In 2008, AML announced that it was their intention to re-launch the Lagonda marque just in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company commencing the building of motorcars. The very first day of the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, when Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Director of Design pulled the covers off it was clear that the onlookers were a little taken aback by what they saw. That the car was a 4 door was a given, but an avant-garde 4 wheel drive SUV crossover was unexpected despite the strong rumours. AML actually described the car as an LUV, which stood for ‘Luxury Utility Vehicle’
At the time, very little was really known about the detailed specification of the 2009 Lagonda Concept except that it was based on Mercedes GL running gear and supposedly powered by an Aston Martin V12 (actually it was!). The idea behind the concept was to bring performance luxury into emerging markets and territories around the world especially emerging markets in Russia, the Middle East, South America, India and China. Calling the concept a full off-roader isn’t correct since it was designed as a luxury performance vehicle with 4 wheel drive and additional ground clearance for roads of potentially poor quality.
The press release at the time proudly announced the return of the iconic marque and I’m sure that the intention to go into production was a strong possibility. Yet, the car only lasted on the main turntable of the stand for a single day, being replaced initially by a One-77 rolling chassis and then by a One-77 mock-up. Sadly, any plans for production were quashed, perhaps by an indifferent response from the press and potential customers. After being displayed to invited visitors during 2009 within the AM design centre at Gaydon, the car disappeared and was never been seen in public for 10 years; it’s whereabouts was unknown. Although never confirmed, it was probably built by Concept Group International, a specialist in low volume, niche builds and concept cars, based in Coventry.
Interesting that in 2012, Bentley Motors also showed a not dissimilar and radical SUV Concept that make production as the Bentayga and Rolls Royce later introduced an exclusive SUV, known as the Cullinan. Whilst the Lagonda LUV initially never progressed beyond the concept, occasional news from Gaydon claimed that the project could have been restarted. With the 2013 announcement of a technical agreement between AML and AMG Mercedes for supply of engines and other systems, the prospects for a new SUV improved greatly. But the car that emerged was the DBX Concept first seen at Geneva in 2015.
Eventually after 10 years hidden away, the controversial Lagonda received it’s first public viewing at the 2019 AMOC Spring Concours by special arrangement with the AMHT and the cars owner.