A 1954 Aston Martin Lagonda 3-Litre Drophead Coupe owned by Prince Philip is set to go up for auction next month at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. The sale is organised by H&H Auctions, and the royal vehicle is expected to go for three or four times what an ordinary Lagonda is worth.
“This car is part of our history,” said H&H Sales Manager Damian Jones while announcing the sale to the press. “The accompanying paperwork beggars belief. There is an amusing story about Prince Phillip driving Her Majesty through London in this car and being held up by a policeman on point duty directing traffic. When the policeman saw who was in the Lagonda he did a double take and swiftly waved them on.”
This particular Aston Martin Lagonda was built to the special order of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954, just a few years after the Queen’s ascension. The Duke would drive the car to his regular haunts, including The Thursday Club and Cowdray Park, and would also use it to drop Prince Charles off to school. His purchase and fondness for the car resulted in Aston Martin winning its first Royal Warrant.
When The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh embarked on a tour of the Commonwealth in 1956, the Lagonda accompanied them. It was freighted on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and there are a number of photographs of it at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Prince Philip continued to drive his beloved car until 1961, when it was replaced by the 1961 Alvis TD21 Drophead Coupe.
The Aston Martin Lagonda is a two-door four-seater, with dove-gray leather upholstery, and can reach top speeds of 104 mph. The Duke’s car was painted in a bespoke shade known as “Edinburgh Green”, and has covered around 50,000 miles from new. The car was fitted with extra vanity mirrors especially for The Queen to check her hat, and a radio telephone with a frequency that matched that of Buckingham Palace. Prince Philip would often use it to keep in touch with his young family, and it is believed that his enjoyed disguising his voice while talking to his children.
The Lagonda will go under the hammer in April, and is expected to fetch between £350,000 and £450,000. The car has been repainted in its original colour, and still has its original leather upholstery, the vanity mirrors, and a switch on the dashboard and an aerial, vestiges of Prince Philip’s radio telephone. The Lagonda is one of only 20 that were made in that period, and is the only one of Prince Philip’s personal cars to be sold.
Photo credit: H & H Auctions