Aston Martin Lagonda

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Aston Martin Lagonda
1986 Aston Martin Lagonda (9014216671).jpg
The majority of AM Lagondas were made in the series 2 and 3 body style (1976–1987).
Manufacturer Aston Martin
Production 1976–1990
Designer William Towns
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car (F)
Body style 4-door saloon
Layout FR layout
Engine 5.3 L V8
Predecessor Lagonda Rapide
Successor Lagonda Taraf

The Aston Martin Lagonda is a full-sized luxury four-door saloon which was built by Aston Martin of Newport Pagnell, England, between 1974 and 1990. A total of 645 were produced. The name was derived from the Lagonda marque that Aston Martin had purchased in 1947. There are two distinct versions, the original, short lived 1974 design based on the Aston Martin V8 and the wedge-shaped Series 2 model introduced in 1976.

In 2014, Aston Martin confirmed it would launch a new Lagonda called the Taraf for the Middle-East market, sold on an invitation only basis.[1]


Aston Martin was facing financial pressure in the mid-1970s and needed something to bring in some much-needed funds. Traditionally, Aston Martin had worked on 2+2 sports cars, but the Lagonda was a four-door saloon. As soon as it was introduced, it drew in hundreds of deposits from potential customers, helping Aston Martin's cash reserves.[2]

The 1976 wedge-shaped styling contrasted sharply with other cars of its day.

The car was designed by William Towns in an extreme interpretation of the classic 1970s "folded paper" style. It was as unconventional a design then as it is now. Car enthusiasts are fiercely divided on the car's aesthetic value. The Lagonda combined striking styling with opulent, club-like leather interior, and state-of-the-art instrumentation. Coupled to a Chrysler three-speed "TorqueFlite" automatic transmission its four-cam carbureted V8 provided poor, often single-digit, miles-per-gallon, little improved by the change to fuel-injection in the Series 3.

Throughout the history of the marque, these hand-built Lagondas were amongst the most expensive saloons in the world. The only other "production" cars to approach its lofty price tag were the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Silver Spur and Bentley Mulsanne.

The Lagonda was the first production car to use a digital instrument panel. [3] The development cost for the electronics alone on the Lagonda came to four times as much as the budget for the whole car. The Series 3 used cathode ray tubes for the instrumentation, which proved even less reliable than the original model's light-emitting diode (LED) display.

It was named by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the 50 ugliest cars of the last 50 years[4] and Time Magazine included it in its "50 Worst Cars of All Time", describing it as a mechanical "catastrophe" with electronics that would be very impressive if they ever worked.[5]


A number of "series" were produced during the lifetime of the Lagonda, the original Series 1, and the wedge shaped Series 2, 3 and 4. A total of 645 cars were produced in the 12 year production run of the wedged shaped version.

Series 1 (1974–1975)[edit]

A long-wheelbased, four-door version of the Aston Martin V8 was announced at the 1974 London Motor Show. Designed by William Towns and based on the DBS, it was the first car to wear the Lagonda name since the 1961 Rapide.[6] The 5.3 L V8 engine supplied with a 5-speed manual or automatic transmission.[7] In appearance, the car is essentially a 4-door version of the Aston Martin V8. Only seven were sold.[8]


  • Engine: 5.3 L 5,340 cc (326 cu in) DOHC V8, producing 280 bhp (209 kW; 284 PS) and torque 301 lb⋅ft (408 N⋅m)
  • Top speed: 149 mph (240 km/h) and acceleration to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds
  • Length: 4,928 mm (194.0 in)
  • Wheelbase: 2,910 mm (114.6 in)
  • Width: 1,829 mm (72.0 in)
  • Height: 1,323 mm (52.1 in)
  • Weight: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)

At least 2 of them, numbers 12003[8] and 12005,[9] have been upgraded by R.S. Williams, Ltd of Cobham to a 7.0 liter version of the original Aston Martin V8 engine, able to make 440 bhp (328 kW; 446 PS) to 480 bhp (358 kW; 487 PS)[8] on unleaded fuel.

Series 2 (1976–1985)[edit]

The Series 2 model has pop-up headlights.
The interior of the Series 2 had a very futuristic dashboard and controls.

The wedge shaped Lagonda V8 saloon was launched in 1976 at the London Motor Show and was a total contrast to the 1974 model, sharing little but the engine.[10] Deliveries of the Lagonda did not commence until 1979. Series 2 cars were originally fitted with digital LED dashboards and touch pad controls, but the innovative steering wheel controls and gas plasma display were abandoned in 1980. The Lagonda retailed at £49,933 in 1980, significantly more than a Ferrari 400 or Maserati Kyalami but less than a Rolls-Royce Corniche.[11] The car commenced sales in the US from 1982 with minor amendments to the front bumper and airdam.[12]


  • Engine: 5.3 L 5,340 cc (326 cu in) DOHC V8, producing 280 bhp (209 kW; 284 PS) at 5,000 rpm and torque 302 lb⋅ft (409 N⋅m) at 3,000 rpm
  • Top speed: 143 mph (230 km/h) and acceleration to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds[13]
  • Length: 5,281 mm (207.9 in)
  • Wheelbase: 2,916 mm (114.8 in)
  • Width: 1,791 mm (70.5 in)
  • Height: 1,302 mm (51.3 in)
  • Weight: 2,023 kg (4,460 lb)

Series 3 (1986–1987)[edit]

The Series 3 was only produced for one year with 75 models manufactured, and featured fuel injected engines. Originally with cathode ray tube instruments, later versions featured a vacuum fluorescent display system similar to that used by some Vauxhalls and Opels, but externally were the same as the Series 2 model.

Series 4 (1987–1990)[edit]

The 1987 Series 4 had more rounded, but also more slab-sided styling.

The Series 4 was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1987 and received a significant exterior facelift by the car's original designer William Towns. The car's sharp edges rounded off and the pop-up headlights eliminated, with a new arrangement of triple headlights each side of the grille being the most obvious alteration, along with the removal of the side swage line (or character line) and the introduction of 16-inch wheels. With production of around one car per week, 105 Series 4 Lagondas were manufactured. The last car was produced during January 1990.[14]

81 remain registered in the United Kingdom as of 2011, down only slightly from 94 in 1994, but 32 of the surviving examples are SORN.[15]

Special variants[edit]

Roos Engineering's Shooting-brake Lagonda 1998

Non-standard variations of the Lagonda included:

  • Tickford Lagonda (1983) — Five Series 2 Lagondas were sold with a bodykit and upgraded interiors[16]
  • Tickford limousine (1984) — Four long-wheelbase Lagondas were made, at a cost of £110,000 each. On these cars, the rear door window glass was split vertically in half.
  • Rapide (a two-door, short-wheelbase version) — One made, and shared the front triple light design of the Series 4
  • Shooting-brake (Estate), by Swiss company Roos Engineering — One made in 1998 using a 1987 model[17][18][19]


  1. ^ Walker, Steve (25 July 2014). "Lagonda is back! Aston Martin teases new super-saloon". Auto Express. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Chapman, Giles (2009). llustrated Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Automobiles. DK Publishing. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-7566-4980-7. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Dowsey, David (2010). Aston Martin: Power, Beauty and Soul. Antique Collector's Club. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-86470-424-2. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Fifty Ugliest Cars of the Past 50 Years: Aston Martin Lagonda – BusinessWeek". Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Neil, Dan (2007-09-07). "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time: 28 of 51, 1975-1989. 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda". Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Octane classic car specs". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Autocar Motor Show Supplement 19 October 1974
  8. ^ a b c Bonhams. "1974 Aston Martin Lagonda Series I". Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Tim Cottingham. "V8 Lagonda Series I". Retrieved 2015-02-03. 
  10. ^ Motor 22 October 1977
  11. ^ Autocar 18 October 1980
  12. ^ "Aston Martin Heritage". Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Octane classic car specs". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "Aston Martin Lagonda (Series 4) (1987 - 1990)". 9 July 2008. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Combined stats (2 models) Aston Martin Lagonda - How Many Left?". Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  17. ^ "Estate of Grace" (PDF). Octane. July 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  18. ^ "Roos Engineering archive". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  19. ^ "Fahrzeugbezeichnung - Lagonda V8 Shooting Brake" (PDF). Roos Engineering (Press release) (in German). Winter 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 

External links[edit]