As­ton Martin Lagonda is com­ing back (maybe)

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - DAMIEN O’CAR­ROLL

While it has owned Lagonda since 1947, As­ton Martin has never re­ally seemed com­mit­ted to do­ing much with the leg­endary brand.

Fol­low­ing As­ton’s pur­chase, pro­duc­tion restarted us­ing ex­ist­ing de­signs and con­tin­ued un­til 1958, but even­tu­ally pe­tered out. A four-door ver­sion of the As­ton Martin DB4 called the Lagonda Rapide was built be­tween 1961 and 1965, while a four-door model based on the As­ton Martin DBS was built be­tween 1974 and 1976.

In 1976, ar­guably the most widely known Lagonda made un­der As­ton’s own­er­ship ap­peared, the mag­nif­i­cent As­ton Martin Lagonda ‘‘wedge’’ that was avail­able un­til 1989.

Well, at least in the­ory. It only ever made 645.

De­spite much mut­ter­ing about res­ur­rect­ing the brand, a few show cars and a very lim­ited run of sedans and shoot­ing brakes based on the As­ton Martin Vi­rage for some ‘‘ex­clu­sive’’ cus­tomers (Mid­dle Eastern roy­alty) Lagonda pretty much dis­ap­peared un­til 2008 when As­ton an­nounced it would be re­viv­ing the brand for its cen­te­nary in 2009.

The idea was that Lagonda would pro­duce a range of high- end SUVs so, of course, noth­ing hap­pened un­til it pro­duced a hy­per-lux­ury NZ$1.3 mil­lion dol­lar twin-turbo V12-pow­ered sedan called the Taraf in 2014. Just 200 were made.

That patchy in­con­sis­tence could be about to change, how­ever, be­cause now the com­pany has an­nounced that it will un­veil an new Lagonda SUV in 2021, which it says will be the first lux­ury SUV ex­clu­sively driven by zero emis­sion pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies and will ‘‘up­hold all the qual­i­ties of the re-in­vented su­per-lux­ury mar­que.’’ The Lagonda SUV will fea­ture an evo­lu­tion of the de­sign lan­guage re­cently seen on the ’Vi­sion Con­cept’ that was un­veiled at this year’s Geneva Mo­tor Show.

As­ton Martin says the SUV will be built around ‘‘near-fu­ture tech­nolo­gies’’, mak­ing the Lagonda SUV some­thing the com­pany claims will be the first of its kind: an ‘‘ul­tra-stylish, supremely lux­u­ri­ous, fully elec­tric emis­sion-free ve­hi­cle.’’ ‘‘In re­viv­ing one of the most iconic names in mo­tor­ing we have cre­ated a unique op­por­tu­nity,’’ says As­ton Martin pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Dr Andy Palmer.

‘‘One that al­lows us to cast aside an in­her­ited 20th cen­tury ap­proach and in­stead de­sign cars around 21st cen­tury de­mands and de­sires.

‘‘The Lagonda SUV is the first of its kind: a spa­cious, high­per­for­mance 4x4 that suc­cess­fully rec­on­ciles a love of tech­nol­ogy, lux­ury and style.’’ As­ton Martin EVP and chief cre­ative of­fi­cer, Marek Re­ich­man says: ‘‘The Lagonda SUV will re­tain the bold­ness of the Vi­sion Con­cept.

‘‘Lagonda is a lux­ury brand, but it is also one rooted in tech­nol­ogy. It will be like no other SUV to drive, so its looks have to re­flect that new re­al­ity and to serve as pathfinder to a fu­ture in which the most de­sir­able and prestigious au­to­mo­biles still have a place.’’ A Lagonda for the fu­ture sounds good. But then it has threat­ened to do that be­fore.

The leg­en­dar­ily an­gu­lar As­ton Martin Lagonda was (the­o­ret­i­cally) avail­able un­til 1989.

As­ton Martin is set to re­vive the Lagonda name in 2021 on an all-elec­tric SUV.

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