The story of this car is the automotive history of four men in England, whose actions created the stuff well suited for a movie:
Wilbur Gunn, a Scottish-American and former opera singer, who emigrated to England and became a British citizen in 1891. He worked as a speedboat and motorcycle engineer in Staines, Surrey, UK, where he founded the Lagonda Company in 1906. He named the company after the Shawnee name of a creek close to Springfield, Ohio, where he was born.
Gunn had originally built motorcycles on a small scale in the back of his house with reasonable success, including a win on the 1905 London-Edinburgh race. In 1907 he built his first car, the 20hp, 6-cylinder Torpedo, with which he won the Moscow-St. Petersburg race of 1910.
After Gunn’s death in 1920, Lagonda continued to develop cars with groundbreaking technologies, but had continuous financial problems.
Alan Good, an Irish entrepreneur, outbid Rolls-Royce in 1935 to buy the assets of the bankrupt Lagonda Company, which was the beginning of a fierce competition.
Walter Owen Bentley found himself in a difficult situation after Rolls-Royce bought his company. They forced him to stay on for three years, but kept him away from the engineering department and pushed Rolls-Royce engines into Bentley cars.
“W.O.,” very frustrated, joined Lagonda in 1935, in spite of their small-scale business facilities. He developed a 4.5-liter V12 engine that consequently placed Lagonda in direct competition with Rolls-Royce and Daimler. The car debuted in 1937 and its race version won respectable results at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939.
Towards the end of World War II, W.O. developed a new 2.6-liter inline six-cylinder for a smaller car to position Lagonda between Rover and Rolls-Royce. Alan Good had started the advertisement for the new car already in 1944 by promoting the Bentley connection with the new Lagonda. Since Rolls-Royce owned rights to the Bentley name, they sued Lagonda successfully, which ruined Alan Good.
David Brown, a British entrepreneur, saw in 1947 a classified advertisement in The Times offering for sale a “High Class Motor Business.” Brown acquired it — Aston Martin — for £20,500, but discovered that they had only old engines and chassis constructions. When Lagonda became for sale in 1948, he bought it for £52,500 to get his hands on the Bentley engine. Lagonda moved in with Aston Martin in Feltham, Middlesex, and production resumed with the latest prototype from W.O., the 1948 DB (for David Brown) 2.6-Litre, with a new chassis featuring fully independent suspension. Its new 2580cc twin overhead cam straight-six became the basis for the Aston Martin engines of the 1950s.
In 1953 Brooklands of Bond Street purchased the last sixteen 2.6 Mk2 rolling chassis and had them bodied by Tickford in a more modern style. After Brooklands’ sales success with the new design, Lagonda decided to produce these cars themselves.
The new body was still all-aluminum-over-ash-frame, but became too heavy for the 2.6-Litre engine. Therefore, the engine was enlarged to 3-Litre, producing 140bhp.
The car featured built-in hydraulic jacks as standard equipment as well as trafficators (semaphore turning signals). At the front there were coil springs and the De Dion rear axle used torsion bars. The Lockheed drum brakes, 12” at the front and 11” at the rear, were servo-assisted, and steering was by a rack-and-pinion system.
Like its predecessor, the DB 3-Litre was available as a four-seat, two-door coupé or as a drophead coupé, produced by the coach builder Tickford — which David Brown took over in 1955, moving Aston Martin and Lagonda to their Newport Pagnell facility. A four-door saloon was introduced in 1954, and the two-door coupé was discontinued in 1956.
The 3-Litre was more expensive than its competitors, and a total of just 270 of the three body styles were sold. The convertible ended production in 1957 (ca. 55 made), with the saloon following one year later.
The Florida Connection
Jeri and Hermann Schaller (yours truly) moved full-time to Punta Gorda, Fla., in the summer of 2014.
Unfortunately, their vacation house in Harbour Heights didn’t have enough garage space for their two BMWs and the 1949 Triumph Roadster 2000, so they sold “Lord Callaby,” as they had named their Triumph. Three years later, they finished a new house that included a four-car garage, and they went looking for their next classic car.
Jeri liked one of the cars in the PBS TV series Grandchester. Hermann needed three days to find out that this car was a Lagonda DB 3-Litre Drophead Coupé.
While the car fulfilled the important requirements — all-aluminum body, inline six-cylinder, four-seater convertible, affordable price level — there was no car to be found for sale in the US.
Knowing that some cars are mostly traded between people in the respective car club, Hermann joined the Lagonda Club in the UK. Through e-mails, he learned that perhaps one member was willing to part with his car. Some planned vacation travel was adjusted to be able to meet him and other members at the club’s annual meeting in South England. At the end of that day, three members had offered their cars, but the prices seemed to be one condition level higher than the cars!
Back in Florida, I saw an advertisement from a Portuguese car dealer on a Swiss website. Several e-mails later, the owner of a restoration company in Porto drove three hours to Lisbon to review the car and supply Jeri and me with a detailed report. Since nothing looked too bad in the report, price negotiations led to a deal to be finalized in person in Lisbon.
On November 14, 2017, the personal inspection, test drive and paper stuff were all done, and the car could go on its long voyage to Miami, where, with the help of good friends, I would pick it up the car on December 29, 2017, and bring it to Punta Gorda.
This car was finished on July 8, 1954, and delivered to a Mrs. E. Segrave at North Heath House in Chieveley, Newbury, Berkshire, on July 24, 1954, a long way from Lisbon and Punta Gorda. As much as the international Lagonda Club knows, this car is the only DB 3-Litre DHC in North America.
Jeri and I named the car “Largo de Lisboa” because of its relatively large size (for a European car) and the place where we found it. We want to bring “Largo” back to its original grandeur and will work on an intensive technical and optical overhaul. After that you might see it driving around Southwest Florida, because it will not stay in the garage or become a “trailer queen”!
WINTER PARK, Fla. — Three BCCSWF members headed in convoy for the 34th Winter Park All-British Classic Car Show held on Saturday, April 7th.
The 160-mile journey went well, apart from the usual traffic jams along the various family park/Kissimmee sections of I-4 that test the inevitable hot engines and the driver’s patience — all forgotten by the time we enjoyed a cold beer with club members at the Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub Meet & Greet!
On arrival at the show we joined about 180 other British classics spread around the many large shade trees, and almost immediately met John Dent, another club member, who had arrived ahead of us. We all enjoyed a wonderful day walking, talking, viewing and voting other attendees’ cars.
At 2 p.m. the trophy presentations took place. John Dent took a 1st with his 2013 XKR-S in the XK Jaguar class. Lionel Hill collected a 2nd for “Spiffy,” his 1962 MGA. My 1962 Jaguar Mk2 (“Lady Jane”) also took a 1st in the older Jag saloon class.
Dennis McKinley’s 1981 Triumph TR7 didn’t gain a trophy this time but, like everyone involved, he was full of praise for the Central Florida British Car Club who, once again, had organized a bloomin’ lovely car show! —Peter Sales
Winners at our Club Picnic! Left to right: Rich Lesinski, Trish Maue, Mike Wheeler and Isabel Munoz.
Photo by Mary Newman
Bill Newman, BCCSWF President, called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. There were no new members or guests to introduce.
Mary Newman, Secretary, said the minutes of the March meeting were on the website. She also stated that anyone not receiving e-mails should see her after the meeting to sort out the issues. Jackie Hill, the Treasurer gave her financial report and stated we have 82 paid members.
Old business and past events — March 11th, Mike Wheeler attended the “Cruise for the Cure” Car Show. He stated he won a raffle prize and there were a lot of nice cars.
March 31st was the club’s annual Picnic at the Franklin Locks in Alva, Fla. About 31 people attended and many people helped make the Picnic a success. Trish Maue and Mary Newman set up for the Picnic and also shopped for the food. Vice President Ken Taylor and President Bill Newman cooked the food. Cecil Carter and Isabel Munoz organized the games (along with a few others), and the attendees brought a side dish to complement the hamburgers and hot dogs.
After we ate, Cecil solicited participants for horseshoes and a corn hole game. After a rousing competition, the winners both male and female won gift cards to local restaurants. Winners were, for horseshoes, Trish Maue (Ladies) and Rich Lesinski (Men), and for corn hole, Isabel Munoz (Ladies) and Mike Wheeler (Men).
On April 7th, Peter Sales, Jackie and Lionel Hill, Dennis McKinley and John Dent attended Winter Park show. John Dent took a 1st place with his Jaguar XKS. Peter Sales took a 1st with his Jaguar Mk2. Lionel and Jackie took a 2nd with their MGA.
Upcoming events — On May 5th is the Luncheon Run to the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda. The Secretary will send out an e-mail about the details.
Memorial Day, May 28th, at the RAF Fallen Pilots plot in Arcadia Oak Ridge Cemetery, the club will present a wreath for the ceremony. Details will be given at the May meeting.
April birthdays were celebrated. The 50/50 raffle was held, after which the meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
Several car shows have been held this past month or so in and around Southwest Florida. A number of our members not only participated, but also were awarded trophies for their beautiful cars.
On February 17th, Jaycee Park in Cape Coral was the site of a charity car show that was attended by members Bill and Mary Newman, Mike Wheeler and Al Iagnemmo. Al won two trophies at the show, one for being in the Top 20 and for Best in Show, with his beautiful red XK140.
The BIG Show (British, Italian and German) was also held at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on March 4th. The show was very well attended by a group of our members, including trophy winners Jan Lindberg for his 1970 TR6, Carl and Sindy Steinberg for their 1969 MGC GT and 1970 Mini Panel Van, Gary Dworkin for his 1952 Jaguar XK120 DHC, Peter Sales for his 1962 Jaguar Mk2, Gary Robinson for his 1967 Austin-Healey Sprite, Janet Lemesis for her 2001 BMW Z3, Robert Frost for his 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC Spyder, and Dennis McKinley for his 1965 Triumph TR4A.
Also attending were Bill and Mary Newman, John Welch, Lionel and Jackie Hill, Cecil Carter, Rich Olson and Al Iagnemmo.
I apologize if I missed anyone. We all enjoyed the venue and hope to attend next year.
Thirty British cars participated in Cars-on-Fifth, in Naples, Fla., on Saturday, February 10th.
Cars-on-Fifth is one of the premier car events held in Southwest Florida. The event, which is sponsored by the Ferrari Club of Naples, showcases more than 500 cars along Naples’ Fifth Avenue. The British Car Club of Southwest Florida is one of the supporting organizations. Proceeds from the event are donated to St. Matthew’s House, an agency that provides services to indigent individuals in the area. Last year’s event hosted approximately 50,000 spectators and raised approximately $250,000.
The day was perfect for displaying the cars. Temperatures were in the mid-80s without a cloud in sight. The British cars gathered early in the morning in a nearby shopping plaza and at 7:15 a.m. caravanned to Fifth Avenue. There were no causalities along the way, and by 8:00 a.m. all cars were in place. There was a good mix of British marques that included Aston Martin, Jaguar, MG, Triumph and Lotus.
By 10 a.m. Fifth Avenue was crowded with spectators who appreciated all of the cars, especially the British cars. A local band, multiple vendors, and several hospitality hosts added to the festive atmosphere.
In keeping with tradition, at 3:45 p.m. all cars were started and the police-escorted exit parade began. The drivers proudly took their places among the cars and slowly exited Fifth Avenue, thus enabling all to admire their cars. —Cecil Carter
FT. MYERS, Fla. — President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. on March 13th. Brian Sumard was introduced as a new member. His car is a 2002 Jaguar XK8.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, reported minutes of the last meeting (which are on the website) and also asked for “My Car” articles for the British Marque. Jackie Hill, Treasurer, gave her report and stated we had 80 paid members as of this meeting.
Past events — Several members attended the Charity Car Show on February 17th held at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral. Bill and Mary Newman, Mike Wheeler and Al Iagnemmo all attended. Al won Best in Show in his Jaguar XK140 and also a trophy for being in the top 20.
The BIG Show (British, Italian and German) was held at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on March 4th. The Triumph Club of Southwest Florida put on the show. There was a large turnout and the show was in a beautiful location with great weather. Dennis McKinley and the members of his committee, which consisted of members from each of the clubs represented, did a great job of organizing the event. There were 188 cars representing many years and models. An article with details of the participants from the club and winners will be in the April Marque.
[See accompanying article.]
Dennis McKinley and Rollie Welch participated in an Alfa Romeo rally that went from Port Charlotte to Lake Wales. The weather was chilly and windy.
Steve Emmerman gave a report on the 22nd Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which was held on March 8-10. Bill Warner organized the show and the Honoree was Al Unser, Sr. The only difficulty was the weather, and the main event was moved to Saturday. There was a very large crowd, and the Concours, Cars & Coffee at the Concours, the RM/Sotheby’s auction, the seminars, and the ride-and-drives all happened on Saturday.
Upcoming events — The club will host its annual picnic at the Franklin Locks on March 31st. The Secretary will send out the details and we hope to have many members attend.
The “Wheels Across the Pond” show, an all-British event, will be held in Jupiter, Fla., on Saturday, March 31st, at Carlin Park. The 34th Annual All-British Show will be held in Winter Park, Fla., on April 7th.
The Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida will host the 1st Annual Southeast Regional Jaguar Concours d’Elegance April 14-15. The event will be held at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center.
The club will be getting together for a luncheon run to the Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda on May 5th. More details will follow.
On May 28th the club will participate at the Memorial Day British Pilot ceremony at the Arcadia Cemetery. More details will be discussed at upcoming meetings.
The 50/50 raffle was held. The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
On January 20th, Florida Gulf Coast University held their annual car show on the main Ft. Myers campus. Five members of the BCCSWF attended this event, arriving at car lot #5 to find around 400 or more cars, trucks and exotics filling every available space, reflecting superb support for the chosen American Heart Association charity.
Unlike typical classic car shows where the average age of owners is 60 or older, it was totally refreshing to be surrounded by young guys moving around the show in great excitement admiring cars of virtually every marque, which had been heavily modified for unique looks and, in many cases, amazing engine/transmission upgrades! These transformations clearly require incredible skills, determination, hard-earned money and patience while (hopefully?) concentrating on meeting curriculum grades.
The exotics were located in a special area and wowed everyone with the frequent sound of engines being revved to moderate levels. Talking about sound — no ’60s rock-and-roll here, more current sounds with a heavy bass!
It felt good to realize that many of these guys could well be searching out and restoring these cars in 30-40 years’ time, probably to demonstrate how exciting transport was before autonomous vehicles!
A total of 20 trophies were presented, with four going to our BCCSWF group including one Best of Show (1962 Jaguar E-type Roadster).
The City of Ft. Myers, Fla., always holds the Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival on the fourth Saturday in January, with live performances of the best Celtic national and international touring artists. There are many vendors selling Irish and Scottish items, lots of good food, and of course the Guinness beer is flowing. The City invites the British Car Club of Southwest Florida each year to display our cars, and provides trophies for the best cars of each decade as voted by the Festival attendees.
On January 27th of this year our club had 22 participants with a variety of cars covering the 1950s through the 2000s. We all assembled at a spot near the Festival entrance and lined up by vehicle age. Rich Olson in his MG TD led the way into the gate about 9 a.m., but had to get out to move tables and other obstacles so that the rest of the group could get into position along the Caloosahatchee (thanks, Rich, for your efforts).
The weather was perfect for this time of year in Florida and the crowd seemed to enjoy the cars. Voting lasted until 2 p.m. and trophies were awarded on the music stage at about 2:30.
Results are as follows:
1950s and earlier: Rich Olson, 1952 MG TD.
1960s: Clayton Rizor, 1966 Jaguar XKE.
1970s: Carl Steinberg, 1970 Mini Panel Van.
1980s and later: John Welch, 2007 Jaguar XK.
I thank all of our members who attended this event and hope to see all of you again next year. —Bill Newman
FT. MYERS, Fla. — The meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m. Guests and new members were recognized — Kurt and Kimberley Hasterman, who have a Jaguar XKR, and Rick Fitzgerald, who has a 1980 Triumph Spitfire.
Bill also recognized George Krause and displayed the article in the Grandeur magazine regarding his ’53 TR3, and acknowledged the death of past member Tom Bruno, who passed away in January.
Mary Newman gave the Secretary’s report and stated the minutes were on the website. Also she stated she will be sending e-mails about upcoming events, but club members should also look at the website and attend meetings.
Jackie Hill gave the Treasurer’s report and stated we had 73 members. Cy Ling passed around pictures from the Shell Point Car Display in which several club members participated.
Past event reports included:
January 20 — FGCU Car Show. Four members took trophies, including Al Lemesis with Best in Show.
January 27 — Celtic Festival. Good weather, and four trophies were awarded: Rich Olson, 1952 MG TD Clayton Rizor, 1966 Jaguar XKE Carl Steinberg, 1970 Mini Panel Van and John Welch, 2007 Jaguar XK.
January 27 — Jackie and Lionel Hill along with Peter and Pam Sales went to the Highlands Festival in Sarasota, Fla. Lionel and Jackie placed 2nd.
February 10 — Cars on Fifth I, Naples, Fla. Weather was good, and 30 British cars attended — and numerous Ferraris and Corvettes.
February 10 — Race in Sebring. Club members Bill Newman and Ken Taylor competed and Tom Brewsaugh worked corners and flagging.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date) included:
February 17 — Charity Car Show, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral, Fla.
February 18 — Gold Coast Car Show, Boca Raton, Fla.
March 4 — BIG Show, Jayce Park, Cape Coral, FL.
March 31 — British Car Club Picnic moved to March 31st due to over booking at Franklin Locks Picnic Pavilion.
March 31 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
April 7 — All-Brit Show, Winter Park, Fla.
April TBD — Cruise to Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda, Fla., for lunch.
December 8 — Luncheon with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club.
Meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
LAKELAND, Fla. — Saturday, October 21st, presented a dilemma for members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida. The 31st All-British Car Show at Safety Harbor sponsored by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club was scheduled on October 21st, as was the Lake Mirror Concours, which is the featured event of the Lakeland Auto Show weekend. Having two outstanding car shows scheduled for that same day forced us to make the decision which to attend. While a number of us once again attended the Safety Harbor show, a few of us entered our cars in the Lake Mirror Concours.
The Lake Mirror Concours promotes high standards in the classic automobiles it selects. A selection committee carefully reviews all applicants. Due to these high standards, additional information is requested for registration. The criteria listing informs attendees that although a former national show winner will certainly command attention, the selection committee is equally interested in original, unrestored, rare and unusual cars.
Which brings us to yours truly, Aldis and Janet Lemesis. We proudly represented the BCCSWF by entering our 1962 E-type.
A great time was had by all at the pre-show reception and on Saturday, the 21st, when the competition began. To make a long story short, our E-type was awarded a runner-up in Foreign Division Group 1, which covers cars produced up to 1972.
Club member Gary Dworkin also entered his 1953 XK120 Jaguar but ended up just short in the judging. Club member John Dent also attended the event.
[Congratulations to Aldis and Janet for their strong showing at the nationally-known Lake Mirror event!]
A new year of enjoying our British cars is upon us. I want to thank our outgoing officers, VP Gary Dworkin, Secretary Rollie Welch, and Treasurer Lauren Welch. All served above and beyond my requirements during the past year of my Presidency. I will continue to serve as President this year with the help of VP Ken Taylor, Secretary Mary Newman, and Treasurer Jackie Hill.
By the time you read this issue our members will have participated in car shows at Shell Point Village, Florida Gulf Coast University and the Ft. Myers Celtic Festival. During February and March, the club will be participants in the Naples “Cars on Fifth” Show, Vintage Racing at Sebring, a Poker Run, the British, Italian and German Show put on by the Triumph Club, and our Annual Picnic on March 24th. We hope to have articles on these events in upcoming issues of the Marque.
I am looking to our membership to chair some luncheon/breakfast runs throughout the coming months, as well as any other events that may be of interest. Please join us at our meetings and bring up your ideas. —Bill Newman
FT. MYERS, Fla., Jan. 9 — President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Bill introduced guest Joan Maupin, who had brought pictures of her Morgan that she has for sale. He also introduced Herman Schuller, who spoke about the various British cars he had along with the Lagonda that he currently has.
Rollie Welch gave a report on the Shellpoint Retirement Community car display that we participated in on January 6th. We had a good group that attended and the residents were happy to see the cars and were very interested about the various marques.
Mary Newman, the new Secretary, gave a report on the Christmas Party that was held on December 12th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Ft. Myers. Everyone seemed to enjoy the British-themed party and the Christmas crackers. Jackie and Lionel Hill were given the Outstanding Achievement Award and Lauren and Rollie Welch were recognized for their service as club officers.
Jackie Hill, the new Treasurer, gave a report on the membership and the need to pay your dues to continue receiving British Marque. She also stated that members need to send their changes of address to the Marque in order to make sure that they can get the paper to the correct address.
Bill announced birthdays for December and January, and the members that were present received a special treat.
Bill discussed upcoming events, including a rally with the Alfa Club and an upcoming car show at Florida Gulf Coast University on January 20th. The British Car Club also participates in the Celtic Festival in Ft. Myers on January 27th, which we have for a number of years.
Other upcoming events included:
February 10 — Vintage and Regional SCCA Races on the Long Course, Sebring, Fla.
February 13 — Regular club meeting, Famous Dave’s, Ft. Myers, Fla.
February 18 — Gold Coast British Sports Car Club All-British Classic at Boca Raton, Fla.
March 4 — Triumphs of Southwest Florida’s B.I.G. Show, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral, Fla.
March 13 — Regular club meeting, Famous Dave’s, Ft. Myers, Fla.
March 24 – Annual Club Picnic, Franklin Locks Park, 11 a.m.
A 50/50 raffle was held, and the meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m. —Mary Newman, Secretary