Fatal Autopilot Crash, VW Settlement, Autonomous EV Charging, T.E.N. Future Car News 7-1-16



Weekly show about future cars and future car technology. This week news about: Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash; Proterra makes its charging technology open source; Tesla Software Update 8.0 now in testing; VW reaches proposed agreement with U.S. regulators concerning Desielgate; Tesla settles in Model X Lemon Law Case; UK Gov. Predicts plug-in dominance by 2027; Plug-in Prius, Nissan LEAF, and Tesla Model S crowned the fastest-selling used cars of 2016; Audi trash-talks Tesla’s way; Nissan confirms unnamed range-extended EV for launch later this year; Tesla fan makes his own autonomous charger for the luxury sedan.

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1951 Lagonda 2,6l Tickford DHC

1951 Lagonda 2,6l Tickford DHC

Lagonda is a British car manufacturer, founded as a company in 1906 in Staines, Middlesex by the American Wilbur Gunn (1859-1920). He named the company after a river near the town of his birth Springfield, Ohio. The company was purchased and integrated into Aston Martin in 1947.

Wilbur Gunn had originally built motorcycles on a small scale in the garden of his house in Staines with reasonable success including a win on the 1905 London—Edinburgh trial. In 1907 he launched his first car, the 20-hp, 6-cylinder Torpedo, which he used to win the Moscow—St. Petersburg trial of 1910. This success produced a healthy order for exports to Russia which continued until 1914. In the pre-war period Lagonda also made an advanced small car, the 11.1 with a four-cylinder 1000 cc engine, which featured an anti-roll bar and a rivetted monocoque body and the first ever fly-off handbrake.

During World War I Lagonda made artillery shells.

After the end of the war the 11.1 continued with a larger 1400-cc engine and standard electric lighting as the 11.9 until 1923 and the updated 12 until 1926. Following Wilbur Gunn’s death in 1920, three existing directors headed by Colin Parbury took charge. The first of the company’s sports models was launched in 1925 as the 14/60 with a twin-cam 1954-cc 4-cylinder engine and hemispherical combustion chambers. The car was designed by Arthur Davidson who had come from Lea-Francis. A higher output engine came in 1927 with the 2-litre Speed Model which could be had supercharged in 1930. A lengthened chassis version, the 16/65, with 6-cylinder 2.4-litre engine, was available from 1926 to 1930. The final car of the 1920s was the 3-litre using a 2931-cc 6-cylinder engine. This continued until 1933 when the engine grew to 3181 cc and was also available with a complex 8-speed Maybach transmission as the Selector Special.

A new model for 1933 was the 16-80 using a 2-litre Crossley engine with pre-selector gearbox from 1934. A new small car, the Rapier came along in 1934 with 1104-cc engine and pre-selector gearbox. This lasted until 1935 but more were made until 1938 by a separate company, Rapier Cars of Hammersmith, London. At the other extreme was the near 100-mph, 4.5-litre M45 with Meadows 6-cylinder 4467-cc engine. An out and out sporting version the M45R Rapide, with tuned M45 engine and a shorter chassis led to a Le Mans victory in 1935. Also in 1935 the 3-litre grew to a 3.5-litre.

All was not well financially and the receiver was called in 1935 but the company was bought by Alan Good, who just outbid Rolls-Royce. He also persuaded W. O. Bentley to leave Rolls-Royce and join Lagonda as designer. The 4.5-litre range now became the LG45 with lower but heavier bodies and also available in LG45R Rapide form. The LG45 came in 3 versions known as Sanction 1,2 and 3 each with more Bentley touches to the engine. In 1938 the LG6 with independent front suspension by torsion bar and …

The Ordeal of Vernon Oneal: The Story of President Kennedy’s First Casket

November 22, 1963. Even before President Kennedy’s near-lifeless body was removed from the presidential limousine at Parkland Hospital, United Press International’s initial reports that “three shots were fired at President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade today” was racing across teletype machines nationwide. Holding a transistor radio to his ear, one among the millions of Americans who monitored the breaking news was Vernon B. Oneal, a Dallas funeral director whose business also included an ambulance service.

At approximately 12:46 CST, only sixteen minutes after JFK was shot, and 47 minutes before Assistant White House Secretary Malcolm Kilduff officially announced the President’s death to the world, Oneal’s telephone rang. It was Secret Service agent Clint Hill calling from Parkland Hospital, advising Oneal to select his best casket and transport it to the hospital “as soon as possible.”

“Is it for the President?” Oneal asked.

“Yes,” Hill replied, “it is for the President of the United States.”

Grasping the urgency of Hill’s directive, Oneal bolted into his showroom and selected his signature model, an eight hundred pound solid bronze casket named the “Brittania”. Manufactured by the Elgin Casket Company, it was double-walled and could be hermetically sealed. Fit for a president or king, Oneal’s price was $3,995.

As his profession dictated, Vernon Oneal was prepared to discreetly comfort and assist the bereaved Kennedy family in every way possible. At Parkland, he whispered words of sympathy to Jacqueline Kennedy. He and two of his associates were then assisted by nurses in carefully wrapping JFK’s remains in several sheets and plastic, hoping the blood and brain matter still seeping from the massive wound in the President’s head would not stain the casket’s plush satin shirring.

Before departing Parkland Oneal dutifully stood by Mrs. Kennedy and the casket as the late President’s White House aides and Secret Service agents endured an ugly shouting match with a local official named Dr. Earl Rose, who insisted that JFK’s body must, by law, be held for autopsy in Dallas County. Oneal had every right to assume that his services would continue to be required all the way to President Kennedy’s burial site, and he wanted Mrs. Kennedy to be assured of his loyalty and respect; the full scope of his establishment’s services were at her solicitation, and the man was determined to go to any avail, whether the funeral be held in Washington or Massachusetts, to satisfy her every wish.

Then, suddenly, Oneal’s hopes were dashed. The Secret Service agents and JFK’s most loyal aides had no sooner brushed Dr. Rose aside when the casket containing the assassinated President was precipitously loaded into the rear of his Cadillac hearse, the same vehicle he and his personnel used to deliver the bronze coffin to Parkland Hospital. It had been Oneal’s intention to drive Kennedy’s body directly to his funeral home for embalming and the scheduling of funeral arrangements, but the Secret Service commandeered the hearse and an agent advised him to follow in another car, neglecting to tell Oneal that their …