There’s really no arguing the fact that the Aston Martin Rapide is a stunningly beautiful car, and that its Aston VH (Vertical/Horizontal) platform which debuted under the DB9, is extremely competent at getting the job done. But it is still interesting to look back and consider what might have been. Back when Ford owned Aston – literally rescuing the dying brand – they sought ways to leverage existing resources in order to cost effectively bring new models to the table. This 1993 Lagonda Vignale concept came within a hair’s breadth of production, perhaps changing history and eliminating the Rapide’s existence.
Designed by Moray Calum – brother of current Jag penman Ian Calum – while he was at Ghia, the Lagonda Vignale represented no connection with Lagondas past, and even more alarmingly was built on the ancient Panther platform of a 1990 Lincoln Town Car. That meant a 190-bhp 4.6 V8 and 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as a live axle in back – a feature Lagonda had abandoned all the way back in 1938.
History is filled with near misses, and the Lagonda Vignale is an art deco bullet that thankfully we all dodged, and for which we today have the Rapide as reward.