Aston Martin launched the hugely expensive Lagonda Taraf as a modern take on one of their most iconic cars.
Picture Aston Martin today, and you’re likely enamored with the beautiful lines and sonorous engine note of the $200,000 DB11. Perhaps your mind conjures up images of the 1960s with the DB5, or the 1970s with the Vantage – known as “Britain’s first supercar”. What you may not think of, however, is a wedge-shaped car with pop-up headlamps crammed full of wonky electronics. Such a car exists, though – it’s the original Aston Martin Lagonda, built from 1974 to 1990.
Only 645 Lagonda’s were built, and owners had to pay a whopping $10,000 deposit just for the privilege of maybe, someday owning one. When it was first introduced, Aston Martin was in dire financial straights. It would have behooved them to play it safe and build something conservative. But instead, they built something totally out of left field. Ironically, though, it drew in hundreds of deposits and saved the company from financial ruin. Ultimately, that car wasn’t tremendously successful thanks to its controversial looks and complicated electronics – most notably its cathode ray tube displays. Now, there’s a modern take on the original car: the Lagonda Taraf.
$1 million buys you “ultimate luxury”, according to Aston Martin
Lagonda was originally founded in 1906. It built its reputation through the first half of the 20th century on the backs of sporty cars until industrialist David Brown bought the marque and merged it with Aston Martin in 1948. The company produced Lagondas off and on until the above-mentioned wedge-shaped Lagonda, but Aston Martin recently revived the name in this car for the Middle Eastern market. It’s not cheap – each example costs over $1 million, and it’s hand-built on the same platform as the ultra-exclusive One-77.
As the Aston Martin Lagonda was back then, however, this car is something out of left field. On the whole, most modern cars’ styling is a complete departure from the cars of yesteryear. The DB11, for instance, displays modern curves and lines that place it on a different planet to the older cars in its bloodline. Even the beautiful DB7 looks like an antique by comparison. Here, though, it looks like the designer harks back to the wedge shaped design of the Lagonda. It’s particularly noticeable in the side profile:
Mind you, it’s not offensively ugly by any means. It’s just…odd, and in many ways unlike its contemporary, two-door siblings. The engine is more conventional – a 6.0-liter V12 dating back to Ford’s tenure overseeing Aston Martin, which produces 540 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. It also hits 60 in an estimated 4.4 seconds, and wafts up to a top speed of 195 miles per hour.
The interior is fairly conventional, and clad in sumptuous leather trim. As you’d expect, this being a million-dollar car. It also features a standard, if slightly antiquated, navigation system and 1,000-watt Bang and Olufsen stereo. However, that’s not the strangest part about the Lagonda Taraf. When it was first launched, Aston Martin’s CEO promised only 200 cars would be built. Furthermore, it’s not like the brand has serious staying power in today’s marketplace, even among exclusive cars. You’ve probably heard of Maybach, but Lagonda?
This car is still fundamentally an Aston Martin
So, to recap: the Lagonda Taraf was an effort by a low-volume manufacturer to build an even lower-volume car with a name that graces one of the most strange and sensational cars the company has ever produced. It’s hugely expensive – perhaps not in itself all that surprising – but under the body, it’s still largely an Aston Martin. It’s still different enough, for sure. The few people who own one likely consider its strangeness and rarity its best virtues.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments! Check back to TFLcar.com for more interesting and strange cars. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views and real-world reviews. Watch the video below for Roman’s impressions of an original Aston Martin Lagonda: