Today in Motorcycle History

Lagonda Motorcycles

Lagonda Motor Bicycle 1903

This machine, engine included, is made at the company's works...

Lagonda motorcycles were produced in Staines, Middlesex, from 1902 to 1907, before the firm became famous as an automobile manufacturer.

The company was founded in the UK by Wilbur Gunn (1859–1920), a former opera singer. He named the company after the Shawnee settlement "Lagonda" in modern-day Springfield, Ohio, the town of his birth. Gunn became a British citizen in 1891, and worked in Staines as a motorcycle and marine engine mechanic. He won the 1905 London to Edinburgh trial on one of his machines.

1902 The firm started out by building tricycles, before moving on to motorcycles.

1903 They used their own engine on a machine of 2.75-hp. It was hung from the frame downtube and was of conventional design.

1904-1905 A H Cranmer joined the firm in 1904. A forecar was offered, fitted with a 5-hp engine, inclined in the frame, driving the rear wheel through clutch, two-speed gear and chains. The solo model increased its engine size to 3.5-hp and a 1200cc 4.5-hp model was also listed. Twin-cylinder engines became available.

1906 The 3.5-hp model had an inclined engine and leading-link forks, but retained direct-belt drive.

1907 Production of motorcycles continued for that year, but then turned to automobiles. Around 70 forecars were built in total, of which at least three survive. No motorcycles exist.

1910 saw another major win, the Moscow–St. Petersburg trial, which resulted in a substantial order from Russia and proved a milestone on the road to international recognition.

1935 The company changed hands. Rolls-Royce was outbid by Alan P. Good, who persuaded W. O. Bentley to leave Rolls-Royce and join Lagonda.

Sources: Graces Guide,, et al.

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