[Motor Sport Photograph
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 baeking. 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 stretchmg 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.
Acceleration Chart of the 16-80 h.p. Lagoncla.
In traffic the steering felt rather lowgeared, 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 straighttooth 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.
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 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 cur tains 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 tha n 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.
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