Page 1 of 2 Next >> Having just bought Aston Martin and Lagonda, gearbox manufacturer David Brown wanted to focus on developing a production car first. He bought both companies as he liked the newly developed box-section Aston Martin chassis and the W.O. Bentley and 'Willie' Watson designed straight six cylinder engine. The first Aston Martins built under Brown's ownership still used the old four cylinder engines and Brown reluctantly had one prepared for the 1948 Spa 24 Hours. Despite being built at the very last minute, the Aston Martin took a surprise win. It was the start of Aston Martin's renewed racing efforts, first with production based machines and later with full blown racers.
Still using the Lagonda design as a basis, Aston Martin fielded the brand new 'DB3S' sports racer at the start of the 1953 season. It was a commendable racer in the three litre class, but for overall victories it was regularly beaten by the larger engined Lancias, Ferraris and Jaguars. To go for the much coveted overall victories, Aston Martin needed a considerably larger engine, but there would be no road going Aston Martin model to fit it in and make it viable. Instead David Brown decided to revive the Lagonda name and design a brand new engine that would propel both the new racing car and a luxury Lagonda road car.
Impressed in particular by Ferrari's engines, Brown commissioned 'Willie' Watson to develop a V12 engine with a displacement of 4.5 litre. Following the basic design of the original straight six, the new engine featured double overhead camshafts and two plugs per cylinder. To keep the weight down, the entire engine was constructed of aluminium. Equipped with three quad-choke Webers, the Lagonda V12 initially produced 280 bhp, but with some work Watson estimated 350 bhp could be achieved. Mated to a four speed gearbox, the engine was installed into a slightly larger and beefed up DB3S chassis. A body similar to that of the DB3S was fitted although with three separate front air intakes. Page 1 of 2 Next >>