Fit for a King

Bespoke - - ULTIMATE CAR -

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.

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