The Rare Rides series has covered every generation of Aston Martin’s Lagonda four-door except one. In the Sixties, the Lagonda Rapide helped to define the super sedan class: A grand tourer that could sweep four passengers and their luggage across Continental Europe with ease.
Then there was the late Seventies Lagonda, which had a long production run through 1990. Advanced electronically, that Lagonda was too ambitious and generally earned its reputation as a good-looking, expensive disaster. Finally, there was the Lagonda Taraf, a large sedan designed specifically and cynically for the UAE market. It was built to extract maximum dollars from oil barons and the like. Great success!
But between Lagonda Rapide and Lagonda was a missing link. It was called the Lagonda Series I and is the rarest Aston Martin Lagonda ever made. And one is for sale.
The plain white van you see here is the subject of our second edition of Abandoned History. Though it was produced and sold domestically as eStar by Navistar, it was actually developed in England years prior. In fact, the story of this electric van begins with the traditional black London taxi.
We’ve featured several Aston Martins on Rare Rides previously, but have never covered its most recognizable car: the DB5. Designed in Italy, the DB5 was an instant collector’s item when it starred as James Bond’s ride in Goldfinger.
Today’s collection includes all three different DB5 body styles, each rarer than the last.
Rare Rides has featured a couple of fine Lagonda sedans previously. First was the 1980s rectangle designed by William Towns, which miraculously remained in production from 1976 to 1990. Next was the Lagonda Taraf, a super sedan intended only for the oil-flush UAE market.
Today we bring you the genesis of the Aston Martin Lagonda sedan line, the Rapide.
I’ve been visiting car graveyards since I bought my first hooptie for 50 bucks in the early 1980s, and one thing about American junkyards has remained constant during the following four decades: the presence of 1970s British and Italian sports cars. Maybe they were a bit less weathered in 1987 or 1994 or 2006, but a steady trickle of discarded MGBs, 124 Sport Spiders, X1/9s, Jensen-Healeys, Spitfires, Midgets, and TR7s into U-Wrench yards has flowed at about the same rate throughout. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to discover this allegedly rare 1976 Triumph TR7 Victory Edition in a Denver-area yard last month.
A small British firm headquartered in Coventry, England, Alvis faded from the automotive memory of most long ago. But for over 50 years, Alvis produced quality, hand-made British cars for the moderately- to very-well heeled.
Today’s Graber Super Coupe was one of the more luxurious ones.
Today’s Rare Ride started out in life as an already very expensive Aston Martin Vanquish. Then it was reworked in a significant way by that Italian house of all things coupe, Zagato. Surprisingly, the Italians resisted painting it Rosso Corso Collezione or whatever, as its owner demanded a nice BRG-adjacent matte color.
Let’s check out this sports wagon shaped Aston Martin.
Ever hear of a sporting automotive manufacturer called Spectre? I hadn’t either, until I watched a very old Top Gear clip on YouTube in which Clarkson and some other people visit the 1997 British International Motor Show.
Intrigued, I decide I’d find one for sale. Turns out the listing I found was for the rarest Spectre of all.
Today’s Rare Ride put me immediately in mind of the Austin Cambridge featured in this series last year. Both were intended primarily for British customers, and both have a similar upright sedan shape which seemingly made so many British cars of the Fifties look exactly the same.
Let’s take a look at some basic Euro Ford transportation that was grandfather to the Cortina.