THE 44 LITRE LAGONDA A THOROUGHBRED CAR WITH AN OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE
LAGONDA cars have always upheld a reputation for effortless fast touring and the pride of ownership which fine detail work and distinguished coachbuilding can give. The 4i litre model retains these characteristics, but scores considerably over its forebears by its high power-weight ratio. The chassis is no bigger than that of the three litre car, and there is no suggestion of clumsiness, heavy steering or the other drawbacks which often accompany the large engined car. Such were our reflections as we drove along the narrow ways from Staines to Brooklan.ds.
Arriving there it was found that winter repairs were in full swing, and that the stretch from the Fork round the Member’s Banking was” Verboten,” and the Finishing Straight was also receiving attention. This meant that it was only possible to get on the Home Banking at about 45 m.p.h., but we were gratified to find that 80 m.p.h. was reached half way along the Railway Straight and 90 by the end. The timed speed of 91 m.p.h over a half-mile did not therefore represent the car’s maximum speed, as it was doing 96 at the end of this distance, and one would estimate the correct figure as about 95 m.p.h., making the new Lagonda the fastest unsupercharged car we have tested. At 80 rn.p.h. on the track it can be directed with two fingers, and it was perfectly steady at its maximum speed.
The acceleration figures are noticeably good, and bear comparison with cars of transatlantic design which at present set the standard. This in spite of the high third and top gears, which should ensure economy of running and long life.
The application of the brakes, which is assisted. by a Dewandre vacuum servo, is smooth and progressive, but they are inclined to squeal when applied really hard. On a clamp track the rear wheels tended to lock, though this had no effect on the steering, and a stopping distance of 58 feet from 40 m.p.h. was gratifying. On the road the brakes proved themselves thoroughly capable of dealing with the high speeds attained.
The suspension on the track and for general touring was exemplary, but was a little lively on fast bends. This was easily corrected by tightening the shock absorbers by means of the telecontrols, which are placed within easy reach. The steering was light without being lowgeared, and had a good caster action. To enjoy driving a fast car one needs an erect driving position, while all the controls should come to hand without stretching. Both these points have been watched on the 4/ Lagonda, and the only criticisms one can make are that the windscreen is too low for a tall driver, while the angle of the accelerator makes it difficult to depress fully. The first matter will receive attention on later models, while the average owner will not need to
keep the accelerator fully depressed for long periods. A good feature of the driving position is that both front wings can be seen.
The front seats were unusually comfortable, for pneumatic upholstery is used for the squabs as well as the cushions. The rear seats were good too, with a folding centre arm rest and plenty of leg room. The high top gear, quiet running and the good road-holding of the Lagonda inspire confidence from the first, and high speed is effortless. Cruising down the Basingstoke road, the speedometer needle mounted to 70, 80 and even to 95 on reaching Hartford Bridge Plats, although there was a fair amount of traffic about. The highest speed reached was 96 m.p.h., at which the at
speedometer showed 100 m.p.h., and at this speed the car held a perfectly steady course.
The gear-box is an important item on a sports car. Third gear is obtained by completely silent constant-mesh pinions, and the change from top gear is quick and light. A comfortable 80 m.p.h. can be obtained at 4,000 r.p.m., so its use in putting up a high average speed can be imagined. There is a larger interval between third and second, on which the maximum is about 45 m.p.h., but this can be speeded up when required by using the clutch stop. The engine ran smoothly up to 4,000 r.p.m. without flat spot or period. It is difficult to assign any best cruising speed, as the car was equally happy throughout the range. On good roads, reasonably free from traffic, 75 m.p.h., which is only 3,000 r.p.m., did not seem excessive, and in the event of a check a touch of third gear soon restored the lost sped. An average speed of 50 m.p.h.,
which requires hard driving on a less lively car, is a matter of course on the Lagonda. Cruising along at 40 m.p.h., which is a mere 1,600 r.p.m., is no less delightful, while the big engine pulls steadily down to seven or eight m.p.h. if required to do so. The car is economical too, and the petrol consumption worked out at 15f m.p.h., which is especially creditable considering that Brooklands tests, London traffic and really hard driving on the roads made up most of the distance.
Powerful Lucas P.100 headlamps are standard, with a central light which comes on when the others are extinguished. The dipping is controlled by a foot-operated switch. The hood and side-curtains are particularly efficient, and when they are erected, the tourer is virtually a closed car. Each panel of the side curtains is marked with
its position, and the front ones hook on to the screen, which avoids the usual searching draughts.
Turning to technical details, the power-unit of the new Lagonda is a 4f litre Meadows engine. mounted at four points on rubber, which gives 108 horsepower at 3,100 r.p.m. It has push-rod operated overhead valves and afour-bearing crank-shaft with a vibration damper at the front end. Two S.U. carburetters are used, supplied by a duplex electric pump from a 20 gallon rear tank which has a reserve of two gallons. A Ki-Gasa petrol primer makes starting easy on cold mornings. The carburetters are fitted with Vokes air cleaners, and there is no air hiss to mar the quiet running of the engine. Two plugs per cylinder are used, those on the near side receiving their current
receiving their current from a coil. The distributor is mounted vertically on the end of the dynamo. The magneto is -carried on the off-side, and coil or magneto can be cut out by the dashboard switch so that the other can be tested. There is a large oil-filler at the front end of the engine and the sump holds three gallons, while suction and pressure filters are embodied in the lubrication system. The camshaft and auxilaries are chain-driven, with accessible adjusters.
Pump cooling is used, assisted by a fan, and thermostatically-controlled radiator shutters maintain the engine at its most efficient working temperature.
A single dry-plate clutch is used, in conjunction with a readily adjustable dutch brake. The gear-box is independently mounted on rubber bushes. and is connected to the clutch by a short shaft with two universal. joints.
Brief Specification. Engine : Six cylinder. Bore 88.5 mm, Stroke 120 mm. Capacity 4,429 c.c. Tax £30. Push-rod overhead
valves. Two S. U. carburetters. Coil and Magneto ignition.
Gearbox : 4 speeds and reverse. Ratios 3.6, 4.75, 7.35 and 11.49 to I. Constant mesh third gear. Right hand change.
Rear a Ale: Spiral bevel. Semi-Jloating. Suspension : Half Elliptic.
Brakes : Rod operated, VacuumServo assisted.
Dimensions : Wheelbase 10ft. 9in. Track 4f1. 9f in.
Weight : Chassis 27 owl, With four seater body 32f cwt.
Price with four seater open body : 4795.
The four-speed gear-box has a silent third gear, and a right hand change. An open propellor shaft and a spiral bevel back axle complete the transmission lay-out.
The chassis is slightly upswept in front and more so at the rear. Underslung half-elliptic springs are used throughout, with rubber check pads. Two sets of friction shock absorbers are used on each axle, one being the normal triple type, while the others are hydrotelecontrol.
Rods are used to dperate the front and rear brakes and a vacuum servo-motor increases the braking effort. The handlever has a racing type rachet, which disengages when the lever is pulled. The open sports body with its sweeping wings does full justice to the car’s fine performance, and is built at the Staines works. It hal three doors with a
good cut-away on driver’s side. The handSome radiator with its plated shutters has a lever-action cap,likewise the petrol tank. The windscreen opens forward. The ‘hood stows neatly with screw-down fasteners, and the sidecurtains are stowed behind the rear squab. The rear panel hinges down, revealing a large enough to take two or three suit-cases. The reversing light is a useful feature.
There is a fine array of instruments on the facia board, and they are laid out so as to be seen easily. We liked the pull-out dash lamps. and also those mounted under ‘the bonnet to light up the engine. Other pleasant features were the Ashby steering wheel, the smoked glass mirror mounted on the front wing and the spare wheel cover. Apart from the ure of owning a car
ure a distinction, there is a very real satisfaction in driving a powerful yet docile ” sportwagen,” In onlinary use such a car is only giving half its rated horsepower, and is saved from the stresses which shorten the life of engine, transmission and coachwork of large cars fitted with small capacity powerunits. A point of some interest to the busy owner is that -a slight reduction in the power-output inevitable as the date of the last decarbonising grows more distant, will not materially affect the car’s performance. In performance, appearance and equipment the new 4-f litre Lagonda fulfills all the requirements of a sporting car. It is priced very reasonably at £795 and
carries a nine year guarantee. The makers’ address is Lagonda Ltd„ Staines, Middlesex.