Aston Martin’s periodic revival of the Lagonda name saw it applied to a stretched, 4-door V8 in the mid-1970s, a mere handful of which were constructed. When the concept re-emerged, it was the sensation of the 1976 London Motor Show. Clothed in striking “razor-edge” bodywork designed by William Towns — the man responsible for the DBS — the new Lagonda saloon used the same long-wheelbase V8 chassis as its immediate predecessor while breaking new ground in terms of electronic instrumentation and switch gear. Problems with the latter would delay production until April 1978, by which time a less-radical design had been adopted. The interior was every bit as luxurious as the exterior was futuristic, featuring selected Connolly hides, deep Wilton carpeting and plentiful walnut veneer, all hand-finished by skilled craftsmen in the best Aston Martin tradition. The Lagonda was face-lifted in 1987, acquiring a slightly softer, less hard-edged look, and continued in production until May 1990, by which time a total of 645 had been built. Even today, almost 40 years after its sensational debut, there are few cars that can match the visual presence of the Aston Martin Lagonda. A left-hand-drive model equipped with the almost universal automatic transmission, this example was first owned by one Najib Choufani (from the Lebanese Republic) who had the car registered in the U.K. (as C772 DRO) and delivered to Monte Carlo in French specification (see copy of original bill of sale on file). A letter on file claims that Aston Martin has confirmed that 13493 is the seventh car completed, with an engine incorporating hardened valve seats, which lets it run on unleaded fuel. The Lagonda was next owned (from 1991) by George Patterson of Exmouth, followed by Billy J. Smart of Waltham Abbey, who purchased it in 2008. The current vendor acquired the car in 2010. Chassis number 13493 comes with a large history file containing the service booklet, assorted correspondence and numerous bills/invoices recording regular maintenance and servicing by Aston Martin Lagonda and various specialists. The most recent invoice, issued by AML in May 2011, is for a 10,000-mile/annual service, a replacement oil cooler and extensive repairs to the sills and other lower body sections. Finished in Suffolk Red with magnolia leather upholstery, and described as in immaculate condition, this well-documented Lagonda is offered with the aforementioned history file, owner’s handbook, numerous expired MoT certificates, U.K. V5C document and a fresh MoT.  

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1985 Aston Martin Lagonda sedan
Number Produced:645
Original List Price:$150,000
Tune Up Cost:$933. After that, anything goes
Engine Number Location:Plate on right inner fender; engine number is stamped rear center top of block
Club Info:Aston Martin Owners Club

This car, Lot 625, sold for $37,387, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Paris Grand Palais Auction on February 7, 2013.

This legendary example of the classic “Beauty and the Beast” dichotomy was showcased at the Bonhams sale in Paris. Picture this: a 1985 Aston Martin Lagonda parked in the excessive elegance of the Grand Palais.

I guess our world puzzles me at times. I don’t understand the civilization-ending popularity of the Kardashians, the world’s current savage religious imbroglios, the true ingredients of haggis, why some golf balls spin and others don’t — or why anyone would insult their garage by parking a Suffolk Red Aston Martin Lagonda inside it. Any true, self-respecting, worn-out MG Midget, clapped-out Morris Minor or circus-color Citroën 2CV would commit suicide if forced to share a garage with the automotive anti-icon known as the Aston Martin Lagonda. Well, maybe these cars would quietly skulk away and find a place to rot in peace — and sabotage their own brakes for revenge on the owner.

The Grand Palais — a magnificent work of breathtaking architecture — was just sullied by this Ke$ha-mess of an automobile. Blech, just blech. I felt dirty just looking at it, and then I almost brushed up against it. Pop singer Ke$ha is having her pop-culture moment in much the same way this origami wedge did in the 1980s. Three, two, one and poof! If there’s any cosmic karma, Ke$ha will be relegated to the indignity of the “All-Time 10 Worst Pop Stars” — just like the Lagonda is placed on the “All-Time 10 Worst Cars” list each year.

If the steel girders in the Grand Palais could have come alive, they would have formed into a Transformers-like hand, punched a hole in the roof and thrown that pile of aluminum merde out to the Maginot Line in one swing.

Junk from a temple

My first visit to Aston Martin was 1985. It was old English cottage-industry craftsmanship at its finest. The body panel hammering was happily deafening, the one-technician engine building system artfully arcane and the smell of Connolly leather in the trim shop was curiously erotic. This Edwardian-era style of manufacturing produced the rather glorious, brutish and powerful V8 coupe, the Volantes, the Vantages — and the massive overreach known as the Lagonda.

With the Lagonda, Aston Martin was trying to build a space shuttle with technology from the Wright Brothers.

“We want to build a car with a 220-volt dashboard and mate it with a GM 3-speed slushbox and a glass sunroof that doesn’t actually open!” Do you see what I’m getting at? Reams of leather, pallets of burled wood, gallons of lacquer paint — all mated with electronics aching to leave the car where it was last parked.

This was the biggest car from stem to stern made with the smallest interior, a performance-neutering gearbox and ergonomics provided by Phineas and Ferb. No doubt Beauty and Beast were arguing in the boardroom.

Yes, Aston Martin sold 645 units, which may have bolstered the blood-red-ink bottom line during this production run. Yes, they catered to the newly wealthy, and yes, the Lagonda was considered “oh so modern and cutting edge” for five minutes. That’s it; that’s all you get. Crockett and Tubbs have aged better — and we don’t even know where Tubbs is!

I can’t believe that this stupendous absurdity of a car was built in a place that is still automotive hallowed ground. They were “Look at me because I’m famous, but I’ve never accomplished anything” cars. They are overweight, oddly shaped, slow — and don’t work most of the time. I knew the Kardashian thing would come full circle.

New owner needs luck, cash

In period, Aston Martin ran an ad that used the phrase “Demoralize Thy Neighbor.” Today, should you attempt to enjoy your newly purchased classic with any regularity, you will understand the phrase “Demoralize Your Wallet.” Folks, this is a warning. If you need proof, ask to see the wiring schematic for this car. You may as well buy a used Cray supercomputer to help write email and do Photoshop.

This transaction did have some merit, and there is a small silver lining to this sale. Kudos to Bonhams for placing this orphan. The car was Suffolk Red with Magnolia, which is sale-proof in most countries, and yet the car sold for the princely sum of $37,387.

Well sold, and bonne chance to the new owner. Hopefully he drove it away painlessly. You do know that at the world-wide launch the prototype failed to operate and had to be pushed? True story. ?

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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