The soft-top Vantage debuts next spring.
Aston Martin sedans are rare, but relative bargains are out there
It’s easy to forget that Aston Martin, preferred conveyance of both James Bond and Tom Brady, also makes four-door vehicles. The current Rapide is in its tenth year of production, and while Aston Martin doesn’t publish precise figures it’s a safe guess that the total sales volume wouldn’t match the number of yards gained by the Patriots in even the most defense-heavy Super Bowl. It’s not just the Rapide; all Aston Martin sedans are rare. Yet that doesn’t translate to higher prices, meaning that the weird cousins to a few better-known Aston Martin sports cars can be had for a steep discount.
And when we say weird, it doesn’t get much weirder than the 1976–1990 Aston Martin Lagonda. The wedge shape seems to hint at contemporary GT cars such as the Lotus Espirit, De Tomaso Pantera, and Lamborghini Countach, only without any of their elegance. At the time, that awkwardness was showroom poison; today, it makes the Lagonda delightfully kitschy.
Only 645 Lagondas were built (along with another seven Series I versions with styling based on the Aston Martin V8). Which makes it notable that two are for sale at RM Sotheby’s Paris Retromobile auction: a 1983 Tickford Series II and a 1989 Series 4. Together, they span the breadth of Lagonda production from early (and buggy) LED instrument panels to the later, also buggy, vacuum fluorescent instrument panels. Admittedly, any 1980s Aston Martin is a dicey proposition from a reliability standpoint, which is why the Hagerty Valuation Tool says “The very best cars…are the ones to buy.” Put another way, you don’t want a #4-condition (poor) Lagonda, even at the suggested $25,900 price.
Luckily, both cars in the RM Auction are represented as being top-notch examples and, thanks to their specification, rare even within the already-recherche subset of Williams-Towns-styled Lagondas. The earlier car sports the Tickford body kit, an option on 1983 models that features, among other things, exhausts poking through the flat rear valence and BBS wheels. The later model is a Series 4 (one of 105), with the six sealed headlights as the giveaway to the revised styling. Look closer and you’ll see more rounded edges to the bodywork as well.
Both Lagondas have an estimate at the high end of the Hagerty values, converted from euros to approximately $100,000–$140,000. Yes, it’s a lot of money. But that much will barely get you into any two-door version of the Aston Martin V-8 that was sold alongside it.
One other Aston Martin sedan is in the same sale: a 1962 Rapide. This model was converted from the DB4 by Touring of Milan. (Commonly referred to as Touring Superleggera, the words on the company’s badge, which simply means “Touring Superlight.”). Only 55 were made, and several of those are no longer in service–though not, as you might guess, from a collision with the ugly stick. As such, an original Rapide at public sale is rare. The most recent we could find was this 1963 example that went for €187,920 ($214,444 today) in 2014. Yes again, that’s a lot of money. But it’s half of what it will take to get into a roadworthy DB4 coupe, to say nothing of the higher-valued GT, Vantage, or Zagato variants.
That’s not to say that either sedan is the bargain entry point into classic Aston Martin ownership, if such a thing even exists. If you only look at the twin criteria of limited production and a storied brand, however, it’s possible to see a bargain or two here. As outsiders to the main line of succession, these cars will always have some degree of hipster appeal; some subset of the car collecting world will always love these cars more for being so different. In other words, people will forget that Aston Martin makes sedans, and that’s what makes Aston Martin sedans cool.