Ever since Agent 007 drove away evil with his highly optional 1963 Aston Martin DB5 in The golden finger, the rare British brand is known as the sporty GT of choice for gentlemen. What is less known is that in addition to the star status of the movie car, Aston Martin was – like Bond’s character – regularly found himself in new predicaments, sometimes dangerously close to extinction and, in the carmaker’s case, often seeking an escape route to financial equilibrium.
The diversification of products held out the carrot of additional turnover, and the Lagonda brand, absorbed by Aston Martin in 1947 offered the opportunity to offer a sporty luxury sedan called Lagonda Rapide. With only 55 examples built from 1961 to 1964, the model was bodied by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. As Touring was the same coachbuilder responsible for designing the Aston Martin DB4, the Lagonda Rapide was essentially that car under a four-door aluminum skin.
A decade passed before Aston Martin resurrected the Lagonda name, introducing a four-door based on its current two-door V-8 model at the time, the DBS. The project was said to have been inspired by then-Aston owner David Brown, who wanted to be driven in a saloon of his own making, using a prototype developed in 1969. It took five years before the first production version was unveiled in London. Motor Show October 1974. The car had a price of £14,040, almost 25% more than the two-door Aston Martin. The cost, coupled with the crushing oil crisis in the Middle East and political unrest in Europe, made the model a difficult sell.
With a wheelbase spanning a foot longer than its Aston Martin sibling, the dachshund-shaped Lagonda Series I is, like my favorite dog breed, a delightful oddity, though nowhere near as unusual as its futuristic successor. wedge-shaped. This Lagonda, of which a total of 645 examples were built comprising the Series II, III and IV (from 1976 to 1990), is an altogether different beast and worthy of its own future history.
On April 10, the Bonhams Goodwood Members’ Meeting sale will feature a very special Series I, the sixth of seven cars built up to 1976 (although an eighth was built in 2007, long after official production ended of the model). Although any Series I is a real rarity, this 1975 example was the car of the Earls Court Motor Show and benefits from a comprehensive restoration by the late Richard Williams, who was an expert on the marque. Williams already owned a concours-winning Series I when he acquired the car in 2005.
Work began on behalf of a customer to whom Williams sold the car in 2006, and throughout the process #12006 received many upgrades. Importantly, the stock V-8 engine was upgraded from 5.3 liters to 7.0 liters, an RS Williams specialty. This increased power by 320 hp to 480 hp and torque by 350 lb-ft to an impressive 550 lb-ft, delivered through a redesigned Torqueflite automatic transmission.
The charcoal gray exterior is complemented by a re-trimmed interior with gray skins and is, unsurprisingly, configured with the steering wheel on the right. Subtle upgrades include an upgraded entertainment system, air conditioning and soundproofing.
Showing just 3,200 miles since restoration, the car has been on static display since 2012. The future owner has the opportunity to wake up this splendid 7.0-litre V-8, hit the road and surprise even the Aston anorak Martin the most seasoned with a car they’ve probably never seen before. And while the estimated value of this particular Lagonda Series I is between $260,000 and $400,000, it will be offered without reserve.