Daily Podcast: Lieberman Edition – What's a Lagonda Anyway?

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz

The name “Lagonda” is one of those car brands you hear tossed around in historical context like the proverbial football. But I was the bad athlete in elementary school, and so no one threw me the football. Apparently Aston Martin, which owns the name, is going to start cranking out cars with the Lagonda badge again. Until recently, I had no real idea what a Lagonda was, is, or is supposed to be. So first thing’s first: prewar Lagondas. From the company’s first car in 1907 until World War II, Lagonda made the kinds of cars you sort of imagine when you think “sports car” and “prewar.” Some models were better than others, some had 1.1 liter 4-cylinder engines, others had 4.5 liter inline sixes, and even some had 4.5 liter V12s with a 5000 rpm “redline.” Many of these cars were even designed by W.O. Bentley, the founder of Bentley Motors, who was pushed out of his namesake company. And during that prewar era, Lagonda was (arguably, to history geeks) a real competitor to Bentley and Rolls-Royce. After World War II, the British car industry started to implode, everybody was merging, and Aston Martin bought Lagonda. And then Aston more or less croaked the Lagonda brand. They produced some of their prewar cars into the 1950s, and also did the original “Rapide” – which essentially looked like a four door Aston DB4. Very cool, but only 50-some cars were ever made. And then Lagonda became the badge for the crazy four door Aston Martin sedans from the 1970s and 1980s that we’ve all seen. And now you know.

Justin Berkowitz
Justin Berkowitz

Immensely bored law student. I've also got 3 dogs.

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  • Beetlebug Beetlebug on Sep 24, 2008

    The last Lagonda from Aston Martin is still a striking car. The shape is very wedge crazy 70's overall but it wears it well. I saw one in person this year just parked at a beach parking lot in LA. It had seen better days and I hate to think of what it took to keep it running but it had quite a presence. You don't realize how long, wide, and very low the car is just from pictures. I hope anything new can have such presence.

  • Nicodemus Nicodemus on Sep 24, 2008

    "They produced some of their prewar cars into the 1950s, and also did the original “Rapide” - which essentially looked like a four door Aston DB4." The original 'Rapide' was a pre-war car, not the one you are thinking of. It looked like a cross between a [Jaguar]SS100 and a Mercedes Benz SSK with maybe a bit of Invicta low chassis with which it shared some components. http://www.motorbase.com/vehicle/by-id/-1753056520/

  • Chuckgoolsbee Chuckgoolsbee on Sep 25, 2008

    Nicodemus, nice to know some other gearheads here understand history enough to know what an SS100 is! I had the amazing privilege to ride in one two weeks ago. Amazing machine and truly beautiful to behold. Much smaller than either the Lagonda or the SSK though. MUCH smaller. --chuck

  • Doctorv8 Doctorv8 on Sep 25, 2008

    Jonny....not even close.