Lincoln Powered: 1980 Aston Martin Lagonda

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We all have cars or trucks in our life that we wish we could own were it not for the vehicle’s absolutely horrific quality control. Many affordable exotics fall into this category, which is why you see Jaguars with SBC swap kits installed and brand-new Lotuses with Toyota running gear. The Aston Martin Lagonda is one of those iconic models that represented a huge lift on behalf of the engineers tasked with designing it but their efforts in the planning stages didn’t prevent the Lagonda from becoming an expensive nuisance after just a few short years on the road. Fortunately, the seller of this Lagonda here on eBay has addressed this shortcoming by swapping in a V8 engine from a modern Lincoln.

The Lagonda was always on the verge of becoming somewhat of a laughingstock of the exotic car marketplace. The looks were not so much striking as they were weird, and the reaction from consumers was a mixed bag. It was not a good car to own if you had fragile self-esteem, as critiques from passers-by about the Lagonda’s appearance were likely pretty cutting. Still, give Aston Martin credit for pushing the envelope as it related to the styling standards of the day, as that shock to the system was desperately needed in a malaise era defined by mediocrity. The Lincoln V8 replaces a four-cam, carbureted V8, which likely results in having an engine that is much easier to live with long-term.

One of the big failings of the Lagonda was the interior. Not so much the styling, which was out of this world, but the electronics, which were known to be unstable at best and extremely costly to repair when components like the digital LCD dashboard failed. What’s incredible is how the seller has redone the entire cabin to look just as stunning as the original but with easy to live with modern components. I love it – it’s still a stylish, show car-like cockpit without living in fear of some obsolete component failing and leaving you with a dark dash. There’s plenty of other work that’s been done here – look at the rest of the dash, the center console, and the HVAC controls – but the seller doesn’t say much about it, aside from mentioning that it now sports Dakota Digital dash components.

The paint appears to be in stunning condition as well, and the seller refers to it as a “…beautiful black paint job” which I interpret to mean that it has been redone. This was a serious labor of love and I’m curious if the seller set out to convert a Lagonda to daily driver-reliable specs or if he owned it for a period of years in original condition before he lost patience with the finicky drivetrain. Either way, the original engine and transmission are no longer with the Lagonda, so this won’t be a matching-numbers car ever again – not that I’m sure it really matters, given the whole point of stripping the original components was to create a Lagonda you can actually use every day. What do you think – would you have gone through with this conversion or tried to nurse the original car along?

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  1. JCAMember

    Wow, pretty nice work. Like the dash. Looks like a 4.6 from a Town Car

    Like 8
    • Larry Williams

      No thanks show me the whole vehicle

      Like 16
      • JCAMember

        I’m able to see the quality despite the lack of presentation. I realize that everyone can’t

        Like 5
  2. alphasudMember

    I get what the person who installed a Ford 4.6 driveline and instrumentation into this car was trying to do. Aston Martin was never a brand you buy for its reliability. Unfortunately the Lagonda was the unloved Aston for many years and when they fell into disrepair they wound up in the hands of owners who could not maintain them. Nowadays the Lagonda has become a collectible and values and appreciation has risen. It’s nice that this one stayed out of the spare parts bin but too much of its originality has been removed. I like the design but would only consider an original. I remember the instrumentation went through a few revisions. I know the original was LED displays which was cutting edge in the 70’s then they went to a CRT display and finally VFD as the technology evolved. I believe it was also the Lagonda that bankrupted the company. Cool cars and if you like the design there is nothing else like it.

    Like 10
    • nlpnt

      Nothing? Nothing that radical, yes, but it always seemed to me like the concept sketch for what would become the ’77-79 Caprice/Impala come to life, without the compromises for functionality and buildability in between. (That would be summed up by a Lagonda owner sending the purchases from a Fifth Avenue or Rodeo Drive shopping spree home in a taxi, which of course would’ve been a Big Chevrolet.)

      Like 0
  3. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    How darned difficult would it be to back this car out of the garage and get a full picture from anything greater than three feet away?

    Like 50
    • E

      I had to go online and Google the car to see what we’re looking at. Very nice looking car, the seller could have done it much better justice if they tried

      Like 15
    • DelBoy

      Couldn’t agree more with you Fahrvergnugen. This level of effort and quality of the photography is appalling. Makes you wonder if any real skill has gone into the car’s restoration. Saw one of these in a scrap yard years ago. Some fool had bought it sight unseen and a restorer was awaiting money and further instructions. Opened the trunk to see nothing but dirt. Floor and wheel wells were rusted out. For a ‘luxury’ car, that’s a terrible indictment of Aston Martin’s build quality.

      Like 4
      • Gerard Frederick

        Aston Martin was always a disaster, no exceptions. How it was possible that such a monstrously bad car didn´t disapppear, but lost money year after year and yet found rich fools who kept it afloat. The Lagonda was a stunning example of a failure and the man who spent huge gobs of dough to make this a viable car deserves a lot of credit. The question is, after going througfh all that effort, why is he selling, why are the photos of the worst quality and what is the background story.

        Like 6
    • TheOldRanger

      I agree…. not a decent picture of the car period.

      Like 7
  4. gippy

    I was always a fan of the Lagonda, but the conversion puts you into 2 negative categories-
    1. Engine swaps never end up being all that you wanted- little gremlins seem to grow in them
    2. The Lagonda itself still has the typical low production/exotic issues of parts availability.
    One has to wonder what the wiring harness looks like- nicely done or a Gordion knot of crimp on trailer connectors and mis-matched wire colors.
    A serious in person inspection is warranted.

    Like 10
  5. DRV

    I’m all for it because the original is undrivable for any length of time no matter what you do.

    Like 2

    i think i’ll just punch myself in the ‘nads and call it a day

    Like 19
  7. drew

    This is same guy who had the Ferrari 412 for sale. Did not meet reserve.

    Like 3
    • Ken

      I see a trend in the seller’s eccentric tastes!

      Like 1
      • D. Nieuwenhuis

        I bought a Lamborghini Espada from him about 10 years ago, and prior to that an Austin-Healey. Without any problems.

        Like 2
  8. Reg Bruce

    The Lagonda dash issues were finally resolved by A-M hiring Javelina Electronics (right here in Tucson) to apply their knowledge of avionics technology to the problem(s). Alas, it was too late to save the Lagonda’s reputation as being unreliable — in more ways than just the dash!
    I doubt that very many people have the money and the will to restore one of these cars to 100% original condition and so, if this one was modified by somebody with the required skills to do it properly (and had corrected the PCV issues with the Lincoln engine), then this would be the ideal cruiser for the local C & C.


    Like 4
  9. Howie

    With these pictures i guess they really don’t want to sell it.

    Like 12
  10. SteVen

    Well if you’re going to go with a Ford mechanicals, how about using the supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 Predator engine from the Shelby GT500 (760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque) along with its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission? Kind of like the Incredible Hulk in an Armani suit. Now that would be one kick a$$ ride!

    Like 2
  11. GeorgeMember

    What fun it must be with a dashboard that’s essentially a 30 year old one-of-100 British computer!

    Great move. Instead of an authentic device best considered an expensive bit of S&M equipment, he has a car he can enjoy, that will be scoweled at by penniless pontificators

    Like 7
  12. DA

    Terrible pictures. Another vehicle for sale on eBay where bidders are searching the reserve. If he really wants to sell it, he should get someone else to take good pictures and accept the fact that on this weirdo vehicle, he’ll be lucky to get half of his investment. Some of it he has already driven out on the weekends.

    I too, would like to see the harness and how the engine swap went. Also, the engine will be the determining factor for emissions – so 1980 went out the window there. It has to conform to whatever specifications are in play for the 4.6 engine, which could be between 1990 and 2014 (I did no research to determine the year by appearance).

    How did ancillary equipment mate to existing plumbing or electrics? Any time this thing needs repair, it may have to go to someone capable of fabricating some items. Is the HVAC operational, and is it R-12, or has it been updated? Hope he has a booklet or manual on all of the changes and where all the added parts came from.

    Like 3
    • JCAMember

      I recommend a Camry if you are looking for a reliable daily

      Like 7
  13. Jeffro

    Stevie Wonder took all the exterior pics.

    Like 8
  14. Sam Chontos

    Scary to see that there is another Lagonda visible in one of the pictures. Tempting, but it is still the most unreliable Aston ever conceived. Cool body lines, but an excellent body looks less appealing on the side of the road. That sentiment holds true fairly consistently.

    Like 0
  15. Gerald

    Did the seller have rat rod pickup on ebay last summer? The car I’m thinking of had the radiator in the bed and was described as running hot.

    Like 0
  16. Neil

    It’s the British “Knight Rider” car, an Aston KITT! The black color and the dashboard nails it.
    Hopefully it speaks with a Midlands accent instead of Cockney.

    Like 1

    I’d rather take a naked running jump crotch first onto a cactus than spend $5 of my hard earned money on this monstrosity. Who in God’s name tries to sell a friggin ASTIN MARTIN anything with such poor quality pictures? The only reason someone would buy a Lagonda is if they had to get rid of a literal room full of drug money and couldn’t find something better. No thanks, I’ll stick with my Yugo.

    Like 1
  18. Mark Doane

    I remember watching Prince (now King) Charles commenting on the exotic styling of these squashed flat Lagondas on “Pebble Mill at One” on BBC when I was a schoolboy. We were living in a futuristic World of Concordes and Intercity 125 trains and weird digital dashboards in very flat Astons seemed like the inevitable next step at the time. It seems like a very long time ago because it was.

    These trendsetting British styling excercises often do well, eventually — Not all: the XJS and Rover SDI haven’t done as well as hoped,.but the peculiar looking RR Camargue has, and I suspect these will too, eventually.

    It’s a shame about the engine.

    Like 2
  19. Philip

    For all of the commenters that have never owned an Aston Martin but know the Aston’s quality and reliability, thanks for your insights.

    Like 3
    • Gerard Frederick

      You are very welcome!

      Like 0
    • MichaelMember

      Having owned an Aston Martin, I can say that they seem to have done VERY well road racing which is THE TEST OF THE BREED! They were raced as produced in accord with strict FIA specifications not after being completely redesigned to survive racing stresses! They STILL can be watched racing at Goodwood historic car races on U tube

      Like 0
  20. ClassicCarFan

    Yes, I’d agree with other comments, when a company tries to take too bigger lea in styling – it often misses the mark. you can look at that two ways…either salute the company for trying to do something really different, or criticize them for bad judgment…

    Relatively speaking, the AM Lagonda was not really a flop…they did sell 645 of them. bear in mind AM was never a mass producer of cars. if you compare to their AM V8 Coupe series 3, in similar timeframe in mid 1970s that only sold 967 cars.

    as for this engine swapped car… Lincoln 4.6 makes 201 bhp, AM Lagonda V8 made 280 bhp, so this was a serious downgrade in performance?

    and however much anyone might pile on AM reliability issues, for the limited market of collectors or enthusiasts who do want an AM Lagonda, I’m pretty sure this one will be a lot less valuable now without it’s original motor

    as for the comment ” Aston Martin was always a disaster, no exceptions” – well, everyone can have an opinion. I suspect on balance most knowledgeable car enthusiasts would disagree. It’s a reasonable argument that they were a basket case in business terms for much of their history, but that is true of many high-end exotic car companies. They made some sunning cars. take a quick look at the prices that nice examples of DB5, DB6, or even the “Oscar India” AM V8 coupes are selling for…

    Like 2
    • JCAMember

      You can get to 280 HP easily with a 4.6 with just bolt ons and probably up to 350 before boosting. Parts are cheap and its easy to work on. This car shows up on the worst cars in history list because of the drive train and electronics. Changing those to something reliable is a huge job and a huge plus

      Like 0
      • Philip

        I looked at few of those “worst cars in history lists” and every list describes the bold move of Aston to use the CRT displays and electronics, albeit with issues, but not one lists the drive train. And why would they, that Lagonda DOHV V8 is considered very reliable, except with the early fuel injection system, and the Chrysler 727 torqueflite trans which has never been maligned.

        Like 1
      • JCAMember

        Because of the parts. Try to find just an alternator

        Like 0
  21. Howie

    Went to $28,200 reserve not met.

    Like 0

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