Fit for a King
The Lagonda Taraf is the most exclusive saloon on the road today. Built by Aston Martin, it revives the historic Lagonda nameplate for a strictly limited series. Each car may cost five times more than the Rapide S on which it’s based but given its design and rarity, our gut feeling is that this one will hold value better.
What’s not to love about the Lagonda Taraf? It’s an achingly beautiful, fast and exclusive super saloon by Aston Martin, built under the firm’s more exclusive label, which unlike its sibling, the Rapide S, offers more than enough space for all four occupants. Best of all, it was originally created specifically for the Middle East and I cannot, for the life of me, remember another time a mainstream car manufacturer dedicated such time and resources to making something just for us. “The Lagonda nameplate has always had a particular appeal for our customers in the Middle East,” said Aston’s CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer during the global unveiling at Al Qasr Hotel in Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah, “and I’m sure those who take the opportunity to purchase the new Lagonda will be proud to own what will doubtlessly go on to become a piece of luxury automotive history.” Indeed, given that it’ll be limited to just 200 examples we can easily envision this car becoming the marvel of concours d’elegances a few decades from now. But the Taraf isn’t for everyone – not with that million-dollar sticker price. During the launch we predicted there can only be a few people in this world, let alone region, with the necessary cash to splash on a car like this and, as we suspected, after selling around 50 of them so far to the Arab world’s most affluent connoisseurs (with a further 50 earmarked for our region), they’ve now opened up the order books to the rest of the world (bar the US, which would require the car to be re-homologated). That’s all fine, and the compliment still stands, we did come first after all and for that we shall forever be grateful. Like the historic Lagonda of the 1970s and 80s, the new one is a four-door saloon that features an upright and angular greenhouse that simultaneously strains against, and flows into, the long, low slung beltline of a sport grand tourer. With its stretched aluminium body structure encased in carbon fibre body panels, the car is relatively light and has a surprisingly roomy cabin. In many ways the Taraf is probably the car that most had hoped Aston Martin’s Rapide was going to be before they got stuck in the rear seats struggling to contort themselves back out again. And though I’ve never driven the Taraf – apart from those few lucky owners, no one actually has – I can at least attest to the comfort of the back seats having had the pleasure of trying them out recently alongside Aston’s head of the Middle East, Neil Slade. When people ask me about the Taraf I tell them that you should think of it as a supermodel of the automotive world. After all, this is a car that’s destined to be immortalized as poster art on the walls of boys, the world over. In my books at least, that’s what an Ultimate Car is all about.