Pre-Boom? 1985 Aston Martin Lagonda

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Old luxury cars tend to spend many years in used-car purgatory, with their values diminished by gee-whiz technology features that inevitably fail – victims of the very innovations that today seems commonplace but when introduced was light-years ahead. From touchscreens to LED lighting, the Aston Martin Lagonda had it all, but subpar reliability destined it to seemingly instant has-been status. Barn Finds reader Peter R. spotted this 1985 model here on eBay, and it needs a lot of love. 

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One of the most talked about features of these Lagondas has always been the CRT gauges, which looked like a high-definition arcade screen unfolding right in front of your eyes. Unfortunately, a very rudimentary computer controlled these high-tech readouts and was prone to failure. In this case, the seller says they still work! Of course, that’s just one set of electronically-controlled features verified as working – there’s a long list of troubleshooting ahead of the next owner.

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The 4-cam V8 moved along OK, albeit with abysmal gas mileage. Shifting was provided by a familiar Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic transmission, and apparently still runs and drives in this case. There’s only 29,000 miles on this Lagonda, but don’t think for a second that means this beast is in turnkey condition. Still, I think the seller is on to something when he says these cars are rising in value. With only 645 made over the entire production cycle, they are seriously rare.

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The paint has already been stripped to reveal a rust-free body. The wheels are not stock and look terrible but the originals are included. Despite their shortcomings, these Lagondas were considered the pinnacle of luxury at the time and was a technological powerhouse. While this will be a massive undertaking fraught with frustrating electrical gremlins, almost every low-volume Aston Martin has become an auction superstar. Do you see a high-value future for the Lagonda?

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Comments

  1. Scotty G

    Oh yeah, there is mos-def (as any self-respecting rap star / Lagonda-owner would say) a very bright future for the Lagonda, value-wise. Everything else is being snapped up, so much so that I’m finding it hard to find any nice, old.. weird Japanese cars (I know, they all rusted away, zzzzzzz).. Cars like this will be highly collectible in the future, but someone has to re-manufacturer e’lectronical (as they say) parts and bits that wear out on these highly-technical cars from the ’80s. Restoring a vehicle without the needed electronic and computer parts would take Al Einstein & Co. to figure out for sure, there may not be many restoration shops that can rebuild computer chips and diodes. I could be wrong.

    Talk about an iconic design, I wonder if anyone has ever really had a reliable, totally-sorted Lagonda that they would just jump in and drive cross-country without worry?

  2. van

    Neat would describe this car. But
    Keeping everything working might be impossible
    There was a lola T-70 back in the day with a DBS V8 engine
    RCR makes a fantastic lola
    I might have to say donner
    And I love Astons
    Evel Knieval had his serviced in Atlanta.

  3. wynkin

    The value of these is shooting up. I visited the factory at the time they were made and it was shocking, the bad vibes, admissions of the workers that they couldn’t care about quality. The few that did care showed us some of the substandard workmanship especially the hand-shaped body panels with split edges. The electronic dashboards on this Aston apparently hardly worked properly from day one!

  4. PaulG

    Interesting find, but the electrical restoration would take some doing. This seller has several other collectible vehicles on eBay, including a Countach…

  5. jim s

    a stalled project, i think. would need a lot of time/money to get this back to like new. interesting find

  6. AMC STEVE

    I wouldn’t paint the car. The body looks to be quality work meaning no welds or seams visible so I would get it looking the best raw metal can and clear the car.

    It has really sexy lines don’t it. I’d love to have this car.

  7. Doyler

    I would love the shooting break version. But that was custom, and probably mucho $$$$

  8. Randy

    This car actually looks stunning when modified into a two-door coupe. There are a few examples out there, including an Aston Works modified copy that was used as the development “Mule” for the Virage.

    The Shooting Brakes (not “Breaks”) are an acquired taste, but so is the original car. Lagonda’s converted to analogue gauges are definitely the way to go with these.

    Like any other project car, find the best you can afford and modify from there.

    • grant

      Thank you for using “brakes” instead of “breaks”…. that just bugs the hell out of me!

  9. Randy

    Here are the specifications for exterior dimensions:

  10. HeadMaster1

    I would LOVE one of these……..maybe someday and through 5 litre supercharged jag engine into it…fast and reliable

  11. Mark E

    Could have bought one of these about ten years ago for $7500. Was in WAY better, drivable condition but the car had been rear-ended. This is a classic example of an elegant Robert Townes design but until someone comes up with a work around for the electronics they will just be trailerable works of art. BTW, the subject is a MkI model while the pic Randy posted is of the final MkIII iteration. The instrument panel changed with each model, one model having two CRT displays for driver info. At the time these were first produced they were the most expensive production car available.

  12. grant

    I probably won’t make any friends here, and I understand the rarity, but these cars are just ugly. I’d never seen one, and when I looked I couldn’t believe it is an Aston Martin. It looks like a badly customized 80’s GM product, right down to the 84 Cavalier steering wheel. And is apparently similar in build quality. But someone should save it, if only to remind us of what not to do.

    • St. Ramone de V8

      I’m with you, Grant, and ready for the backlash. Apart from the cool front end, these look like they are made from Lego. Inside and out. With the well known problems, I think the market for this is slim.

  13. Chris A.

    The two door version looks like a skinny Bertone Volvo Coupe.

  14. Keith

    There’s a guy near my shop that’s got one of these in a storage unit that he occasionally brings out to drive around. It appears to be in perfect shape. You can almost hear necks snapping to look at the thing as it rolls down the street. Not sure what the market is like for these but I’ve always found their oddball looks intriguing.

  15. Mark-A

    The wheels on the EBay car look absolutely terrible imo! Incorrect wheels raise more questions, what else is incorrect on the vehicle? Walk away just now when you still have a wallet!

  16. Mike

    Andretti drove one back in the day .

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