Lagonda: Revival of an almost forgotten brand
The Lagonda Concept Car made its
public debut overnight in Geneva.
6th March, 2009
Aston Martin has announced the return of Lagonda, one of the oldest
names in luxury car manufacturing.
The revival of Lagonda fulfils a long-term vision and will bring performance luxury into new markets and
territories around the world for Aston Martin Lagonda. Ultimately, Lagonda will be a strong presence in 100 global
territories, vastly increasing the global reach of the company and extending to new customers.
Reflecting its remarkable history, the brand will return to Russia, enter emerging markets in the Middle East,
South America, India and China, as well as responding to demand from the dynamic, innovation-focused consumers of
Europe, North America and the Far East.
“The Lagonda is the luxury car of the future,” says Aston Martin Lagonda Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez,
“a combination of total usability, a new form and innovative new technology and materials.”
Lagonda is committed to innovative new propulsion technologies, new materials and elegant forms, providing a
functional luxury car for the near future. Critically, the brand will allow the exploration of alternative
powertrain solutions including flexfuel, low emission diesel and hybrid systems. Lagonda will epitomise the
intersection of craft, design and technology with Aston Martin's established high performance expertise.
The intention is for Lagonda to enter the market place with a unique performance avant-garde luxury product,
a vehicle that combines exceptional ability with unsurpassed elegance, inside and out. The LAGONDA CONCEPT is a
powerful four-wheel drive, four-seater car that will satisfy the most discerning and demanding owner.
“An Aston Martin is an authentic, pure sports car,” says Dr Ulrich Bez, “but Lagonda is something
else, a new brand that will reach into new markets. Lagonda will create a new kind of customer relationship,
instilling the spirit of travel, adventure and style into a single, formidable package. An Aston Martin demands
to be driven. A Lagonda demands a destination.”
The return of Lagonda fulfils a long-term vision. Aston Martin's modern era began in 2001 with the launch of
the V12 Vanquish and the construction of the award-winning headquarters at Gaydon, Warwickshire (England) in
2003. In the years that followed, Aston Martin has launched four class-leading new products, revitalising the
performance GT category and redefining automotive beauty.
Aston Martin's award-winning range, the DBS, DB9, Vantage and forthcoming Rapide and One-77, represent some
of the most beautiful high performance cars ever built, refined, highly crafted and extremely well-engineered.
An Aston Martin will always be a sports car; modern, exclusive and beautiful, it demands to be driven, with an
exceptional 'character' that rewards the enthusiast, both on the road and on the track. Above all, an Aston
Martin provides an 'emotional' response. It is a machine with 'soul'.
Not only will Lagonda join Aston Martin in existing core markets, but the unique character of the new brand
will help take the company into as many as 100 territories around the world and extend the brand to new customers.
The Lagonda Concept Car
Lagonda is one of the great names in automotive history, a brand associated with luxury, performance, grace
and exclusivity. Since the first Lagonda production car, was built 100 years ago by the American-born Wilbur Gunn,
the Lagonda name has undergone several 'revivals', before it began to excel at making racing cars and sporting
Gunn's first car was built in his home workshop in Middlesex, England in 1909. In 1910, Gunn drove his 16/18 hp
Lagonda Tourer to victory in the Russian Reliability Trial, a spectacular event run by the Imperial Automobile
Club of Russia as a public relations exercise for the country's nascent road system. The win brought in many
orders, and Gunn focused his attention on the Russian market, establishing dealerships in St Petersburg and Moscow
In truth, Russian roads presented entrants with daunting driving conditions and the route, which included St
Petersburg, Riga, Kiev and Moscow, was a rigorous test for any car. Gunn's success was a vindication of the
Lagonda's sturdy build and swift performance. It was not until the following year that Lagonda began marketing
cars in its home country, beginning a limited production of light cars that was eventually halted by the First
Throughout the 20s and 30s, the company expanded its premises in Staines, England with the light cars giving
way to more substantial touring models. Lagonda came to epitomise the Edwardian passion for setting new records
and exploring new territories, with robust and reliable vehicles that could effortlessly forge trans-continental
In 1933, the manufacturer launched the M45 at the Olympia Motor Show in London, a sporting tourer powered by
the Henry Meadows designed six-cylinder 4.5 litre engine. The prototype was driven by the aristocrat and
enthusiast Edward Russell, Lord de Clifford, from Dieppe to Brindisi in Greece, beating the express train along
the same route by some 14 hours. The result was a media sensation.
The M45 quickly became known as a car for the discerning sportsman, fast and capable yet also sufficiently
comfortable for long journeys. In its day it had the largest engine in its class, a distinction that attracted
owners like the land speed record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell, who had his M45 painted in his signature blue.
The emerging sport of long distance endurance racing also became an integral part of Lagonda's development. In
June 1935, a light weight version of the M45 won the Le Mans 24 hours, with John Hindmarsh and Luis Fontes behind
the wheel. This was a landmark achievement for the brand, as well as a highpoint of British sports car racing
in the inter-war era following Bentley's heyday in the 1920s.
The same month, Lagonda was bought by Alan Good, a charismatic British lawyer whose first task was to enlist
the skills of engineer W.O. Bentley. The results were the LG45 styled by Frank Feeley that represented the apex
of the engineering skills of the time. In 1936, W.O. Bentley designed Lagonda's first V12, an engine that was
perfectly at home in the majestic long-wheelbase version of the new chassis.
The Lagondas of the 1930s demonstrated total harmony between engineering and appearance, including the
stately LG6 model introduced in 1937. W.O. Bentley's diligent innovation and refinement continued throughout the
war, and the company developed the LG6 into a V12 model, an even more 'imposing and dignified' saloon that sadly
ceased production before the start of the war. Simultaneously, the engineer developed a new six cylinder engine,
during the war, the benefits of which were soon to be reaped by Aston Martin.
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Aston Martin's association with Lagonda began in 1947, when David Brown, the marque’s new owner, purchased the
company for £52,500. The collaboration gave Aston Martin access to W.O.Bentley's new 2.6L DOHC six cylinder engine, as
well as the talents of the company's long-serving bodywork stylist Frank Feeley.
Feeley was responsible for the elegant drophead variant of the new 2.6 litre, the first Lagonda of the David Brown
era, produced from 1948 to 1953. At the end of 1952 the 2.6 litre was developed into the 3.0 litre, which used a
revised version of the W.O. Bentley engine. The two-door saloon was soon joined by a four-door and a drophead coupe.
The next Lagonda was the Touring-designed Rapide of 1963, a sleek four-door saloon that shared many components with the
Aston Martin DB4. Fifty-five were built, of which 48 survive. In the late 1960s, Aston Martin's head designer, William
Towns, developed a new four-door saloon from the Aston Martin DBS. Just seven examples were built in the mid-1970s.
In 1976, Aston Martin announced a Lagonda for a new era, a unique, innovative car designed by William Towns in the
contemporary 'wedge' fashion he made his own. Standing aesthetically and technologically distinct from the Aston Martin
range, the Lagonda was bold and experimental, a high performance luxury saloon for the truly discerning.
The Lagonda name was briefly revived for the Vignale Concept, an imposing luxury saloon built by Ghia Design in 1993.
One example survives. The name was also used for the strictly limited production of the Lagonda Virage Saloon and
Shooting Brake in 1994.
Lagonda's history is long and eventful, encompassing two of the most significant figures in twentieth century
British engineering, W.O.Bentley and David Brown, racing glory and some of the most dramatic designs in automotive
In the 21st century, Lagonda will return, bringing a sense of adventure and the avant-garde to the luxury car
market, honouring a remarkable history while also making a bold statement for the future.
Lagonda: Did you know?
- Lagonda was founded in 1899
- Car production started in 1909
- In 1910 Lagonda began exporting to Russia
- Lagonda won Le Mans in 1935 with a lightweight version of the M45
- Aston Martin’s David Brown purchased Lagonda in 1947
The LAGONDA CONCEPT celebrates 100 years of car production under the Lagonda brand, a stunning contemporary
evolution of this evocative name.
The modern Lagonda combines functionalism with luxury, through 'organic' forms, rich materials and complex
surfaces. The car is based on an advanced platform that is tailored to accommodate a broad range of future
powertrains, including flexfuel, low emission diesel and hybrid systems.
The LAGONDA CONCEPT is a four-seat international tourer, an avant-garde luxury car that draws inspiration
from the brand's illustrious past as well as the visual language of speed boat design, the spacious
individualist environment of the upper class cabin and the bespoke feel of contemporary modern furniture. Inside,
the result is a relaxed, rich environment that envelops you in warm, tactile materials.
Marek Reichman, Aston Martin's Director of Design, describes the LAGONDA CONCEPT's design language as a fusion
of fluid shapes mixed with hard, constructed lines. This organic, emotional approach eschews upright surfaces in
favour of broad, flowing body work around the spacious passenger cabin.
The Lagonda Concept Car
The clear delineation between cabin, shoulder and flank is strongly reminiscent of the powerful and evocative
lines of the 1930s era Lagondas, in particular the V12-engined version of the LG6. Viewed from the front of the
concept, the deep, strong grille also evokes the presence and frontage of the cars from the inter-war era. The
bold 'character' lines that run along the sculpted flanks to the rear ensure the concept is planted firmly on the
road. The large 22" wheels and cut-away bodywork offer exceptional ground clearance, while the concept's V12
engine delivers power through all four wheels.
A modern automotive brand must have strong core values and a broad range of abilities. The modern Lagonda
will be the pre-eminent long-distance automobile, a vehicle that combines cosseting luxury with extreme
functionality and technological innovation.
The Lagonda name has been an integral part of the Aston Martin story since 1947. The LAGONDA CONCEPT
illustrates how the brand will once again stand together with Aston Martin as the perfect complement to modern
performance. A Lagonda stands for functional elegance, performance, simplicity and comfort.
“Lagonda will create a new kind of customer relationship, instilling the spirit of travel, adventure and
style into a single, formidable package,” says Dr Ulrich Bez. “An Aston Martin demands to be driven. A
Lagonda demands a destination.”
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