Aston Martin revived the dormant Lagonda name in 1961 with the luxurious Rapide four-door saloon - a car that was very much David Brown's personal project. The Rapide's sale brochure, which unusually was signed by him personally, stated "It has long been my ambition to build a car which would equally be suitable to drive or be driven in..." Beneath the Superleggera aluminium coachwork by Touring of Milan was a lengthened DB4 chassis, reconfigured to accept De Dion rear suspension, the adoption of which allowed rear compartment space to be maximised.
Offered here today, ‘1077 PP' was delivered on 19th December 1963 as chassis number 53 of only 55 cars. The car was originally built to order for Hawker Siddeley Ltd and originally finished in Aegean Blue with a Fawn Connolly hide interior as confirmed by the original factory build sheets. It is believed to have been the personal car of Sir Arnold Hall, Group Chairman and Managing Director of the company at the time, known for their expertise in the manufacture of aircraft.
Ownership of this rare beauty then passed to motor traders, Sanders & Co of Hendon, London on November 1974, before being bought by a Mr Nicholas Channing of Cranleigh in September 1975, who also owned chassis number 46 at that time. The car was then sold to a Mr Robert McNab of Kensington, London in 1984 with the odometer reading just over 80,000 miles. Mr McNab kept the car for a further 19 years, but rarely used it, so when our vendor purchased the car in August 2003, there were only another 300 additional miles on the odometer, which was then reading a total of 80,300 miles.
Due to lack of garage space in London, where our vendor resides, he kindly loaned the car to well-known motoring journalist, Martin Buckley of Classic & Sports Car fame, who over the next few years used the car frequently and often filled column inches in the aforementioned magazine writing about ‘1077 PP'.
Invoices in the history file from 2004/5 show that some £11,000 was spent with Graham Whitehouse Autos of Halesowen to ensure the car remained in more roadworthy condition. Work undertaken included new discs and pads all round, new suspension, a thorough engine tune and a refresh of all the electrics. At the same time Whitehouse carried out the fitment of a new Jaguar XJ40 four-speed automatic gearbox in place of the original three-speed unit, a conversion that they have carried out on at least three other Rapides, making them more useable.
Once the odometer rolled round to 90,650 miles, the decision was made to give the car a full restoration under the watchful eye of well-respected restorer John Wills of Cotswold Classic Car Restorations. The brief was to restore as much of the car as possible whilst retaining its originality.
Photographically recorded and documented fully in the history file from 2011 to mid-2014, some £70,000 was spent giving the car a full bare-metal respray in Dubonnet Rosso, a full engine rebuild and a sympathetic refurbishment of the cabin. A number of other improvements were made at the same time which is all listed in the bundles of invoices that accompany the car.
Presented in superb condition, with fresh paint and a newly rebuilt DB4 engine, this matching numbers and rare car is ready to be enjoyed by a new custodian. With its plotted history and fresh MoT, this is surely a car that cannot be overlooked by any serious car collector.