Lagonda, by Bernd Holthusen. Palawan, £275 cloth, £750 leather.
This is the first of Palawan’s “superbooks” not to have been specially commissioned. Hofthusen’s work has been available in German for a while, to much acclaim, but this English version makes it clear that the thoroughness of his text is on a par with the excellent presentation we now expect from this publisher.
Extending from Lagonda’s inception to its incorporation with Aston-Martin, the coverage is scrupulous, and the numerous (745!) period pictures of the factory and the cars are extremely well reproduced, many being digitally restored. A comprehensive thumbnail run-down of absolutely every model, including one-offs, is an invaluable extra, and the huge page size allows the pictures to impress. There are catalogue pages and F Gordon Crosby illustrations, too. However, some picture editing might be a benefit four excellent photos of one car can be a pleasure to wallow in; 14 can be too many.
As before, the tombstone-sized book comes in cloth at £Good Grief! or leather at £Are They Serious? but there is sensible marketing strategy at work here, since they seemingly sell out of the 50 expensive ones even faster than the 1000 “penny-plain” examples. And in the end, this is the same philosophy as Lagonda pre-war build the best, sell a few, charge a lot. Even though few readers will ever see a copy, it is hard to imagine that this is anything but the best Lagonda book of all. GC