Works restored 1963 Aston Martin Lagonda Rapide 4.2-Litre Sports Saloon Registration no. to be advised Chassis no. LR/146/R Engine no. 400/146
Aston Martin revived a famous Lagonda name in 1961 with a luxurious four-door sports saloon that took its appellation from one of the marque's most exalted models of the late 1930s: the Rapide. This new car was very much David Brown's personal project. The Rapide's sales brochure, which, unusually, was signed by him personally, stated: 'It has long been my ambition to build a car which would be equally suitable to drive or be driven in...'
Beneath the Rapide's Superleggera aluminium coachwork (by Touring of Milan, the carrozzeria responsible for the Aston Martin DB4 sports car) was a lengthened (by 16") DB4 platform-type chassis re-engineered to accept De Dion rear suspension, the adoption of which allowed rear compartment space to be maximised. Powered by a 4.0-litre (236bhp) version of the Aston Martin DB4's twin-cam 'six' that would later power the DB5, the Rapide certainly lived up to its name with brisk acceleration and a 130mph-plus top speed. Dual circuit, servo assisted disc brakes restrained this excellent performance while fittings to the traditional 'gentlemen's club' interior included electric windows, picnic tables to the rear, filler cap remote opener and a radio as standard. The Rapide's price when new was £5,000, some 25% higher than that of the Aston Martin DB4, which itself was not exactly a cheap automobile. A mere 55 units, almost all of which were equipped with Borg Warner three-speed automatic transmission, were built before production ceased in 1964.
This example was bought directly from its first owner by the immediately preceding owner's father in 1967, at which time the recorded mileage stood at circa 29,000. The car was driven extensively during the 1970s by its then owner, including trips abroad and the AMOC sprint at Goodwood. Its entry in the AMOC Register records previous registration marks '6 CYE' (original), 'APA 789A' and '73 MV', together with the fact that it was first owned by one P R Jeanty, a director of coachbuilders Hooper & Co. The Rapide underwent a bare-metal re-spray in Mason's Black in 1974, while in 1970 Aston Martin fitted this car's ZF five-speed gearbox (invoice available). New door bottoms and a stainless-steel exhaust system were fitted by Aston Workshops in 1998.
In May 2006 the Rapide was offered for sale at Bonhams' auction at Aston Martin Works Service, Newport Pagnell (Lot 134). The recorded mileage of 104,948 at that time was warranted as genuine and verified by expired MoTs going back 23 years together with numerous invoices and other paperwork dating back to 1970. The Lagonda's purchaser in May 2006 was none other than Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, and since acquisition the car has been treated to a 'last nut and bolt' complete restoration, including an engine conversion to 4.2 litres capacity by renowned marque specialist R S Williams, for which there are bills totalling some £260,000 in the most substantial history file. Offered fresh from its no-expense-spared rebuild by the factory, 'LR/146/R' has to be the best example of its type currently available and is worthy of the closest inspection.