Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars!
This week’s question: Where was the river valley located for which the famous British brand Lagonda was named?
If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you re right.
When you think of the name Lagonda, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The pre-war company that built advanced small sporting cars and lured W.O. Bentley away from Rolls Royce?
Or, perhaps it’s the postwar company owned by Aston Martin purveyor David Brown, and which built luxury touring sedans culminating in the William Towns designed arrow-point of the ’70s and ’80s?
Whatever Lagonda you imagine, it’s unlikely that when considering this exceptionally British of brands you would think of a river valley in the north-eastern region of a country half a hemisphere away.
From the Lagonda Club:
The Company was started by an American, Wilbur Gunn, who had two main interests, engineering and singing.
He had been apprenticed to Singers in America, but it was to represent the family business that he came to Britain in 1891. He built a steam yacht “Giralda” that won wagers as to which was the fastest boat on the Thames, and eventually started to build motorcycles in 1898 working from the greenhouse of his home at Staines, around which the factory eventually grew. The name Lagonda was the Shawnee Indian name for what is now Buck Creek in Gunn’s native Springfield, Ohio. The Gunns had lived in Springfield since the middle of the nineteenth century, Wilbur being born in 1859, and Wilbur’s brother-in-law was a founder of the Lagonda Corporation that made tube cleaning machinery.
Gunn became a British national in 1891, but obviously still held feelings for his place of birth and the native names used there. Thus is how one of history’ most British car makes took its name from a Native American settlement near a town that itself was named after a city in Massachusetts that played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War fought against… the British.