Aston Martin Lagonda

The history behind the oddball Lagonda | Source: Wiki Commons

The Story Behind Aston Martin’s Love-It-Or-Hate-It Lagonda

Listed as one of Time’s 50 Worst Cars of All Time, the legendary Lagonda is easily one of Aston Martin’s most divisive car models. And it’s not just the striking, elongated design that saw the car labelled as a love-it-or-hate-it model. Despite all its futuristic promise at the time, the Lagonda encountered its fair share of technical difficulties.

Designed by William Towns, the Aston Martin Lagonda Series 2 was revealed in October 1976 as a futuristic concept car for buyers and a lifeline for Aston Martin as it faced mounting financial and reputational pressure. After changing hands twice in just four years, Aston Martin was in need of an exciting and successful new car. Enter the Lagonda.

Featuring the world’s first digital instrument panel in a production car, the Lagonda was met with plenty of interest when it was first revealed at the London Motor Show. And despite the criticism around the Lagonda’s angular wedge-shaped body – a bold move away from Aston Martin’s usual curves, the modern four-door saloon with the futuristic LED dashboards was a hit.

Of course, the digital instrument panel which looked like something out of NASA drove the price of the car sky high. Promising to control everything from the windows to cruise control, the dashboard made the Lagonda one of the most expensive saloons on the market at the time. In fact, the development cost for the electronics alone blew the budget for the entire Lagonda close to four times over. Unfortunately, the problems didn’t end there.

It took some two years to get Lagonda’s highly-anticipated electronics to work properly, which subsequently saw the original large screen ditched in the development process. Even after modifying the dashboard to be production-ready and delivered to its first customer in 1979, the Lagonda’s electronics were found to be temperamental at best.

Nonetheless, the Lagonda made history with its futuristic technology and was enjoyed for its luxurious features, particularly by wealthy buyers from the Middle East. In fact, in later series, the Lagonda was fitted with a voice synthesiser and could even speak multiple languages to those who could afford such a feature. As for the interiors, the ‘Tickford Lagonda’ launched in 1983 came to feature cocktail cabinets, colour TVs and a video player; the height of luxury in terms of car interiors.

Whether you love it or hate it, the Lagonda was the blueprint of sorts for the kind of tech we have in our cars today and was a unique and undoubtedly luxurious car from Aston Martin. In total, 645 Lagondas were produced across its 12-year production run. Offering a unique bit of automotive history, Lagondas fetch well over A$200,000 on the resale market today.

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