Thursday, March 25, 2010

1983 Aston Martin Lagonda

In past posts I've written about a friend who tells me that I like cars that look "angular and disproportionate" in her eyes. Maybe that's true, but cars don't get any more angular and disproportionate than this one and even I have a tough time liking the looks of the Lagonda.

The Lagonda was a $150,000 super-luxury sedan built by Aston Martin from 1976 through 1989. A total of 645 were built.

Aston Martin intended this to be a modern, futuristic car. William Towns was given the task of designing it. Long, low and pointed, the Lagonda was Towns' vision of what luxury sedans would look like in the future.

The real problem with this car was what type of equipment Towns envisioned the luxury car of the future having. Towns went wild with electronics. (You can mostly likely see the problem here already, as Aston Martin is a British car manufacturer.) He wanted digital readouts and touch sensitive controls. Some of the stuff he wanted hadn't even been invented yet, let alone applied to cars. Towns went ahead with it anyway.

Early Lagondas got an LED dash and full touch sensitive controls. In what shouldn't have been any real surprise, they didn't work well. Eventually the LED dash was replaced by a CRT dash and some of the touch sensitive controls were replaced by good ol' toggle switches. By the time the last Lagondas were built, the CRT was gone, replaced by Vacuum Florescent setup, as were all the touch sensitive controls.

Propelling all that ultra-modern stuff was Aston Martin's 5.3L Quad-cam V8 with 4 two-barrel Weber carbs attached to it. The suspension was state of the art, but not radical. It had coil-overs all around with unequal length A-arms at the front. In the back a De Dion axle was positioned by a 4-link setup and watts linkage. The car was quick and handled extremely well.

For many years, this car was shunned by collectors. It's unusual styling and reliability issues kept the prices relatively low. As late as 2007, Time Magazine included it in its "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time" list. They called it a "catastrophe" and "Aston Martin's Dunkirk".

Lately, the prices of these cars have been creeping up. In a true test of the car's value, this Lagonda is being offered without a reserve. It will be interesting to see what it sells for.

Located in New York, NY, click here to see the eBay listing.


Max Power said...

I know I am crazy, but I have always thought these cars to be stunning. I'll never forget sitting in an early digital dash one as a teen at the NY Auto Show in the mid to late 70's

Chris Keen said...

I generally like these... too bad this one looks like it was originally owned by a Miami Vice star. Its career has done equally well, too.

pickles said...

Just stop to pick up Bianca (Jagger, obv) on the way to Balthazar and a bottle of Remy as a warm up. Brutally 80's, brutally chic. There was one in a men's store in the East Village of NYC a few years back. It is about as low as an X1/9. Friggin cool. Tacky- but cool.