Lagonda Series 1
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 5
When the new management took over Aston Martin
in the early 1970s there was one hidden asset - a design for a long wheelbase four-door model to bear the Lagonda name. In fact this car was designed first and one of them was built for the personal use of Sir David Brown. The then current Aston Coupe, though widely acclaimed as a clean and well balanced modern design, was actually a shortened version of the sedan.
By late 1974 Aston Martin
launched the Lagonda model, appropriately named the Aston Martin Lagonda. It had a wheelbase 30cm longer than the coupe - the extra space was used to provide comfortable rear seats with decent leg room. Upholstery was in English hide, while the front seats had reclining backrests and there was a passenger footrest.
The Lagonda had electric control for windows, door locks, boot lock and fuel filler. Equipment included a heated rear window, internally controlled door mirror, a fire extinguisher and a stereo radio/cassette player. There was air-conditioning
with two four-speed blowers which could provide through flow or recirculation to heat or cool the interior as quickly as possible. Aluminium body panels were mounted on a steel frame fixed to the chassis
platform, which was rust proof and undersealed.
The light alloy V8 engine of 5340cc, with four chain-driven overhead camshafts, four Weber twin choke carburettors, and transistorised ignition, drove through a five-speed gearbox with overdrive top or Torqueflite three-speed automatic. Steering
was power assisted rack and pinion and suspension
was the normal Aston Martin layout with wishbones and coil springs at the front, and a De Dion axle at the rear. The exhaust
had twin-pipes and five silencers.
Gearbox ratios were the same as in the coupe and the axle ratio, at 3.54 to 1, was the lower of the two available on the coupe. With automatic transmission
the ratio was 3.07 to 1. Brakes were Girling ventilated discs with separate circuits for front and rear and two vacuum servos.
The Lagonda's at launch price tag of UK£14,000 put it in the top bracket of exotica prices on the British market, including Rolls from UK£15,000 upwards from the Silver Shadow to the Phantom Six Park Ward at nearly UK£19,000, the Mercedes-Benz 600 at UK£18,000 to £25,500, the Ferrari Boxer at £16,400, (the 365 GT4 was approx £14,000), and the Countach at nearly £17,000, (The Espada was £13,400 in Britain). Next to Rolls it was the most expensive local car as the others were imports with duty bagged on.
The irony of the Lagonda was that, like so many models from its stable, it had been launched at a time when the winds of change blew a positive gale. But to swim against the tide was in the best Lagonda tradition. Most new models in Aston Martin Lagonda's previous history had been launched to stave off financial tempests. In 1975
the Aston Martin Lagonda group was swimming in a sea of red ink. It had appealed - without success - to the British government for massive assistance to keep the firm afloat. Little else was left, except to gamble on the magic of the Lagonda name to weather the storm.
1975 Aston Martin Lagonda Series 1 V-8 Quick Specifications
- ENGINE: V-8 5340cc SOHC, Bore and Stroke 100 x 85mm, Four twin-choke Weber carburettors, Dual SU fuel pumps, Valve gear - Four chain driven overhead camshafts, valves inclined at 64 degrees.
- TRANSMISSION: Five speed manual or 3 speed Torqueflite automatic. Cluth - 26.7 cm Single Dry Plate. Ratios 1st - 2.90:1, 2nd - 1.78:1, 3rd 1.22:1, 4th - 1.00:1, 5th 0.845:1. Final Drive 3.44:1
- SUSPENSION: Front - Unequal length wishbones and coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar. Rear - De Dion axle with trailing arms and Watts linkage, coil springs and piston damper, roller spline drive shafts.
- WHEELS: Cast alloy.
- TYRES: GR 70 VR15.
- BRAKES: Girling ventilated discs with seperate circuits front and rear and separate vacuum servos.
- DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase 291.5 cm, Track - front 150 cm, Track - rear 150 cm, Overall length - 492.8 cm, Overall width - 183 cm.
- KERB WEIGHT: 1995 kg unladen.