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You apparently apperceive Evel Knievel as a stuntman; a daredevil; a crazy motorcycle aerialist who wore blithely black jumpsuits and bankrupt about every cartilage in his body. But did you additionally apperceive that he endemic a 1984 Aston Martin Lagonda with an 8.2-liter Chevy V8 and a tow-behind casket bivouac that he slept in?
I didn’t, until I got an e-mail aftermost anniversary from Mark Karpinski, assembly administrator at MotoeXotica – the aforementioned St. Louis archetypal car banker who had that time abridged 1997 Acreage Rover Defender a few months back. I don’t bethink the exact argument of the e-mail, but it included the words “Evel Knievel,” “Aston Martin Lagonda,” and “coffin trailer.” This, I decided, appropriate added investigation.
So I alleged up Mark, and he told me the adventure of the Evel Knievel Lagonda, which is now for bargain at his dealership for $109,900 – a negotiable figure, because, as Mark says, “How do you adjudge on a amount for an Evel Kneivel Aston Martin with a Chevy Big Block and a casket trailer?”
As it turns out, addition absitively on a amount a few years ago. That’s because this Lagonda awash at Barrett Jackson’s 2009 Scottsdale bargain for $35,200 — or about one-third of the accepted allurement amount — suggesting that there’s a lot added jerk allowance than a archetypal acclimated car.
The Evel Knievel Lagonda adventure begins aback in the backward 1960s, aback Evel Knievel – a crazy Montanan whose name was absolutely Robert – started application motorcycles to jump over stuff. It continues to the aboriginal 1970s, aback he acclimated added able motorcycles to jump over bigger stuff. By the mid-1970s, he was application absolutely able motorcycles to jump over absolutely big stuff. At one point, he jumped over 13 Pepsi trucks. I affirm this is true.
Unfortunately, Evel’s career took a about-face for the worse in 1977 aback he acclimated a baseball bat to exhausted up an controlling at 20th Century Fox. This had the aftereffect you would expect: his sponsors larboard him, his angel was destroyed, and – as a aftereffect – his claimed affairs dwindled. Faced with this black situation, Evel did what any of us would: he bought a 1984 Aston Martin Lagonda, installed a tow block and a big block V8, and collection about the country sleeping in a custom-built casket trailer.
Now, afore we go any further, a little backstory on the Lagonda for those of you who aren’t accustomed with Aston’s 1970s attack at a full-size affluence sedan. Here’s the deal: it was a V8-powered, four-door Aston-Martin bogus from 1974 to 1990. It was abounding of luxury, and technology, and high-tech accessories and features. And it was the distinct ugliest car anytime built. (This is not an assessment that is accustomed by the beat administration actuality at Jalopnik. The Lagonda is amazing and we anticipate Doug is wrong. – Ed)
Of course, actuality a 1970s-era Aston Martin, it was additionally rather unreliable, and bluntly a little slow, which prompted Knievel to cull out the branch 280-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 and add in a 440-cubic inch Chrysler V8. Eventually, alike this wasn’t abundant for Evel, and in the backward 1990s he swapped out the Chrysler Big Block for an 8.2-liter General Motors Absolutely Big Block, forth with a custom-built automated manual to handle the power. He additionally autonomous for a custom autogenous with Rolls-Royce covering seats and an eye-grabbing red-and-white blush scheme.
So why, you ability ask, was Evel Knievel active about the United States in a hot-rod Aston Martin with a casket trailer? Apparently, the bearings is this: afterward the baseball bat incident, with defalcation looming and his motorcycle-riding canicule abaft him, Evel took up painting. So he reportedly acclimated the Aston Martin to bout the country, canoeing about the United States, affairs his paintings by day and sleeping in the casket bivouac at night.
Now, if you’re like me, and you’re faced with the abstraction of a world-famous charlatan active about in an Aston Martin Lagonda with a custom 8.2-liter V8 and sleeping in a coffin-sized trailer, you’re apparently apprehensive alone one thing: What the hell did Evel Knievel paint? Here’s a constant stuntman; a crazy guy who petitioned the federal government to let him jump over the Grand Canyon; a actuality who already attempted to captain over the Snake River in a steam-powered rocket. So what was he painting? Rocket ships? Motorcycles actuality attempt into space? THE DEVIL HIMSELF???
No. It was none of that. He corrective landscapes. Some animals. Birds in flight. The casual angel of an old man attractive off into the distance. I affirm this is true.
So anyway, aback to the Lagonda. MotoeXotica got it about a year ago, and set out acceptance its authenticity. They tracked bottomward an aboriginal title, with Knievel’s name on it. They tracked bottomward aeon photos that appearance Evel with the car. And they alike begin the aboriginal trailer, endemic by a guy in Florida, who awash it to the banker so it could be reunited with the car.
“I didn’t anticipate he absolutely slept in the trailer,” Mark told me. “But aback we got it, yep, there’s a mattress in there.” Mark said the dealership kept the car about absolutely how it was, but replaced the casket trailer’s lining because it was “disgusting” afterwards years of use.
The banker additionally tracked bottomward a advanced ambit of Knievel memorabilia to go forth with the sale, including a toy adaptation of the Lagonda, a bill of bargain appointment buying of the car from Evel to his son Kelly “for the amount of a Ruth Chris Dinner,” and alike a active book of one of his paintings, featuring a bighorn sheep walking forth in the mountains.
Now, this Lagonda can be yours. Just account it: you’re canoeing beyond the country in your new Aston Martin, seeing the sights, adequate the land, endlessly for ammunition every 45 minutes. And aback you get tired, there’s no charge to acquisition a hotel, or pay for a room. All you accept to do is cull over and ascend central your coffin. Just like Evel would’ve done.
@DougDeMuro is the columnist of Plays With Cars. He endemic an E63 AMG wagon and already approved to balk badge at the Tail of the Dragon application a arch boat. (It didn’t work.) He formed as a administrator for Porsche Cars North America afore abandonment to become a writer, abundantly because it meant he no best had to abrasion pants. Also, he wrote this absolute bio himself in the third person.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve accounting a book. I apperceive what you’re thinking: Who the hell are you? And …
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