The Lagonda brand was founded in 1906 by Wilbur Gunn. Having won the controversial 1935 Le Mans 24 hour race with a Lagonda M45R driven by John Stuart Hindmarsh and Luis Fontés, the Lagonda Rapide V12 introduced in 1939 was the most expensive car in the United States at the time of its launch.
The Lagonda ethos was to be “the finest of fast cars”. Alas with the effects of the great depression still biting and the clouds of war gathering over Europe, demand for such an expensive motorcar car was weak and the company filed for bankruptcy.
In 1947 the marque was bought by David Brown, who revived it almost 30 years later with the launch of the wedge-shaped Aston Martin Lagonda V8 at the London Motorshow in 1976. Its bold design was perhaps ahead of its time, and certainly polarising. Only years later has an appreciation of its quirky design grown, with values now rising sharply, no doubt in part due to their scarcity with only 645 having been built.
It was to be almost another 30 years before Aston Martin once again revived the Lagonda brand, again with a luxury saloon called the Taraf which was unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The name meaning “ultimate luxury” in Arabic, the motorcar was squarely aimed at the Middle Eastern market, though later, upon the orders of newly appointed CEO Andy Palmer, the car was made available for sale in other markets most notably the United Kingdom and Europe.
With only 120 production units being built, the Lagonda Taraf is one of the world’s rarest saloon motorcars. Built in both left and right-hand-drive variants, and sold by invitation only, the car carried an ex-works price tag of £685,000 in the United Kingdom. With such scarcity of cars in the market, it is little surprise that the Lagonda Taraf is mainly in the hands of globally significant collectors.
The Taraf is powered by a 48-valve, 6.0-litre V12 engine generating a maximum power output of 540 PS (397 kW; 533 hp) at 6,650 rpm and 630 N⋅m (465 lb⋅ft) of torque at 5,500 rpm. The engine transfers power to the rear wheels via an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission mounted between the rear wheels. The chassis utilises the Aston Martin VH Generation3 platform, underpinning the DB9 and the Rapide, with a stretched wheelbase. The body panels are made of carbon fibre.
Ordered from the factory by the current owner in German LHD specification, this motor currently resides in California. For reasons of discretion, it is not the car pictured.
Finished in Carbon Black, over an Ivory Caithness leather interior the car sports a stealthy appeal set off by graphite wheel finish, black grilles and satin chrome trims.
Having covered under 350 miles, the motorcar is in perfect condition and ready to enjoy or add to a collection.
The car is available to view by appointment in Southern California.