The David Brown Ltd Purchase in 1947
For a historical overview of the David Brown corporation, please use this link, David Brown
In 1947, David Brown saw a classified advertisement in The Times, offering for sale a High Class Motor Business. Brown acquired Aston Martin for £20,500 and, in the following year, Lagonda for £52,500, followed by the coachbuilder Tickford in 1955. He subsequently concentrated all the Aston Martin and Lagonda manufacturing at the Tickford premises in Newport Pagnell. The David Brown years led to the legendary DB series of Aston Martins and Lagondas. So what did he purchase, when it comes to Lagonda for his money ?
1. There were six prototypes in existence, althought the precise nature of EX1 is a matter of dispute, compounded by a lack of historial data and pictures.
2. The other assets, included fair number of running 2.6 litre LB6 engines, whcih had already undergone extensive testing, but it was still far from ready to be used on a production basis. This engine would be used with great success in the Feltham built Aston Martin DB2 series of cars in the 1950's
3. A well tuned Cotal electro-magnetic gearbox, previously used by Delarge and Delahaye and on a solitary Lagonda V12 pre-war.
4. Frank Feeley the body designer and some of the design team from Staines. W. O. Bentley left and set up as an independent consultant.
As the Victoria Road factory had sustained considerable wartime damage, David Brown needed to relocate both Lagonda and Aston Martin, he rented hangers on the disused airfield site of Hanworth Park, Feltham (just a half a mile away from Victoria Road). This became the first post war home for both Aston Martin and Lagonda, cars built there are known as Feltham cars.
More prototype 2.6’s appeared, using a David Brown S430 synchromesh gearbox in the early part of 1948 and, in this form, the car went into production in the later part of that year. Most of the bodies were built by the factory but a few went to coachbuilders, notably Tickford who slowly took over production of more and more cars. The car sold reasonably well, in spite of being an expensive car and being launched so soon after the war, with 510 examples made when production ended in 1953. A mark 2 car was launched in early 1953, with only a handful of car sold
The origin of the David Brown S430 synchromesh gearbox is currently unknown, but given David Brown Ltd were gear manufacturers, the gearing was most likely made inhouse, as was the gear box casing. Early cars offered either the Cotal box or the DB box, but very soon, cars came fitted as satndard with the DB box with no other option listed. It has been suggested that David Brown resented having to pay a royalty to Cotal, and also the gear-change was rather slow to change; there were significant problems with the gearbox wiring when oil soaked through the outer fabric covering. Uniquely, if one went over a tram-line with the car, the gearr-box would auto-change itself!
The car had a separate chassis and all independent suspension using coil springs at the front and torsion bars at the rear. At introduction it was believed to be the only all-independently sprung British car. The Lockheed brakes had 12 in (305 mm) drums at the front and 11 in (279 mm) at the rear with the latter being mounted inboard. Rack and pinion steering was used, long before it became standard in the Aston Martin's, clearly a trend setter.