Dramatic on the outside and space-age within, we get to grips with the Aston Martin Lagonda...
The razor-sharp styling certainly raises your expectations as you approach the Lagonda, and the cabin doesn’t disappoint either. It’s superbly appointed and a feast of high quality wood and leather, and although the driving position is a touch more snug than the exterior would lead you to believe, there is plenty of space for passengers.
Turn the key and the Lagonda reveals its most intriguing feature – the digital instrument displays. Even with all the modern touches of today’s cars, these still have the ability to delight those new to the big Aston and make every trip a real experience. Overall comfort and refinement are excellent making for an ideal mile-coverer, and despite its size the Lagonda handles well. There’s plenty of performance on offer too, thanks to the big V8, and motorway cruising is effortless. Light steering and powerful brakes inspire confidence, and comfortable seats will have you covering huge distances – as long as you can stomach the fuel bill!
Aston Martin Lagonda
Power (bhp@rpm) 280bhp@5000rpm
Torque (lb ft@rpm) 360lb ft@3000rpm
Top speed 143mph
Gearbox 3-spd auto
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
BODYWORK & CHASSIS
The sheer size and complexity of the Lagonda’s body shell means thorough checks are vital. It’s a steel sub-structure covered with aluminium panels, so there is plenty of scope for problems and huge bills if significant rust repairs are needed. The three-piece sills need particular attention as rot can spread to the outriggers and B/C pillars – replacement could approach five figures per side if things are bad, so a specialist check (preferably using an endoscope camera) is recommended.
The hand-beaten alloy panels can be soft and thin in some areas, making them susceptible to dents. You’ll also need to check for any signs of corrosion between the panels and the steel structure, which manifests itself as a white powder. Unless there has been a recent bare-metal re-spray, it’s likely that most cars will suffer to some degree.
The 5.3-litre V8 is considered pretty bullet-proof, but evidence of regular maintenance is essential. Any signs of oil or coolant leaks should be treated with caution, particularly if they come from the engine block drains – the alloy block has steel liners which can move and a rebuild doesn’t come cheap (think £20k for a top-quality job). Rattles from the top of the engine could signify worn camshafts or timing chains, while correct anti-freeze levels are vital to avoid head gasket failure.
Later cars – sometimes referred to as Series 4 models – received slightly rounder-edge styling with conventional headlights and are reckoned to be less rot-prone. The pop-up lights of early cars look good, but ensure they work as repairs can be tricky and costly. The same applies to the electric release for the boot, bonnet, and fuel flaps.
The electronic dashboard is the main talking point of the Lagonda, and it’s no real surprise that it can pose problems. The set-up changed over the years, using both LCD and Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) displays, and there was even a multi-lingual voice synthesiser at one point. Tracking-down faults with the wiring or the various pipes or senders can take plenty of time and money, so be wary of any issues. Finding parts isn’t always easy so making sure the displays and touch-sensitive switches are working correctly is time well spent, and it pays to get an expert view before you buy. Some owners converted to analogue dials but it’s not a great solution – the digital arrangement can be made to work with the right expertise.
The Chrysler Torqueflite automatic ‘box is tough and shouldn’t give problems, likewise the rear axle – a limited slip GKN or Salisbury unit depending on model. Again any issues will be clear on the road.
Neither the brakes nor suspension give trouble unless neglected, though the inboard rear discs are susceptible to oil contamination and corrosion. They’re costly to change, so check them carefully. Worn bushes are generally the extent of any suspension issues, though it pays to check the Koni self-leveling system at the rear is working properly.
The interior is a mixture of top quality hide and wood in most cars, and that means a careful check of condition. A full re-trim will cost thousands, so inspect every inch of the cabin for any damage to the upholstery. Instruments aside, there were more electrical gadgets than on other Astons – electric seats and the like – so ensure it all works.
Few cars will garner attention like a Lagonda so it deserves consideration purely on style alone. A word of warning though – finding a good one and maintaining it won’t be cheap, and you’ll need professional expertise on both fronts. Tread carefully, buying the best you can afford.