The Lagonda V12. A behemoth vehicle with the highest of standards that none other than European royalty had as their preference of automobiles. The Lagonda name was the derivation or amalgamation by a transplanted American in Britain of both an American Indian word combined with something relating to Britain and the British Isles. Lagonda’s vee-12 car was designed by none other than W.O. Bentley, no less. No automobile needs any further recommendation.

Yet despite a cryptic name this one car model more than earned its serious and deserved reputation. None other than W. O. Bentley ( the namesake of the later Bentley luxury cars) ,first job after joining Lagonda was to refine and further develop the then current and existing six cylinder 4 ½ liter car. However once this was achieved he also designed a totally magnificent V12 engine – apart from Rolls-Royce’s Phantom III unit. This all told had the distinction of being the only such 1930’s British design – and an independent sprung chassis to suit it.

The famed Lagonda V12 engine itself had actually been shown to the auto trades - being shown, displayed and demonstrated at a 1936 prestigious automobile show, the motor being attached to and fitted to an existing LG45 Lagonda frame. However the Lagonda V12, due to technical and production workup and testing issues, did not go into production until the end of 1937. It is interesting to note that in those times manufacturers developed and made cars. Now the biggest issue in 2011 is pleasing government officials and various governmental auto industry standards, rules and “guidelines”.

Auto industry innovations and development was not hindered by bureaucratic red tape as we experience it today in 2011.

Yet the engine itself was everything one would of expected at that time from Mr. Bentley even with limitations of the then most current and up to date automotive technology and technologies .With the V12 engine specially equipped Lagondas with the V12 (as opposed to the standard V6 engines), finished ranking 3rd and 4th overall at the Le Mans in 1939.

The design was at once advanced and behind the time. Each cylinder bank had single-over-head camshaft valve gear, which was definitely ahead of the times. However the limiting factor was the four bearing camshaft and rather simple and rudimentary breathing setup and arrangements.

The maximum speed of a V12 was at least a more than respectable 100 miles per hour.

Yet others from the factory were burdened with “elephantine” levels of intricate coachwork which added great weight and hampered acceleration severely.

Yet if the Lagonda made it through the end of 1930’s great economic depression itself why did the car company, the V12 engine or both continue on?

It was the Second World War which seems to have the death knell for the Lagonda and its advanced V12 power plant. The engine found naval use in the use in the British navy. However the jigs and tool were later destroyed.

This magnificent and towering V12 automobile was never built again. These Lagonda’s according to many automotive aficionados were at the top of W.O. Bentley’s finest automobile products. The only current references you will find to the moniker are that of the "Aston Martin Lagonda" which were a saloon car manufactured by Aston Martin from 1974 to 1990. Its not that this vehicle bears any resemblance or mechanics to the Lagonda or Lagonda V12s themselves. The name was chosen and awarded out of deference to the Lagonda marquee which Aston Martin had actually purchased as a trademark and intellectual property after World War 2 in 1947.

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