During WW2, W O Bentley and Alan Good made a decision not to continue with the 4.5 litre engined cars in the post-war world. Instead, they targeted, a new smaller engined car into the middle market.
Several engines were designed including an LB4 and LB8 by Willie Watson, but these were not built, it was the 2.6 litre LB6 unit, a six cylinder engine with twin overhead camshafts, which would be the key to the future from sometime in late 1943 . It is believed that three prototypes of this car were running by late 1945, fitted possibly with Cotal electric gear-boxes. This chassis was completely different to the pre-war cars, and features independent front suspension by wishbones and coil springs, and rear by torsion bars and semi-trailing axles with the pivots at an angle. The rear brakes were inboard to reduce sprung weight and the original bodywork was designed and made at the Simonds brewery, since the Lagonda factory was being used for war-time work.
The Lagonda Company was unable to put the 2.6 litre car into production due to a lack of a steel ration in post-war Britain, and David Brown bought the company, as he did Aston Martin, and merged them in September 1947. The Bentley designed engine and chassis were the company's chief assets and the car works were transferred to the Hanworth works near Feltham. Bentley did not carry on with the new company, most likely due to a a clash of personalities with David Brown, but the famous Lagonda body stylist, Frank Feeley did.
The first three pre-David Brown prototypes, have been given the names: EX1, converted at some point into a two-seaster sports car.
EX2 is still largely as it was in the mid-1950's, a 4-seater saloon, and EX3 was another saloon, but this has been not heard of for over 35 years.
There is a second batch of 3 Vanden Plas bodied prototypes, with chassis LAG/48/1-3. So the first six cars all have in common the VDP bodywork, which differs in many details from the standard DB 2.6 Mk1 production bodywork styling and even the placement of fittings and lights.
When the car went into production in late 1948, the majority of cars were fitted with the David Brown S430 synchromesh gearbox. 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.
1948-53 Lagonda 2.6 litre Mk 2 saloon