Aston Martin shocked the world in 1976 when they unveiled the sensational Lagonda Saloon at the London Motor Show. The spectacularly futuristic, Avant Garde styling was penned (with a straightedge, we imagine) by the great designer William Towns. The chassis was unique to the new car, utilizing the existing Tadek Marek-designed 5.3 liter V8 engine, which was backed by a Chrysler-sourced Torque-Flite automatic transmission. Looking back at other luxury saloons of 1976, it is particularly amazing that Aston took such a gamble with the styling, and even more so that it paid off. Not only did Aston Martin push the envelope in terms of style, they also pushed the boundaries of technology with a highly ambitious LED instrument panel with gas-plasma touch screen controls. The system seemed straight out of science fiction, and despite being beautiful to look at, proved to be horrifically unreliable.
By 1980, Aston abandoned the troublesome touch screen controls, but retained the LED gauges. The price had doubled to nearly 50,000 GBP, yet it still sold well enough to keep the company afloat. Production trickled on, sometimes just few cars per year leaving the Newport Pagnell works. In 1985, a revised version was introduced, effectively known as the series 3. The incredible dash now featured Cathode Ray Tube instruments that projected information to the driver like miniaturized television screens. It was moderately more reliable than the LED system, yet still visually appealing. On the mechanical side, the proven V8 put out 305 horsepower and 288 ft. lbs of torque, enough to propel the big Aston to 150 mph, square into supercar territory. Production and refinements continued, until production ceased at the end of 1990. Aston Martin built a total of just 645 Lagondas between 1978 and 1990, and very few examples remain.
This 1985 Lagonda saloon has covered just 46,599 miles from new and has been maintained to a standard far and above what is typical for these cars. This example was specially ordered in Jaguar Cranberry metallic over light gray hides and Wilton wool carpets, with a red dash, red wheel and red Mouton overmats. A copy of the original invoice shows the car cost a staggering $150,000 in 1985! It has been exceptionally well cared-for and today, the body presents in very good condition, with well-preserved original paint over straight panels that exhibit good fit and consistent gaps. A few minor stone chips can be found, though nothing beyond what should be expected from a cherished example with this mileage. Exterior trim is in excellent condition, with the black plastic bumpers and aprons in very good order as well. It rides on its correct BBS-supplied disc alloy wheels wearing correct profile Michelin MXV tires. It is a very attractive example that has clearly been cherished from new, benefiting from an astounding $70,000 in service and repairs since 2013.
Inside, the Connolly hides are in excellent order, with a very good leather dash and console, free of shrinking and cracks. The headlining remains in good condition with just some minor wear visible on the A-pillar trims. Fresh mouton overmats have been recently fitted and the carpets present in good condition. Critically, the dash was recently fully disassembled and the cathode ray tube screens for the instruments were sent to a specialist in the U.K. for a comprehensive refurbishment. The wood trim is in good condition, exhibiting a few cracks in the lacquer but otherwise intact and attractive. Original books as well as the briefcase style tool kit are in place.
Mechanically, the big Lagonda is in excellent condition. The engine bay is clean and orderly, showing signs of regular care and use. The meticulous servicing it has received in the hands of the last owner shines through in a car that runs strongly and performs as one would expect from a brutish 80’s Aston Martin. The undercarriage is tidy with original finishes and what appears to be factory undercoat and an excellent exhaust system.
This is a very well maintained Lagonda that has benefited from specialized care, with common problem areas sorted to ensure the next keeper enjoys the car to the fullest. Wearing attractive colors, with sound cosmetics and functional signature features, this is an unmistakable 80’s supercar that is likely one of the best examples of its type available.
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