Rare Rides: Aston Martin's Incredibly Rare 2017 Lagonda Taraf
Sometimes, motorcars of high specification end up off-limits to some markets due to issues relatively outside the manufacturer’s control: funding, distribution, or perhaps regulation. Aston Marton took a different approach with the Lagonda Taraf, and intentionally limited their super sedan to just one market.
Maybe that was for the best.
The Lagonda name conjures up images of one very specific sedan, but that wasn’t always the case. Lagonda was founded in England in 1906 by an American named Wilbur Gunn, who’d decided he didn’t want to be an opera singer any longer. Gunn drew the Lagonda name from the Shawnee settlement which eventually became the location of his hometown — Springfield, Ohio.
Between 1906 and 1940, Lagonda built expensive cars at their singular factory. The company fell on hard times and was sold to a new investor in 1935, but continued to slowly produce new cars in between wars. No cars were built between 1940 and 1948, and the company changed hands again in 1947. Aston Martin took over, and immediately folded Lagonda in as a subsidiary.
After building less than 800 cars between 1948 and 1958, the company went dormant. Aston Martin brought it back in 1961, with a limited run of 55 Rapide sedans. Another dormant period was followed by a revival, this time of the Aston Martin Lagonda everyone remembers. It’s the one designed in the Seventies with a ruler, and then filled with incredibly
complex and reliable flammable electrics. Rare Rides covered that relatively common sedan in past. The last rectangular sedan was produced in 1989.
For Lagonda’s 100th birthday in 2009, Aston Martin proclaimed there’d be a new Lagonda, as its parent sought to branch out to the luxury sedan market space. Six years later, production began. The new Taraf did not wear the Aston Martin badge at all, as its official manufacturer was Lagonda. The name, Taraf, was selected to appeal to the car’s target market in the Middle East. Meaning “ultimate luxury” in Arabic, the Taraf would be sold only to the super rich in the region.
Power was supplied by a German-built and Ford-assembled 6-liter V12 borrowed from the Vanquish, which generated 533 horsepower and a hefty 465 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic routed power only to the rear wheels. The considerable 212-inch length of the Taraf rode on the same platform as Aston Martin’s DB9 and Rapide. Zero to 60 arrived in 4.4 seconds, and the Taraf traveled on to a top speed of 195.
The interior received most of its materials and switches from existing Aston Martin cars, and could be perceived as a bit dated these three years later. The few select buyers could choose from various leather and wood interior accouterments. Production lasted from 2015 to 2016, with just 120 examples made. The asking price for each one was $1,000,000. Then Lagonda went dormant once more.
Todays Taraf is surprisingly located in California, where its importation was likely under the Show or Display regulation for limited-production vehicles. With 293 miles on the clock and a sweet Garmin navigation system in the dash, the asking price is on request.
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