5 forgotten Anglo-Italian collaborations

The Touring-bodied Aston Martins are perhaps the most famous examples of English cars with Italian bodywork – but here are some lesser-known rarities with the same parentage...

Lagonda Rapide by Touring

Built at Newport Pagnell alongside the Aston Martin DB4 – with which it shared the same (albeit lengthened) chassis and Touring’s patented Superleggera body construction – the Lagonda Rapide was very much David Brown’s personal project. Created with chairmen like himself in mind, he stated it must “equally be suitable to drive or be driven in”. Only 55 were built, hence their rarity on the market.

Jaguar XK220 Brunei by Pininfarina

In the mid-1990s, the Sultan of Brunei and his brother Prince Jefri famously went on a supercar-buying spree, after which they enlisted some of the world’s best designers to give them a complete visual overhaul. This included sending Pininfarina a Jaguar XJ220 to play with, the result not only arguably better-resolved (bar the ugly headlights), but also more reminiscent of its XJR-15 predecessor.

Bentley R Type Continental by Pininfarina

The vast majority of Bentley’s legendary R Type Continentals were completed on domestic soil by H.J. Mulliner – only one was sent to Italy, with Pininfarina the chosen coachbuilder. Chassis #BC49C has barely been seen since, with records showing the fastback last changed hands in 1980, bought by an American high-end collector still very active on the scene.

Aston Martin Twenty Twenty by Italdesign

This early-2000s project wasn’t intended to improve the appearance of the then-new DB7 Vantage on which it was based (thankfully, as it would have failed miserably). Rather, it was designed as a visual representation of what an Aston ‘Spider’ might look like in the year 2020. The stress-bearing aluminium exoskeleton was an interesting prospect – but perhaps Italdesign should now have another attempt, and name it ‘hindsight’?

Jaguar D-type by Michelotti

No, we’re not mistaken – there's no tailfin to be found here, but instead a rather more orthodox body, somewhat reminiscent of Giovanni Michelotti’s designs for Triumph and Maserati. The underpinnings originally came from a D-type that crashed at Le Mans in 1958; five years later, Michelotti would give it a new lease of life at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show. It resurfaced at the 2014 Chantilly Arts & Elegance in a restored state.

Photos: Silverstone Auctions, Pininfarina, Italdesign