluimin connecting rods keep down the reciprocating weight and the five bearing crankshaft is counterbalanced. Coil ignition is employed and the single S.U. carburettor is carried on the near side and supplied by Autovac from the 14 gallon rear tank. A
fan and a water-impellor assist the thermo-syphon cooling system, and the chromium plated radiator shutters, which are thermostatically controlled, keep the engine at its maximum efficiency.
Two gallons of oil are carried in the sump and supplies are forced to the hollow crankshaft and other important points. Suction and pressure filters are incorporated. The crankcase can be
drained by turning an easily-reached valve, and the chassis grease-points are grouped for easy maintenance. The engine needs little modification to take the supercharger, which is mounted vertically between the engine and the crankshaft-driven dynamo. The carburettor is bolted directly on to the blower which is of Zoller manufacture, with various Lagonda modifications. A metal pipe flexibly jointed to the blower carries the mixture to the induction port on the near side of the engine, and a blow-off valve prevents damage in the event of a back-fire. A magneto replaces the coil, and a petrol pump driven from one of the camshafts is carried at the rear of the
engine. Air scoops help to keep the camshafts cool.
The two-litre, supercharged Lagonda was one of the earliest examples of super
charging successfully applied to touring cars, and a road test of one of these models appeared in MOTOR SPORT for October, 1930.
The six-cylinder engine was introduced last summer. The cylinders have bore and stroke of 65 and 100 mm. respectively, giving a total capacity of 1,991 c.c. The tax is £16. The detachable cylinder head carries vertical overhead valves, push-rod
operated adjustment being made by a screw and lock-nut on each rocker. The combustion chambers are machined throughout. The sparking plugs are carried in an inclined position on the offside of the engine. The exhaust gases are led away through a pair of two-branched exhaust pipes.
A special model. The 16.80 h.p. Lagonda chassis fitted with a Vanden Plas
open four-seater body.
The magneto and dynamo are driven in tandem, and a belt-driven fan and water impellor supplement the thermo-syphon cooling. A Petrolift supplies fuel to the carburettors.
The four-bearing crankshaft has a vibration damper at its front end. It is drilled and is lubricated from a pressure pump, and the system embodies the usual pressure and suction filters.
The transmission layout is identical on all the 2 litre models. A single plate fabric-faced clutch mounted on a steel flywheel transmits the drive to a flexibly mounted gear-box which of course is a separate unit. All gearshafts are mounted on ball and roller bearings. The ratios of the four gears differs slightly on the four and the six cylinder models, the second and third in the latter being lower, as the six can run safely up to 5,000 r.p.m. A right-hand gear-lever is standard, and an adjustable clutch stop facilitates quick changes.
The open propellor shaft has two universal joints, and the spiral-bevel final drive is carried in a banjo housing with an aluminium cover plate. The front axle is of H. section special alloy steel, the steering pivots bear on ball-thrust washers while the hubs are carried on adjustable roller bearings.
Semi elliptic springs are fitted back and front. The rear springs are underslung and all are fitted with gaiters.
All cars are equipped with Rudge Whitworth wheels for 31 x 5 Fort Dunlop tyres.
The Lagonda braking system leaves nothing to chance. The foot-brake applies two large front brakes and two sets of shoes at the rear, while the hand-lever operates on an independent set. The rear brakes are cable-operated and are compensated by chain and sprocket gear, and all shafts are carried on self-aligning ball races so that no binding can take place.
Cam-type steering is fitted, and the column is adjustable for rake.
Lagonda equipment is noticeably generous, particularly with regard to the lighting system. All cars are equipped with Lucas P 80 projectors which give a driving light allowing of the highest speeds in safety, while a centre light inclined to the left of the road gives a safe driving light without any possibility of dazzle. The dashboard equipment is complete and the tools are carried in a special container recessed to carry each individual tool.
The chassis layout of the 3 litre cars is similar to that of the smaller models, except of course that the side-members and other parts carrying the load are of heavier construction.
The six-cylinder "Special" engine has a bore and stroke of 72 and 120 mm. and the capacity is 2,931 c.c., with an R.A.C. rating of 19.2. The overhead valves are push-rod operated, and adjustment is made in the usual way by means of screws and lock-nuts on the rockers, and the bearings receive forced lubrication. The detachable head has machined combustion chambers and the plugs are fitted on the off-side.
Two S.U. carburettors, which are protected by Vokes air-cleaners, are carried on the near side, and the petrol pump, which draws its fuel from a 20 gallon tank, is driven from the rear end of the camshaft. This is carried on four bearings and runs submerged in oil. The alloy pistons have hollow gudgeon pins, and the massive crankshaft runs in seven bearings. The dynamo is carried at the front end, and the distributor for the coil ignition system is driven by spiral gearing from the camshaft, and is accessibly mounted on the off-side of the engine.
The lubrication system is similar to
that fitted on the smaller models, and the sump holds 3 gallons of oil.
Clutch, gearbox, and back axle are similar to those models already described, but the top gear ratio is 4.1 as against 4.4. on the smaller cars. The Rudge-Whitworth wheels are fitted with 31 by 5.25 Fort Dunlop tyres.
The most luxurious car of the range is the three litre 21 h.p. "Special Selector," which is fitted with an 8 speed gear-box manufactured under Maybach patents. The engine is similar to that of the "Special" but the cylinder bore has been increased to 75 mm. bringing up the total capacity to 3,181 c.c.
The Maybach design gives two alternate
sets of four gear ratios, a high set, all silent, for effortless touring with a slow running engine, and a low set intended for mountainous districts and other emergency use. A movement of the central gear-lever backwards or forwards determines which set of ratios are in use, ordinary gear-changing being carried out by means of two small levers mounted in the centre of the steering wheel. The centre lever also engages reverse gear, and since the selecting levers control four gears it follows that there are also four reverse ratios.
The ratios are pre-selected by the steering-wheel levers and the gears are actually shifted by vacuum cylinders when the accelerator is slightly released. Overrunning clutches prevent the gears from engaging until their speeds are matched, and changes up can be made almost instantaneous by using the clutch and its powerful stop in the normal way. The normal ratios are :-3.66, 5.27, 6.95 and 10.61 to 1 and the low set 6.0, 8,67, 11.6 and 16.54 to 1.
The handsome lines of the Lagonda bodies are proverbial, and have won their owners numerous awards at Concours d'Elegance in England and abroad. They are made throughout at the Staines factory, and embody various interesting points of design which the makers have found useful for long-distance travel.
In addition to the normal Le Mans type four-seaters, special bodies for the supercharged two litre and three litre cars have a neat container built into the back which holds two suitcases, while the tools are arranged in a sunk tray which swings out when the locker is opened. This feature is also found on the panelled Weymann saloons. A pillarless saloon built under Silent Travel patents can be obtained on the 3 litre chassis.
Two litre 4 and 6 cylinder Speed Tourers £595; Saloon £695.
Two litre Supercharged 4 cylinder, Speed Tourer £775; Weymann Saloon £875.
Three litre Special, Speed Tourer £900; Panelled Weymann Saloon £990.
Three litre Selector Special, Speed Tourer, £975; Panelled Weymann Saloon £1,065; Pillarless Saloon £1000.
Lagonda Cars carry a nine year guarantee renewable every three years after an inspection of the car has been made. This guarantee is transferable when the car is sold.
3-Litre 21 HP chassis with factory-supplied Weymann Sports Saloon bodywork, which in May costs £1065 (chassis price £827). The 3181-cc OHV Six engine produces 78 bhp at 3800 rpm.
Motor SportJanuary 1933
THE 16-80 h.p. LAGONDA
A DE-LUXE CAR WITH EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE.
FINE feathers, we are told, do not necessarily make a fine bird, but the behaviour of the two litre Lagonda fitted with the new "Special Six" engine is in no way inferior to its distinguished appearance. Fitted with a comfortable four-seater body, this car reaches 78 miles per hour without fuss or noise, and its long wearing qualities can be taken for granted. The dropped chassis allows a low-slung body to be fitted without recourse to a raised propellor shaft or to footwells, and the neat design of radiator shutters, the large lamps and the symmetrically disposed dual Lucas horns combine to make its front elevation as satisfying as its side view.
The engine and chassis are described elsewhere in this issue, but a few points of practical interest must be added. Maintenance should be easy, as the magneto, plugs, carburettors and water pump are very accessible. The oil filter for the engine is situated in the midst of the rocker cover, and is of sensible size, and a dipstick on the near side shows the level. An Auto-Kleen oil filter, in which the oil is forced edgewise through closely fitting brass discs, rarely needs attention, since the elements are partly rotated each time the clutch-pedal is fully depressed, removing any foreign matter which might have been separated from the lubricant. The racing filler-caps on radiator and petrol tank are very convenient.
The hydraulic jack, the grease-gun and a force-feed oil can are all carried in clips on the dash, also the fuses and cut-out. A very complete set of tools is carried in a roll permanently fixed to a wooden backing. This slips into place inside the scuttle by the side of the front passenger. The Rudge wheel hammer is carried in a special pocket on the driver's side.
The driving position of the 16-80 could scarcely be bettered. Hand and foot controls could be operated without stretching and the steering column, which was well-raked, brought the wheel right into one's lap. The single-pane windscreen is
hinged at the top and can be swung open in foggy weather. A Bosch wiper with dual arms is mounted below the line of vision and the wipers move through unusually large arcs.
In traffic the steering felt rather low-geared, but proved its worth on fast main roads, where an accurate course could be held for long periods without any effort. After a corner a good caster action helps to centralise the front wheels. The low centre of gravity brought about by the dropped frame is very valuable and fast bends can be taken without slackening of speed or any rolling sensation. Suspension is good at all speeds, and does not call for adjustment of shock-absorbers, partly because of the unusually large section (5.5. inches) of the tyres.
The acceleration of the Lagonda, as the chart reveals, is very satisfactory. The engine can be run safely up to 5,000
but as the average owner would not generally take it above 4,500, we did not go above this figure in obtaining the figures. There was a slight hesitation when the accelerator was first depressed, which was atributed to the bitterly cold day on which the car was tested. To overcome this, the later cars are fitted with warm air intakes to the carburettors, and on a short test of a saloon so fitted, improvement was noted throughout the range of throttle opening. Flexibility has not been sacrificed to high revs., and with ignition retarded the car runs happily down to 10 m.p.h. in traffic.
The engine is mounted on rubber at four points and is fitted with a vibration damper. It runs very smoothly and is free from periods, and the exhaust noise is negligible.
The clutch and gears are light, and a powerful clutch-stop is fitted. When the pedal is fully depressed the change is almost instantaneous, even at high revs. The change from third to top was almost too quick for comfort at low speeds, but this could have been overcome by easing back the clutch stop.
Road speeds at 4,500 are :—second gear 38 m.p.h., third gear 67, while the maximum speed on the level was 78 m.p.h. On favourable gradients we frequently exceeded 80 m.p.h., a practise which is not likely to have any ill effects as the engine is only running at 4,000 r.p.m. at that speed. From the speed on the gears it appears that a better performance might have been possible with a higher second or a lower third, but one cannot deny the pleasure
of taking a main road hill at 65 in third, and in any case better acceleration, on the
rare occasions when it is wanted, could have been achieved by going up to 5,000 r.p.m.
The indirect gears are all of the straight-tooth sliding pinion variety, but make
nothing more than a pleasant hum. Top gear is "inside back" instead of "outside back" as is more usual, but no difficulty was found in getting accustomed to the change.
The brakes were excellent, and the car could be brought to rest in 51 feet from 40 m.p.h. without difficulty. There is no tendency to leave a straight course, nor do the wheels lock when the pedal is violently depressed. in emergency. The hand lever applies separate shoes in the rear drums.
A near side view of the engine.
The ratchet is only engaged when the knob at the top of the lever is depressed, and the pawl frees itself as soon as the lever is pulled back preparatory to releasing it.
The jets in the S.U. carburettors are permanently fixed, and to provide a rich mixture for starting, a Ki-Gass is used. Three strokes on the pump forces petrol through jets into the induction pipe, and an easy start is assured on the coldest of mornings.
The cruising speed of the 16-80 is high, and one finds oneself maintaining a steady 65-70 without effort. The powerful Lucas P80 lamps allow this speed to be maintained at night, and the centrally disposed auxiliary light, which is inclined to the left and which is used instead of the main lamps when dimming is required, gives a fan-shaped beam which cannot interfere with other road-users, and which should be particularly efficacious in fog. The foot-controlled switch is mounted
on the ramp within immediate reach of the driver's left foot.
The workmanship and comfort of the four-seater body are equally good. The panels are smoothly rounded and the cellulose quite glassy in its high finish. Cycle-type mudguards moving with the wheels were fitted to the car we tested, and as they are fastened to a number of points on the brake back-plate, and also to a bracket beyond the steering pivot, they should be quite as secure as the ordinary sports pattern. They afford good protection, and make it easy to inspect the engine without coming into
contact with what is always a muddy part of the car.
The independent front seats have pneumatic cushions and squabs, and give excellent support to legs and back. The body is cut away on the driver's side to
afford elbow room, and there is ample room in the back and front seats. The front ones slide on Leverolls and are instantly adjusted.
The rear of the chassis showing on the left the clutch stop, and on the right, two 6-volt batteries,
one on either side of the propellor shaft.
The back seats are as comfortable as the front ones, and with the front seats
in their normal position, the rear passengers are able to stretch out their legs without the use of foot-wells. A centre arm-rest can be folded back when not required.
The hood and side curtains are proof against drafts and rain. The side curtains are provided with a soft bag which protects them against being scratched, and a flap for the hood light serves the same purpose. The side-curtains are kept in a locker behind the rear seat squab, which is retained in position by a sensible catch. Considerable attention has been paid to preventing drafts in the front compartment, and the space round the pedals is sealed by fabric flaps, also by the thick rubber mat, and laced sleeves surround the gear and brake levers. The
floor boards are bolted down, but are easily removed if the clutch should require attention.
The two litre "Special Six" pulls its full sized body without effort and puts up a performance which a few years ago could not have been obtained at less than double the price. Its engine runs at a
reasonable speed and altogether it is the sort of car the same owner would run for the majority of its nine years of guaranteed life.
In spite of the rapid improvement in the comfort and performance of mass produced cars, the hand made vehicle, such as the 16/80 Lagonda, will always command a ready market among discriminating motorists. It
will give its owner those finer shades and subtleties of control which go to make the enjoyment of real motoring.
#65 T.C. Mann's Lagonda started from John o'Groats and finished 33rd.