Founded in 1899 by American, Wilbur Gunn, Lagonda built its first production cars in 1906 from its small factory in Staines. The British company established itself in 1920s & 30s as a rival to other luxury/sports car producers such as Bentley, Invicta and Railton. Ironically Bentley founder W.O. Bentley went on to design engines for Lagonda following the take-over of his own company by Rolls-Royce.
In 1947 Lagonda was purchased by Yorkshire industrialist and Aston Martin owner David Brown. Legend has it that Sir David brought the company based on the strength of the W.O. designed engines, which would power a new generation of new Aston Martins as well as the revised Lagonda range.
Post-DB Lagonda included the elegant Rapide model of the 60's and the controversial "wedge-shaped" AM V8 Lagonda of the 70/80's. Ford acquired Aston Martin Lagonda in 1987 and by 1990 the company had ceased production of the last AM Lagonda after a troubled run. Since then AML has produced the odd coachbuilt special and two example of its "Vignale" concept car in 1994.
The Lagonda Engineering Company was established in 1899 by an expatriate American Wibur Gunn at Staines, Middlesex, principally to make marine steam engines. Motorcycle production began in 1900 and the first Lagonda tricar was made in 1903. It was of conventional layout for the period with the passenger sitting between the two front wheels, the driver at the rear, with the single-cylinder Lagonda engine and other mechanical elements between the two. A 1.2-litre V-twin version with a three-speed gearbox and chain-drive appeared at the end of 1904 and for 1906 wheel steering replaced the handlebars used previously.
Four-wheeled cars were made for 1909 and following sporting successes with these in Russia most were sold there until the introduction of a unitary construction light car in 1913. Wilbur Gunn died in 1920 but Lagonda continued through various changes of ownership to eventually become part of the Aston Martin group.