My British blogging friend Hilary Melton-Butcher with Positive Letters mentioned the Aston Martin Lagonda one day. A new and controversial Lagonda concept was announced, so I thought it would be an appropriate post. The new Lagonda concept is controversial since Aston Martin has produced only sports cars with the exception of the original Lagonda. The new Lagonda appears to be an crossover SUV.
The original Lagonda was a luxury four-door sedan (saloon in Europe) built by Aston Martin between 1976 and 1989. An example is shown in the photo below, 645 examples of this model were produced at an average selling price was £150,000.
Lagona was established by Wilber Gunn, an American from Ohio, who went to England to setup a European branch of his brother in laws steam engine manufacturing company. Lagonda is the name of a district close to Lagonda Creek in Ohio.
Aston Martin was about to go out of business in the mid-1970s and needed something to bring in some much-needed cash. Traditionally, Aston Martin had developed 2+2 sports cars, , but the Lagonda — the model being named after a grand sporting marque — was a four-door sedan(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.
Throughout the history of the Lagonda, these hand-built Lagondas were among the most expensive sedans in the world. The only other "production" cars to approach its lofty price tag were the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirt/Silver Spur, Bentley Mulsanne, and the Maserati Quattroporte.
A number of "series" was produced during the lifetime of the model, including a face lift in the 1980s which attempted to round off the car's razor-like lines and removed the troublesome pop-up headlights, which had proved unreliable.
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 4 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's striking design and opulent, club-like leather interior, together with its then-state-of-the-art instrumentation, contrasted starkly with its decidedly "old world" 4-cam V-8 carbureted engine and Chrysler 3-speed "TorqueFlite" transmission, which combine to provide a single-digit mpg. rating.
Information on the original Aston Martin Lagonda provided by Wikipedia!