2016 Automotive News Retail Forum
Lagonda is a British car manufacturer, founded as a company in 1906 in Staines, Middlesex by the American Wilbur Gunn (1859-1920). He named the company after a river near the town of his birth Springfield, Ohio. The company was purchased and integrated into Aston Martin in 1947.
One more car was to appear with the large and futuristic Aston Martin Lagonda of 1976 designed by William Towns. This low, rather square, wedge shaped car was built on Aston Martin V8 components and was available, at least in theory, until 1989.
The Aston Martin Lagonda was a luxury four-door saloon built by Aston Martin of Newport Pagnell, England, between 1976 and 1989. A total of 645 examples were produced at an average selling price of £150,000. The name was derived from the Lagonda marque that Aston Martin had purchased in 1947.
Aston Martin was facing severe 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 with a brand new V8 engine. As soon as it was introduced, it drew in hundreds of deposits from potential customers, helping Aston Martin’s cash reserves.
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.
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 in the world to use computer management and a digital instrument panel, although the computers in many of the original cars are failure-prone. The development cost for the electronics alone on the Lagonda came to four times as much as the budget for the whole car. The second series used cathode ray tubes for the instrumentation, which proved even less reliable than the original model’s LED display.
The Lagonda combined striking styling with opulent, club-like leather interior, and then-state-of-the-art instrumentation. Coupled to a Chrysler 3-speed "TorqueFlite" automatic transmission its 4-cam carbureted V8 provided poor, often single-digit miles-per-gallon.
A number of "series" were produced during the lifetime of the model, including a facelift in the 1980s
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