Chassis Number: LR/127/R
Engine Number: 400/121
UK Registration Number: KGJ 364A
Date of first reg: 15th March 1963
Exterior colour: Old English Pewter
Interior colour: Tan Connolly Hide
Current Odometer reading: 2,420 km
Known to many as a "DB4/DB5 4 door" just 55 Lagonda Rapides were built using the same chassis and running gear of their Aston Martin cousins.
A photographic record of a meticulous restoration of the car by Aston Martin Works on behalf of a Swiss billionaire in the late eighties established an excellence of presentation that continues to today. Acquired by its current owner at Christies in Geneva in 1999, she was overhauled by RS Williams and has been used sparingly in the intervening years.
A rare and beautiful example, she represents immense value to collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Aston Martin revived the dormant Lagonda name in 1961 with the luxurious Rapide four-door saloon, a car that was very much David Brown's personal project. The Rapide's sales brochure, which, unusually, was signed by him personally, stated: 'It has long been my ambition to build a car which would be equally suitable to drive or be driven in...'
Beneath the Superleggera aluminium coachwork by Touring of Milan was a lengthened DB4 chassis reconfigured by Harold Beach to accept De Dion rear suspension, the adoption of which allowed rear compartment space to be maximised.
Powered by a 4.0-litre (236bhp) version of the DB4's twin-cam six that would later power the DB5, the Rapide certainly lived up to its name with brisk acceleration and a 130mph-plus top speed. Dual circuit, servo assisted disc brakes restrained this excellent performance, while interior fittings included electric windows, picnic tables to the rear, filler cap remote opening, and radio as standard.
Just 55 units, almost all of which were equipped with Borg Warner three-speed automatic transmission, were built before production ceased in 1964.
Many people refer to the Lagonda Rapide as “the 4 door DB4/5” – fortunately for enthusiasts of the Lagonda marque, the prices remain affordable in comparison to their Aston Martin cousins.
A combination of the original and comprehensive restoration by Works Service together with the long-term ownership within two cossetted collections means that Byron International are able to offer probably one of the best examples of this rare and fabulous car to the market. One of just 55 examples built, there won’t be many opportunities to add one to your collection!
First registered in March 1963 and one of the last of the 55 Lagonda Rapides built, a copy of the original build sheet reveals some interesting points. The first owner was J Hudson (Whistles) Ltd of Birmingham makers of police whistles and now trading as ACME Whistles.
In 1949, they appointed Leon Hudson as Managing Director and he clearly had touring ambitions with the car – having a speaker on the driver’s door, the map pocket on the passenger side and an altimeter on the glovebox lid! A use of the car emphasised by the fitment of a plug for an electric kettle at an early service interval.
There is also an alteration to the originally allocated engine number by what appears to be an Aston Martin allocated engine number but the service record shows that this engine failed in 1966 and was replaced with a new unit – traditional Lagonda number of 400/121.
The early service record for the car that accompanies that original build sheet shows that the car was well used and well maintained in its early years and came into the ownership of a Belgian collector of British cars in 1999 through the services of RS Williams acting on his behalf at a Christies auction in Geneva on 17th May that year. The car had been entered by a Swiss resident, Frenchman Didier Primat, thought to have been one of France's richest men.
The publicity-shy billionaire was a grandson of Marcel Schlumberger, one of the founders of the Schlumberger oil field services company. He held a sizable stake in the company and had served on its board of directors since 1988. With a net worth of almost $3 billion, he held the No. 396 spot on Forbes' list of the world's billionaires. Sadly he is no longer with us; Didier Primat, died in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 6 2008. He was 64.
He was the owner who had between 1987 and 1989 commissioned the full refurbishment of the car by Aston Martin Works Service at Newport Pagnell – at that time, the car still sported the original 1963 registration number of 9339 UK. Registered in Switzerland, that original registration was lost and the car was subsequently registered under its current age dictated number of KGJ 364A. The car was acquired with a recorded odometer reading of 782 kilometres and was brought back to the UK and CARS UK dealt with registration and tax issues and on to RS Williams where the car underwent a typically thorough overhaul and service before being taken to join the new owner’s collection in Belgium where it has remained ever since.
20.03.63- Mileage: 00,895- Service Agent: Aston Martin
1st service, petrol fuses rectified, squeak rectified, replace windscreen wiper motor
08.05.63- Mileage: 05,621- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Carbs cleaned, new petrol pump assembly fitted, timing chain and fan belt adjusted, new cleaning element fitted, engine filled with XL, engine tuned, lubrication service carried out. Idling set, distributor changed. Borg Warner linkage checked, drive shafts changed, H/brake adjusted, oval clip fitted to hypoid unit casing. R/torsion bars adjusted, horn attended to, heater attended to. Mirror set against screen, oil lek from cylinder block rectified, petrol smell rectified, new cap sealing washer fitted. Shock absorber and suspension settings checked. New gaiter fitted to steering arm. Interior courtesy lights attended to; various body rectifications carried out
15.07.63- Mileage: 07,234- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Plugs cleaned and reset, points cleaned and adjusted, cap segments and rotor striker cleaned. Carbs cleaned, needle setting and float levels checked, engine tuned, plug for electric kettle fitted. Replacement hypoid fitted, brakes attended to, new plastic petrol pipes fitted, front and rear shock absorbers checked,
10.02.64- Mileage: 13,761- Service Agent: Aston Martin
5 new tyres fitted; heater control repaired new knob fitted.
26.02.64- Mileage: 14,160- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Carburettors examined, main checked, float levels reset, new auto transmission and torque converter fitted, rear parcel shelf bolts tightened. Loss of water, fuel starvation, roughness of engine and vibration in engine/transmission rectified. Exhaust system checked; body rectifications carried out.
22.04.64- Mileage: 18,641- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Armstrong Selecteride fitted to rear dampers, hydraulic system flush, check seals. New drive shafts fitted, diff mountings modified,
23.07.64- Mileage: 19,455- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Body repairs carried out including beating out boot lid, nearside scuttle, nearside front wing and re-cellulosing repaired areas
21.12.64- Mileage: 24,389- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Fit new gearbox and torque converter. Remove rear shock absorbers and fit new axle heck straps and rear exhaust silencer, fit new rear exhaust manifold with new gaskets, fit front brake pads and clean rears. Fit new flasher switch
22.06.65- Mileage: 26,777- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Engine repairs, head and valves decarb, valves ground, refitted with new springs and head with new gasket, new spark plugs, air and fuel filter elements. Carbs cleaned new hoses and new oil pressure pipe. 5,000-mile lubrication service. New shock absorber fitted, new brake pads to rear and new brake servos. Broken stud in gearbox replaced and kickdown adjusted. Window lift repaired and o/s/f carpet made up and fitted
22.07.65- Mileage: 28,273- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Braking system converted from bulkhead fitted master cylinder to floor mounted
13.09.65- Mileage: 28,547- Service Agent: Aston Martin
30,000 service including chassis lubrication. Sticking accelerator freed and lubricated to new Selecteride Shock Absorbers fitted and new drive shafts, front and rear bubs refitted with new seals and packed with grease. Rear hypoid unit refitted. New axle shaft and bearing fitted, two new prop shafts and new centre bearing, bodywork repaired and re-cellulosed. Exhaust system refitted with new hangers
24.01.66- Mileage: 32,862- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Engine removed from gearbox, ancillary equipment transferred to new engine, refitting engine and gearbox, ancillary equipment connected up. Cooling system filled; engine filled with oil. Slow running and mixture settings adjusted. Car road tested.
07.02.67- Mileage: 39,509- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Fit new cylinder head gasket, and new rear exhaust manifold, rectify il leaks from top chain tensioner and tachometer drive. Carry out 5,000-mile service, fit new fan belt, fit new air cleaner element, fit new rear pump to gearbox oil pen. New flexible pipes welded in. Fit new brake hoses and rack gaiters. Fit new release solenoid, Fit new heater ducting under rear seat. Fit new aerial and new bulb to dash top lamp. Repair wing panel, repair filler flap, fit new front bumper, MOT
16,05.67- Mileage: 42,499- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Fit new headlamp bulb
06.12.67- Mileage: 45,936- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Drain and flush cooling system and refill with correct anti-freeze mix. Engine tune including plugs and points, adjust timing chains and fan belt. Dismantle, clean and overhaul carburettors and fit new fuel filter. Lubricate choke and throttle linkages and check operation. Trace and rectify leaks from gearbox, adjust gearbox bands top up with oil. Fit new coolant pipes. Jack up car, remove front wheels and steering rack fit new offside rack mounting and two gaiters. Rebuild and check wheel alignment. Remove rear wheels, check calipers, discs etc for run out. Clean and adjust. Free off handbrake mechanism and fit new offside handbrake cable. Fit new nearside trailing arm, bushes and carriers fit new rear silencers, renew battery and trafficator switch spring
03.09.69- Mileage: 59,273- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Fit two new timing chain rubbing strips, fit new cylinder head gasket, fit new self-aligning bearings. Fit new hyoid unit to chassis. Fit two new rear brake discs and one new drive shaft coupling. Fit new inner and outer wheel bearings, pack with grease and fit new seals. Fit new pistons, new front brake pads, new nearside shock absorber, brake reactor strut ball joints, all new king pin gaiters and thrust pads. Reassemble and refit offside hub using new seal. Fit new nearside rear hub and oil seal. Fit new set of handbrake pads. Fit intermediate silencers, pipes and rear silencers and tail pipes. Fit new slip ring and interior light
01.04.87 - 28.04.88- Mileage: n/a.- Service Agent: Aston Martin Works Service
Carry out full road test, inspection and submission of report and estimated costs. Overhaul engine replacing seals, gaskets and hoses and renewing all auxiliary belts Replace gearbox and torque converter. Remove rear hypoid unit and replace leaking back plate gasket Renewing hub bearing seal, perished steering rack gaiters, replacing front suspension brake reactors. Repair rear suspension and replace bushes and seals. Stripping front suspension king pins renewing dust covers, balls, seats and thrusts as required. Renewing brake servos, cables, calipers, pads, and cleaning rear discs. Remove tyres, shotblast road wheels to clean off all corrosion prior to respraying, Replace entire exhaust system with special aluminium high bake finish gaskets, clamps and mountings Renew battery and replace one window lift motor. Window switch and return springs, new wiper arms, radio and aerial. Change speedometer calibrated to KPH and align tachometer, renew blower fan, make up radio housing and fit radio Remove passenger seat belt, reinforce floor and sills and install front inertia reel seat belts. Repair locks, catches and exterior handles. Remove dash and re-veneer and re-chrome interior Remove all brightwork and clean and re-chrome, replace front scree and all seals and renew both wheel arch heater trunkings. Make up new headlining. Remove all interior trim and, removing all the leather renew with Tan VM846 Connolly hide. Make up interior carpets in fawn binding in tan leather. Renew boot carpet. Strip paintwork, repair or replace damaged or corroded aluminium body panels, steel sills, chassis and framework. Prepare and respray in Old English Pewter. Steam clean underside, treat any corrosion and underseal. Carry out any additional work to complete a 10,000-mile service. Tune car, clean and wax car and road test
06.09.99- Mileage: 00,481 km- Service Agent: Aston Martin
Overhaul and refit drive shafts. Check prop shaft and tighten mounting bolts. Check fuel flow, sealing fuel pump unions. Remove, repair and refit fuel reserve unit. Make up and fit wiring loom for fuel pump. Replace perished fuel pipes. Trace and repair faults to window lift mechanisms. Rewire and refit door panels, remove, degrease and lubricate speedo cable. Replace indicator self-cancelling mechanism. Replace relay in horn circuit. Replace seized brake bleed nipples and bleed brakes. Replace water pump belt and hoses as necessary. Fit new high efficiency radiator and modify cooling system. Clean, adjust and refit carburettors. Remove rear nearside suspension arm, weld and strengthen and refit. Send rear shock absorbers for specialist repair. MOT
01.04.21- Mileage: 2,420 km- Service Agent: Vantage Engineering
Recommissioning work Remove all brake caliper pistons and send for refurbishment Refit refurbished caliper pistons with new fixings Replace all flexible brake hoses with new units Bleed brakes Remove, dismantle front servo and check for leaks Re-assemble servo and refit Inspect brake master cylinder operation. Leakage suspected Fit polished carburettor dash pots Install polished valve cover breather tubes Disassemble thermostat housing, install new thermostat and gasket Install thermostat housing Fill engine with oil and coolant Investigate fuel leak Replace both exhaust mounting rubbers Fit polished wheel trims Charge battery Fabricate and install flexible fuel pipe, Replace banjo fitting and copper washer Replace brake master cylinders and attend to chassis rust.