Wilbur Gunn was an American who disdained his family's sheep-shearing business, and went to England to find his fortune. Gunn moved to England in about 1897 and approximately a year later, he built an air-cooled cycle in a greenhouse at Staines. In 1900, Gunn (who was born in Lagonda Creek, Ohio) created the Lagonda Car Company of England. A perfectionist, Gunn even tooled his own nuts and bolts, and his cars gained a reputation for durability. The Lagonda Company took its cars to the major races (common practice at the time), including LeMans and Brooklands. The Lagonda's early success was due in part to heavy exportation of the cars to Russia. This followed the winning of the 1910 Moscow-St. Petersburg Reliability Trial, which had captured the attention and favor of Czar Nicholas II. Lagondas had moderate racing success including being awarded Overall Winner at LeMans in 1935.
In 1926, the company introduced a new car - the 14/50 - which was a departure from their previous models. It was a more refined car, a roomy and smooth touring car that later became the company's well-known 'Two-Litre' car. This unusual car had an engine wîth hemispherical heads and a five-bearing crankshaft, a well made chassis and efficient brakes. The 2-liter kept the same engine, but included slightly higher compression and a four seater wîth fabric bodywork. In 1929, the Two-Liter was offered on a low chassis wîth cycle type front fenders (which turn wîth the wheels). Gunn's company continued to make almost all of their parts and the cars (which were similar in size and weight to W.O. Bentley cars) came to be known as 'poor man's Bentleys.'
Collection of Mazel LyonSource - SDAM