The 1961 Lagonda Rapide is an excellent example of what happens when a car is brought to market under a series of inauspicious circumstances. To start with, the Rapide was a very, very expensive car, but of course it would have to be, since it was built by Sir David Brown, owner of Aston Martin, which didn’t make it very popular with the buying public. Second, the design was awkward and controversial, especially from the front. The inverted horseshoe-shaped grille, as well as the oddly-positioned headlight didn’t make the car very attractive, which is a shame because from all other angles, the Lagonda Rapide is a beautiful car, perfectly proportioned.
Designed for extremely rich individuals that may enjoy driving their own cars once in a while instead of delegating this rude task to the help, the Rapide was a fast, agile car that by all accounts was an absolute joy to drive. Of course, only 55 of them were ever made, so meeting someone that’s actually drove one is rare enough.
The Lagonda Rapide was powered by a straight-six engine with a 4-liter displacement, producing 236 horsepower. It could reach the impressive top speed of 125 miles per hour, and thanks to its advanced DeDion rear axle and suspension, handled very well indeed. The standard transmission was a four-speed manual, and three-speed automatic was also available as an option. Unfortunately, no figures exist as to its acceleration. The 1961 Lagonda Rapide stayed in production until 1964; it was an exceptional car that got an unexceptionally raw deal.