Aston Martin Lagonda Rapide
1947-1953 Lagonda 2.6 1953 - 1958 Lagonda 3.0 1961 - 1964 Lagonda Rapide
David Brown, the owner of Aston Martin, purchased Lagonda in 1947, and along with it, the famous W. O Bentley designed 2.6 litre 6 cylinder engine which powered the 1950’s 2.6 and 3.0 litre Lagonda’s and Aston Martin DB2 series and DB2 Mk3.
In 1959 Aston Martin released the DB4 with the new Tadek Marek 3.7 litre 6 cylinder engine, variants of which would continue to power Aston Martins until 1973. The Lagonda four door luxury saloons and 2-door drop head's were produced alongside the Aston Martin cars, they were targeted and priced to complete with Rolls Royce and Bentley.
Two years later in 1961, the Rapide, a four door saloon version of the DB4 was produced. The intention of David Brown was that it should be the 'most mechanically advanced car available' offering effortless acceleration to 130 m.p.h. courtesy of the Aston Martin light alloy twin overhead camshaft unit.
The Rapide is powered by the same twin cam 4.0 engine that was later used in the Aston Martin DB5 (though slightly detuned). The chassis is based upon a 14 inch longer version of the DB4 but with a de Dion rear suspension (as used on the later DBS), so it is a true 4-door four seated grand touring luxury saloon. The magnesium alloy body was the design work of Touring of Milan and is fixed to a Superleggera frame and steel chassis. For an early 1960's British car it had many advanced features such as dual circuit servo assisted disc brakes, all round electric windows, rear heated screen, electric aerial, and remotely operated fuel filler cap.
The standard specification Lagonda Rapide cost £4950, a not inconsiderable amount at a time when the Aston Martin DB4 cost £3750, and a Jaguar Mk2 3.8 cost just under £1800. These special order cars were produced at the Aston Martin works at Newport Pagnell between 1961 through to 1964, with just 55 cars built.
Today, the car is becoming more highly sought after, with 47 of the 55 cars built believed to have survived, they come on the market infrequently and collectors / enthusiasts have realised what a fabulous and under-appreciated car it is.