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This Lagonda may look like a hippo, but it’s a real unicorn

by Nik Berg
6 November 2023 2 min read
This Lagonda may look like a hippo, but it’s a real unicorn
Collecting Cars

The only Lagonda Luxury Utility Vehicle ever built is up for auction online. The one-off concept car was first displayed at the 2009 Geneva Motorshow and, after being sold to a collector, is now seeking a new home.

Powered by Aston Martin’s 5.9-litre V12 engine, driving all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission, the LUV was reportedly built on a Mercedes GL chassis and is able to move under its own power – even though the odometer still reads zero miles. It rides on air suspension, has carbon-ceramic disc brakes and wears 22-inch alloy wheels with Continental tyres.

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The car was conceived to celebrate Lagonda’s 100th anniversary and test reaction to an ultra-luxury all-road capable car in the Middle East, South America, India, China and Russia. Arguably the LUV paved the way for cars such as the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Lamborghini Urus, and Aston’s own DBX.

Perhaps aimed at oligarchs and oil barons with their own private zoos, the unique LUV seems to have drawn inspiration, not from a unicorn but a hippopotamus, with its huge snout and chunky rear end. The Oyster paintwork only serves to accentuate the resemblance. At least from the inside the sumptuous four-seater cabin you can’t see it, and instead can focus on wiggling your toes in the silk rugs or drowning your sorrows with a tipple from the cut-glass tumblers.

The seller says that LUV is currently only for show as its electrics aren’t working, although that could be simply down to the condition of the battery. As the prototype was originally drivable, the next owner should be able to get it moving once again – maybe even getting it ready for the road.

It’s for sale now on Collecting Cars and, at the time of writing, bidding had only reached around £13,000. Who will be bold enough to buy it?

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