The AMOC Concours-winning 1963 Aston Martin Lagonda Rapide Saloon Registration no. 98 GXR Chassis no. LR/138/R Engine no. 400/138
Aston Martin revived the dormant Lagonda name in 1961 with the luxurious Rapide four-door saloon, a car that was very much David Brown's personal project. The Rapide's sales brochure, which, unusually, was signed by him personally, stated: 'It has long been my ambition to build a car which would be equally suitable to drive or be driven in...' Beneath the Superleggera aluminium coachwork by Touring of Milan was a lengthened DB4 chassis reconfigured by Harold Beach 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 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 interior fittings included electric windows, picnic tables to the rear, filler cap remote opening, and radio as standard. Just 55 units, almost all of which were equipped with Borg Warner three-speed automatic transmission, were built before production ceased in 1964. Lagonda Rapide chassis number 'LR/138/R' was delivered new to A J Gordon (Aveley) Ltd on 5th December 1963 and comes with a most detailed summary of its ownership, servicing, maintenance and concours history. In October 1968 at 54,374 miles it was road tested by Aston Martin, possibly for next owner Dr Kibbler, a resident of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, and in 1972 was repainted with minor body work refurbishment. Its next owner - Brian Tustain - purchased the car at the Walton & Hipkiss auction at Stoneliegh in October 1988. '98 GXR' gained a 1st at the Stanway Concours in 1989 and another in 1990 at the Silverstone Concours. It featured in Classic & Sports Car magazine (November 1990 issue) before going on display at the Midland Motor Museum in August 1992. The car is also featured in the following works on Aston Martin and Lagonda: Original Aston Martin by Robert Edwards, page 55-57; Aston Martin Heritage by Nixon/Newton, page 47; Aston Martin & Lagonda (Vol 2 V8) by Paul Chudecki, page 44; and Aston Martin Ever the Thorobred by Robert Edwards, page 62-64. In July 1997, by which time it had covered 102,000 miles, '98 GXR' was entered in the AMOC Silverstone Concours, gaining a 2nd place award. Loaned to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust in 2001 and displayed at the Barn HQ, Drayton St Leonards, Oxfordshire, the car was sold to the immediately preceding owner in March 2003 (at 102,589 miles) and during his ownership was maintained by Davron, Aston Martin specialists in Salisbury. In August 2003 '98 GXR' attended the AMOC Open Day at Aston Martin Gaydon and the AMOC Concours at Wimpole Hall, coming 2nd. The car was serviced by Davron in October 2003 (at 104,002 miles) before successfully completing the 5th North Wiltshire Tour. Further concours success was achieved at the 2004 AMOC Woburn Abbey Spring event (1st place). In June 2004 a bespoke stainless-steel exhaust system was made and fitted, and on 2nd October 2004 a new MoT certificate was issued (at 106,036 miles). The Lagonda was purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams' sale at Aston Martin Works Service, Newport Pagnell in June 2005 (Lot 112) and was last MoT'd/taxed to August/November 2008.