17 May 1999
1963 LAGONDA RAPIDE
Chassis no. LR/127/R
Engine no. 400/127
Old English Pewter with tan leather interior
Engine: straight six, twin overhead camshafts, two twin choke Solex carburettors, 3995cc, 236 bhp at 5000rpm; Gearbox: automatic; Brakes: disc all round; Suspension: independent front by wishbones and coil springs, de Dion rear with torsion bars. Right hand drive
Rapide was a model name with great resonance in Lagonda circles, the first Lagonda to be so titled being one of the most glamorous roadsters of the 1930s, a roadgoing version of the big six sports model that had won the Le Mans 24-hours race in 1935. David Brown, the industrialist and enthusiast who owned Aston Martin was always happy to have a Lagonda in his model range. The 2.6 (later 3 litre) Lagonda with WO Bentley designed straight-six engine and fully independent suspension was both elegant and expensive. After production ended in 1958, three years of experiment were followed by the introduction of an entirely new, handsome four-door saloon Lagonda. Starting point was the company's robust Aston DB4 chassis, given 16 more inches in the wheelbase, the 1958 all light alloy engine of the DB4 bored out to four litres and tuned for refinement, and new de Dion rear suspension. The imposing coachwork was built on Superleggera Touring principles, the body's aluminium panels supported by a light structure of small diameter tubes. Inside there was ample room for four adults and their luggage, all accommodated in the greatest luxury. Automatic transmission was standard, a manual box optional, but most Rapide buyers opted for the automatic.
Purchased by the vendor in 1988, this Rapide has undergone an exhaustive and very expensive restoration at the Aston Martin factory, since when it has covered only a few kilometres. Described now as "sublime", virtually a new car, it represents an opportunity to acquire a very rare - only 55 were built- example of one of the most exclusive of all British specialist marques, one which has had the benefit of a scrupulous restoration in the workshops most qualified for the task. The car is Swiss registered.
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The engine number is 121 and not 127 as stated.
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