Aston Martin Lagonda Rapide


The Brown Bomber

got hot the crankcase and cheeses all expanded at the same rate and the oil came out of the bearings faster than the pump could replace it - this problem was particularly evident in the sports racing cars DP115.


As a result of the failed development of the all-alloy 4.5 liter V12 engine the Brown Bomber used a highly modified 3.0 liter engine mounted to a chassis designed by Eberan von Eberhost, with twin chassis tubes of 5 inches in diameter. The suspension was independent all round, it had coil springs at the front and torsion bars and springs at the rear. The rear suspension was adjustable via hydraulic rams powered by an engine driven pump, these rams were controlled by a switch on the car dashboard.  The same pump was also used to drive the hydraulic window lifts and Jackall system for raising the car off the ground.  All of this was very advanced for the early 1950's, and no doubt would a recipe for trouble and great expense during the cars guarantee period.


The body was designed by Frank Feeley, it had the largest curved front windscreen then made by Triplex in 1953.  Even at this stage several of the key external features of the Rapide could be identified, such as radiator, bonnet and distinctive lights.  Due to the use of the under powered 3.0 liter engine the performance of the car was disappointing, sadly in the early 1960's it was broken up.  The project was not a great success and only really advanced with the appointment of a certain designer, a Mr. Tadek Marek in 1954.  He redesigned the W. O. Bentley engine and produced the renowned 3.7 liter engine which went on to be used in the DB4, then as a 4.0 liter in the Rapide, DB5, DB6 and DBS.

David Brown had a soft spot for Lagonda, he also had a keen understanding of what Lagonda represented as a car manufacturer prior to WW2 with its fabulous V12 engined cars.  It is seems that both W. O. Bentley (who had designed the three prototypes (EX1-3) with their 2.6 liter engines) and David Brown came to the conclusion that trying to compete in the middle market sector was a mistake.  This conclusion may have been a result of Rolls-Royce and Bentley amalgamating after WW2, with the only real difference between the two Marques being their radiator grilles.  This left a gap in the market for a new sporting high-performance luxury GT car, a gap a new Lagonda could fill perfectly.


It is thought that the advanced Lagonda, DP117, generally known as the "Brown Bomber", was started as a project sometime in late 1950.  The code for the engine was DP100 and was to be a 4.5 liter V12 engine designed by Wilie Watson, who  had  previously  worked with W. O. Bentley  on the 2.6 liter engine during WW2. The engine as designed was a complete  failure , being an all-alloy engine , once it