V8 Lagonda Series 1
V8 Lagonda Series 1

V8 Lagonda Series 1

(1974 - 1976)

In 1972, Aston Martin was sold by Sir David Brown and passed into the hands of Company Developments, a Midlands based property company. Following David Brown's unique 1969 four door prototype, MP230, it was to be another five years before the Lagonda was available for the public to buy (or anyone with £14,000 to spend - and this was a lot of money in 1974). Technically similar the the two door V8 but with an extended wheelbase to 2915mm and the overall length pushed to 4928mm. Unfortunately the Middle East oil crisis and other economic problems meant that the market for a 160 mph super saloon was small. So small in fact that only seven of these cars were ever built. A sad end for a wonderful and extremely special motor car.

V8 Lagonda Series 1

The Blue car above is number 12004, photographed at Coys Festival, Silverstone in 1994. The Red car above Chassis number 2, photographed outside the showroom of Nicholas Mee in London during 2001: considered to be the most original of the seven cars.

Above is featured chassis number 5. This car has been very sympathetically updated by the Aston Martin specialist, R.S.Williams (RSW). The rear has been modified to ‘Oscar India’ specification with the neat rear integral lip, BBS cross spoke alloy wheels with the front having the discrete POW air dam and Oscar bonnet bulge. I also believe the engine has been uprated to RSW 7.0 litre specification and the interior has been updated to late 1980’s V8 spec. The car was photographed before the AMOC St. Georges day parade in Windsor in April 2005

Photographed at the Millennium Lagonda display at the AMOC Horsfall meeting, 2000, here are chassis numbers 12001 (brown car) and 12003 (light blue car). Number 1 was William Wilson’s car (initially registered SWW 6) who at the time was chairman of AML. Number 3, the 1974 Earls Court Show Car, now has an RSW 7.0 litre engine conversion.

This is the final car, chassis number 12007, which is one of the only two examples originally built with a manual gearbox, still fitted in 1998 when I saw the car. I am now led to believe that both manual cars are now converted to 7 litre RSW autos. 12007 has recently been brought upto 1989 specification and has featured in Octane, January 2004. The close up of the grille shows the headlight wash system that was standard equipment on the Lagonda.

But the four door Lagonda story wasn’t over over until 30 years later in 2007. An eighth chassis and superstructure (12008) was assembled at the factory but never finished following the company going into receivership in 1974. . After many years, Roger Bennington owner of Stratton Motor Company, the Norfolk Aston Martin dealer, tracked down both the chassis and other parts still kept in the factory parts department. The project, initially photographed in June 1998, took more than nine years to complete. Once finished in 2007, I caught up with the 12008 parked outside Sunnyside during the AM/Bonhams auction. Finished in metallic Rolls Royce Royal Blue with grey leather interior with contrasting piping, this Lagonda has been uprated to the specification of a 1989 Aston Martin Vantage, including the more powerful Vantage engine plus uprated suspension and brakes.

I believe that during the Summer of 2007, 12008, effectively a brand new car, was on sale with a substantial price tag

  • Body/Coachwork:
    • 4 door, 4 seater saloon
    • Steel platform chassis with handcrafted aluminium alloy body panels
    • Dual 7” Lucas halogen headlamps with standard wash/wipe
  • Interior:
    • Full leather interior, with sheepskin front seat covers
    • Wilton carpets with sheepskin over-rugs
    • Coolair air-conditioning system
    • Adjustable reclining seats, map pockets to rear
    • Philips stereo radio/cassette with voice/radio recording facility
  • Engine:
    • Front mounted all-alloy 90° V8, 5,340 cc, two-valves-per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank.
    • Engine number prefix V540/
    • Bore 100 mm. Stroke 85 mm. Compression ratio 9.0 : 1
    • Four Weber 42 DCNF downdraught carburettors.
    • SU high pressure dual fuel pump
    • Maximum power: not quoted at the time but now believed to be between 280 bhp and 300 bhp
    • Maximum torque: not quoted at the time but now believed to be 320 lb.ft @ 3,000 rpm
  • Transmission:
    • Automatic: Chrysler Torqueflite 3 speed automatic
    • Manual: ZF 5 speed. Hydraulically operated 10.5″ single plate clutch
    • Final drive: Salisbury hypoid bevel with Powr-Lok limited slip differential. Final drive ratio: 3.54 : 1 (manual), 3.07 : 1 (automatic)
  • Steering:
    • Power assisted Adwest rack and pinion, 2.9 turns lock to lock. Turning circle between curbs of about 13.5 metres
  • Wheels and tyres:
    • Bolt-on, 5 stud GKN 15 x 7 ” light alloy wheels
    • GR70 VR15 radial low profile tyres
  • Suspension:
    • Front: Independent, unequal transverse wishbones, coil springs and co-axial telescopic shock absorbers with an anti-roll bar
    • Rear: De Dion axle tube located by parallel trailing links and a Watts linkage. Coil springs and double acting piston type shock absorbers
  • Brakes:
    • Front: Girling ventilated discs; 10.75″ diameter
    • Rear: Inboard ventilated steel discs, 10.38” diameter Tandem master cylinder, servo assisted
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 4,928 mm (excluding overriders)
    • Width: 1,829 mm
    • Height: 1,352 mm
    • Kerb Weight: 2,000 kg
    • Wheelbase: 2,914 mm
    • Front track: 1,499 mm
    • Rear track: 1,499 mm
    • Fuel tank capacity: 90.8 litres + 13.6 litre reserve
  • Performance:
    • No known tests but performance not disimilar to contemporary AMV8
    • Maximum speed: claimed 160 mph (manual)
  • Price at launch:
    • October 1974: £14,040
    • 1975: £15,638