1976 Lagonda V8 Series 1 Saloon

What’s interesting about “007” is that it has been hot-rodded, modernized, and neutered of its ZF 5-speed

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Lagonda had been dormant for a decade when Aston Martin revived the marque in 1974 as the model name for a sensational new four-door sedan based on the existing V8 coupe.

Launched at the London Motor Show in October 1974, the new Lagonda was 305 mm (12″) longer in wheelbase than the V8 coupe, whose engine and running gear it shared and to which it bore an understandably strong resemblance. Priced at £14,040 ($32,713) at the time of its launch, the Lagonda cost 24% more than the contemporary coupe and was one of the most expensive motorcars of the time.

An exclusive model even by Aston Martin standards, it was cataloged until June 1976, by which time a mere seven had been made. Of the seven factory cars built in period, only two were completed with the ZF 5-speed manual gearbox; s/n 12007, the car offered here, was one of them.

The Lagonda V8 Series 1 Saloon has been extensively re-engineered and enhanced by respected marque specialists R.S. Williams Ltd. for their client. Sympathetically modified for everyday use, the Lagonda incorporates electronic communications systems-a combined SatNav/DVD/TV display screen is installed just forward of the gear lever, popping up at the press of a finger, with a matching screen on the transmission tunnel for those in the back.

There is an integrated telephone system front and rear and a state-of-the-art, four-speaker, Alpine CD stereo system with trunk-mounted changer. A few other minor changes, mainly the repositioning of switches, were made to the already opulent interior, which has been re-trimmed in elephant gray hide from Italy and boasts the tilt steering column, as fitted to later V8s, in addition to remote central locking and an upgraded air-conditioning system. To cope with the increased electrical load, a high-output alternator and dual battery pack with automatic change-over have been installed.

Already a powerful car, the Lagonda was endowed with an R.S. Williams 7-liter conversion, enabling it to more than hold its own against modern rivals. The Williams conversion produces a substantial 550 ft-lb and useful 480 hp against the estimated 350 ft-lb and 320 hp of the 5.3-liter original, increases that more than offset the weight gain associated with the Lagonda’s extra equipment.

But this also necessitated uprating the Chrysler Torqueflite automatic transmission, which has replaced the original ZF manual gear-box, and strengthening the differential mountings to prevent twisting under load. Increasing water flow around the engine and paying special attention to underhood ducting have improved engine cooling. The complete job took two people over 4,000 hours at an estimated cost of around £100,000 (more than $200,000).

Motoring writer Paul Chudecki found the Lagonda’s enormous torque immediately apparent, with the car feeling effortless and capable. “The 7-liter V8 pulls strongly from around 1,500-1,800 rpm, and from then on it is relentless. Acceleration: a guess would put the 0-60 mph time in the mid-five-second bracket, with 100 mph coming up around ten seconds later-impressive all the way up to 145 mph, as fast as we could go given the limits of the test track. There is no reason to doubt the car could pull its 6,500-rpm limit in top and reach 170 mph given the chance.”

Externally, the Lagonda looks original, apart from a Kamm tail as fitted to later Aston V8s and Cibie driving lights where originally there were horizontal radiator slats.

Presented in generally superb condition, 12007 is offered with V5 registration document, current MoT, sundry Works Service invoices dating from the 1980s, and a quantity of R.S. Williams bills dating from 2000 onward.

Stephen Serio

Stephen Serio - SCM Contributor

Stephen is the president and owner of Aston Martin of New England / Lotus Motorsports Inc. in Waltham, MA, although for the most part, vintage European cars are where his heart is. His need to over-indulge in vintage European cars of the 1950s and 1960s inevitably leads to coveting one more car. Recent garage inhabitants include a Porsche 356A Speedster and 356A European coupe, Ferrari 275 GTS and 246GT, BMW 2002 and a Hudson Hornet. HIs vintage-Porsche-driving wife, Amanda, tolerates this all nicely.

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