Year of manufacture1964
Number of seats2
In current family ownership since 1968
1964 Aston Martin Lagonda Rapide Sports Saloon
Chassis no. LR/155/R
Engine no. 400/155
Aston Martin revived the famous Lagonda name in 1961 with a luxurious four-door sports saloon the Rapide that took its appellation from one of the marque's most exalted models of the late 1930s. 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 reconfigured 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 percent 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.
The last of the 55 hand built, special-order cars manufactured at Newport Pagnell, all slightly different, chassis number 'LR/155/R' was delivered to Brooklands of Bond Street on 16th January 1964. The factory build sheet lists its exterior colour as Goodwood Green and the upholstery as White Gold. It was fitted with the Motorola 818 radio bearing the inscription 'Lagonda', a genuine rarity, and registered '90 GYL'.
The car's first owner, as confirmed by the accompanying original registration document, was Edward Farr of Messers Edward Farr Ltd of Wickford, Essex. A mere four months later it was acquired by Guinness Breweries of Park Royal, London for the personal use of the General Manager, Sir Hugh Beaver, who became a passionate owner. He died in January 1967 and the car was kept in storage by the firm until 1968. In December of that year the Lagonda was bought from Park Royal Brewery by the current owner and his father, and in January 1970 was exported to Australia. Joining the family's private collection of classic cars, including eight other Lagondas and four Alvis, it was used sparingly by the new owners over the next ten years and has covered only 4,000 miles since it was last at the Works in 1969. The current odometer reading is 64,071 miles.
In 2010 the Rapide was taken out of storage and re-commissioned. All mechanical components were refurbished; a bare-metal re-spray undertaken in the original colour; all chrome work re-polished or re-chromed; and new stainless steel bumper bars fitted as well as seals for the bonnet, doors and boot. The interior has been left entirely original, including worn carpet and modest veneer lift on the dashboard, and lovely patination of the leather. Since then it has been driven only once, as a family wedding car.
Providing an almost unbeatable combination of luxury, refinement and performance in a four-door saloon, '155' is presented today in its elegant original livery of dark Goodwood Green. The styling, both inside and out, with four Carello lights at the front, is a perfect blend of sportiness and sophistication. The centre of the three-spoke steering wheel displays the initials 'DB' for David Brown, while the Smiths instruments provide the driver with all the information needed. The opulent varnished burr walnut dashboard is perfectly in keeping with the full magnolia leather upholstery. Other details, such as the walnut veneered picnic tables for the rear passengers, are further reminders of this car's luxury status in the early 1960s. Interestingly, there are groove marks in the underside of the boot lid when in an earlier life a Guinness beer barrel was squeezed in.
Here is an extremely rare opportunity to buy a highly original Rapide, the last in the series, with effectively two owners from new, the current for the last 46 years. Accompanying documentation consists of the original UK buff logbook, a current Australian roadworthiness certificate and copies of the factory build and service sheets, the latter itemising the extensive maintenance carried out under warranty and in its earlier years. The car also comes with its original jack, hub spanner, copper wheel hammer and original maintenance instructions (abridged), together with an original DB5 handbook and a Lagonda Rapide sales brochure. Should the vehicle remain in the UK, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the purchase price.