The Sartorial Passenger

12 January 2023

The great Charlie Watts, who died at 80 on 24 August 2021, had an incredible collection of cars, which seemed odd given that he couldn’t drive.

But Charlie loved how motor cars were built, how they looked and how they sounded. One other passion was tailored-made clothes, and he earned the title of one of the world’s best-dressed men. He was a fan of dressing formally, happier in suit and tie than Glitter, sequins, tight trousers, and crop tops favoured by his bandmates.

He liked to co-ordinate his passions by sitting in one of his incredible motor cars, listening to the engine’s purr whilst dressed impeccably to complete the occasion.

He owned 200 suits and numerous cars, including a 1937 Lagonda Rapide Cabriolet V12, Bugatti Atlantic, Citroën Méhari, Lamborghini Miura, Citroën 2CV and assorted Rolls-Royce.

A particular favourite was the 1937 Lagonda Rapide Cabriolet, of which only 25 were ever built.

Drawing the name from a Shawnee settlement near Springfield, Ohio, Lagonda would be the brain-child of a former opera singer and Scottish-American, Wilbur Gunn.

In April 1935, WO Bentley left Rolls-Royce and joined Lagonda.

The grandest of Lagonda’s pre-World War II vehicles would have to be the pricey Rapide. Combined with Bentley’s tweaked V-12 engine and the low-slung body, the car had aggressive looks but also looked very elegant at the same time.

A most suitable car for dear Charlie.