1963 Aston Martin Lagonda Rapide Saloon Registration no. 301 HWR Chassis no. LR/132/R Engine no. 400/132
Aston Martin revived the famous Lagonda name in 1961 with a luxurious four-door sports saloon the Rapide that took its appellation from one of the marque's most exalted models of the late 1930s. Beneath the Rapide's Superleggera aluminium coachwork (by Touring of Milan, the carrozzeria responsible for the Aston Martin DB4 sports car) was a lengthened (by 16") DB4 platform-type chassis reconfigured 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 Aston Martin 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 fittings to the traditional 'gentlemen's club' interior included electric windows, picnic tables to the rear, filler cap remote opener and a radio as standard. The Rapide's price when new was £5,000, some 25 percent higher than that of the Aston Martin DB4, which itself was not exactly a cheap automobile. A mere 55 units, almost all of which were equipped with Borg Warner three-speed automatic transmission, were built before production ceased in 1964. Chassis number 'LR/132/R' comes with a copy of its factory build sheet revealing that the car was delivered new to W P Butterfield Limited of Shipley, Yorkshire finished in Biarritz Blue with fawn Connolly hide interior. Its original registration was 'RB 237'. The only additional owner listed is one L Laurier of Proofmaster Services, London E15, the date of the change being unrecorded. Six visits to the factory for servicing are listed, the last of which, dated August 1967 at 37,551 miles, included removing the rear suspension and reassembling with new parts, installing a new exhaust system and fitting Fiamm horns. Presented in 'barn find' condition, '301 HWR' was last taxed in 1995 and currently displays a total of 63,323 miles on the odometer. The car comes with old-style logbook and Swansea V5 document and is sold strictly as viewed.