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Return of ‘the finest of fast cars'
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 11 - 2014

THE speculation and rumor about the new Lagonda Taraf from Aston Martin came to an end in Dubai last Monday when with a rapid flick of the wrist, the car's designer Marek Reichman whisked the silk cover from “the finest of fast cars” in the world.
The pale bronze hyper car, one of only two hundred to be built according to Aston Martin, is a world apart from the 1976 William Towns designed slab sided eccentricity that was named one the ugliest cars in 50 years by Bloomberg Business Week.
Yet the Taraf in the upswept rear scuttle and the razor-sharp lines that form the defining lines of the carbon fibre body, there is a nod of respect to its less handsome ancestor. Reichman was at pains to point out the use of carbon fibre enabled the creation of sharp angles and lines of light and shade to follow the aerodynamic flow of the body shape that would have been near impossible with any other material.
Even the traditional Lagonda badge conforms to the conceit of design that reflects pace and air-flow; the original Lagonda winged badge that Aston Martin took over in 1947, had turned down wing tips. The new badge, available in 18-carat gold, and silver by order, has upturned tips. “It follows the aerodynamic of the car and enhances the airflow lines at the centre of the bonnet,” said Reichman.
The bonnet of the Taraf and the floor pan are the only aluminium parts of the bodywork. The former to aid heat distribution form the six litre V12 engine and designed to deform on impact in the case of impact with a pedestrian, the latter to provide exceptional rigidity from the well tried VH architecture developed for the Aston Rapide.
The six-litre V12 power plant of each vehicle, in these days of the robot, will be built by hand by one of a team of four engine builders each of whom will personally sign off his work.
Aston Martin was officially reserved about details of the precise power and speed performance of the car – a little reminiscent of Rolls Royce's perhaps apocryphal response to a similar enquiry of “sufficient and adequate”. A sotto voce voiced representative at the launch admitted however to 195 mph (314kph) with 200 mph (322 kph) “within reach”.
The Taraf is not essentially about speed; it is about combining beauty of design, quite incredible levels of luxury and customisation and fast touring. There is for example a theoretical “standard” Taraf – something of an oxymoron – but this would be the entry point to a world where the only limits are the client's imagination, the safety of the car and the design ethos of Aston Lagonda are the limits.
The Taraf is hand-built by the craftsmen and women at Aston Martin's Gaydon atelier in Warwickshire in England, which is home to the company's Q by Aston Martin customising workshop. The Lagonda Taraf is made in a dedicated workshop that was previously the birthplace of Aston Martin's One-77 hypercar.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer described the Taraf as “the company's most ambitious stride into the arena of truly individual luxury car personalisation.” There is no doubt that Q by Aston Martin, the customisation division, will be challenged. The whole project relies on their arcane and quite staggering abilities to build, form and make just about anything a client wishes that fits the car. – SG


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