It was the new OHV engine of 1925, designed by Arthur
Davidson, which was to herald a change of direction towards sports car
production. The first of the four-cylinder, 2-litre cars was shortly
joined by a six-cylinder, 3-litre model, and following a trend towards
six-cylinder engines of moderate horsepower with exceptional flexibility,
August 1932 was to see the announcement of the 16/80 Special Six.
This new model was powered by an engine supplied by
Crossley, renowned for its strength and flexibility, being used in the
Crossley Silver model which had first appeared during 1928. To all intents
and purposes, the 16/80 chassis specification was very similar to the
earlier 14/60 Continental, having the same wheelbase. Although the
Crossley engines were supplied as complete units to the Lagonda factory at
Staines, they were stripped, examined and weighed before being
re-assembled and bench run prior to fitment to the chassis. The Lagonda
engineers extracted more power from these engines as well as improving the
cooling and breathing qualities. It is believed that the 16/80 designation
referred to a combination of the horsepower rating and the maximum speed.
For the 1930 Brooklands Double 12 race Lagonda modified
one of their 2 litre models. The car was made as light as possible by
covering the wooden body frame with fabric. The aluminum skin that is
normally underneath the fabric was left off to save weight making the car
flex a lot resulting in considerable panel contact. The Double 12 race
consisted of two 12 hour races with the cars in a closed parking
overnight, the teams were not allowed to touch the cars during that time.
The featured car finished ninth overall and second in the 2 litre class.