Ten years before James Bond fell in love with a gadget-laden Aston Martin in 1964, Prince Philip had one built to spec with a few sneaky extras.
In 1954, Aston Martin built this Lagonda 3 Litre Drophead Coupe to the special order of HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh:
It was the first of of just 20 MK1 cars made and used by Prince Philip for personal transport up until 1961 and it was the car that won Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd its first Royal Warrant.
On April 20, for between $670,000-$860,000, you can buy it at H&H Classic Auctions.
It’s history is, if not pivotal, at the very least colourful. The Prince regularly took it to The Thursday Club where he shot the breeze with the likes of Peter Ustinov and Francis Bacon.
And in the back seat sat little Prince Charles, on his way to being dropped off at Cheam prep school by his dad.
The premium features are all in the front though, where Philip ordered a couple of bespoke alterations.
One was an extra vanity mirror. H&H reports it was installed specifically for The Queen to keep an eye on her hat.
The other was something quite special for 1954. Philip had his own in-car radio telephone, 10 years before James Bond jumped into a DB5 and started fiddling with flame-throwers and ejector seats for the first time.
Philip had his own frequency for the phone, which he liked best for allowing him to disguise his voice and prank call Her Majesty indoors.
The Lagonda also went like the clappers. H&H reports the Prince “was not averse to ‘making up time’ aboard the Lagonda if late for an official engagement”.
He could drive, too, claiming an unofficial record for the 98-mile run between Bath and London back in his Royal Navy days.
If you can remember the 1956 Royal visit, you might even recognise it. The Lagonda was loaded on board the Royal Yacht Britannia and greeted in Melbourne by one of Aston Martin’s most senior engineers, Tony Tocock.
Here’s the car rolling off the Britannia in Melbourne.
Tocock’s job was to ensure the company’s reputation wasn’t tarnished by any mishaps from the Lagonda at the Melbourne Olympics.
Here he is with the Lagonda in the gardens at Government House, Canberra:
Equally, tyremaker Dunlop ensured there was a steady supply of “suitable tyres” avaialable for the car at all nearby branches.
And if you’re in the market, it should still be in pretty good nick. H&H reports Aston Martin, for at least seven years, had a man out to Buckingham Palace once a week to make sure everything was tickety-boo.
And in the past two decades, it’s had a complete bodywork restoration and repaint in its correct shade of Edinburgh Green, a thorough engine overhaul, back axle refurbishment and the fitment of overdrive.
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