As forecast in our detailed marque analysis in last month's MOTOR SPORT, Aston Martin has revived the Lagonda name with a series of four-door Virage saloons and five-door Shooting Brakes. Two have been completed and another three are under construction at the Newport Pagnell factory.
The Lagondas will not appear in new car price guides, however. They are available as conversions (or enhancements, as AML describes them) on customers' existing Virages, and the prices are steep: £115,000 for the saloon and £121,000 for the Shooting Brake, plus VAT.
The first two cars on the road also have the £28,000 6.3-litre, 500 horsepower engine conversion which amply compensates for the additional weight. A short road trial in the Shooting Brake was enough to underline the vivid acceleration available, though the claimed top speed of 170 mph was left well alone.
The body conversion, engineered by former employee Mike Loasby on a consultancy basis, is elegant and possibly improves the appearance of the Shooting Brake. The Lagonda becomes a genuine four-seat saloon with quite generous space for adults in the rear, at least comparable with that in a medium size family model.
Kingsley Riding-Felce, the responsible director, says that 70 per cent of the car is new, everything behind the front bulkhead in fact. Costs could certainly be contained by buying an early Virage for upwards of £60,000 and using that as a base.
The conversion includes the suspension and brake modifications offered with the Virage 6.3 rebuild, with softer springs and stiffer roll resistance. This proves to be a successful line of development, the two-ton Lagonda driving very well at speed on country roads.
Loasby was responsible for a previous Lagonda four-door based on an Aston Martin, seen at Earls Court in 1974. Just seven were made, a figure that the new Lagonda seems likely to surpass.
M L C