Will This Low-Mileage Lagonda Tempt Bidders Who'll Party like It's 1989?

Jay Ramey
·4 min read
Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers
Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers

From Autoweek

The Aston Martin Lagonda was the British marque's boldest experiments in decades, as the automaker sought to revive its sedan sub-brand in the 1970s. The Lagonda made a big splash at its debut and enjoyed a relatively long run, even if its eventual production volume never quite matched up to the company's hopes. The car failed to break the 1,000-unit mark after more than a decade. And its time arguably never quite arrived.

In a few days a Lagonda from one of the last batches produced during the second-to-last model year will roll across the auction block in the U.K., a Series IV car from 1989 with low miles and just three previous owners including the consignor.

Has the Lagonda's time as an investment-grade car finally arrived?

The Aston Martin Lagonda sedan that was first shown in 1976 at the London motor show wasn't even the first British automaker's first effort to sell four-door sedans in the previous two decades. A string of low-volume efforts preceded the model, including four-doors based on the Aston Martin V8 and known as the Series I cars.

Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers
Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers

William Towns styled the 1976 Series II Lagonda. He paired a long, low fuselage with a relatively modest cabin and the automaker's V8 engine. The interior was just as futuristic as the exterior, with a single-spoke steering wheel, cathode ray tube instruments that looked like a computer from a sci-fi film and an equally angular interior aesthetic matching the wedge-shaped exterior. That wedge-shaped exterior, by the way, was not composed entirely of straight lines, contrary to popular belief at the time. Every surface had a subtle angle to it including the A-pillars. In fact they actually had a fairly noticeable curvature. The early cars also employed a curious visual trick, making the car appear more elevated above its chassis, featuring door sills in a darker color. This had the effect of making the Lagonda appear to sit higher on its chassis than it really did, even though subsequent versions sedan opted for the opposite appearance.

A 5.3-liter V8 producing 280 hp powered the Series II Lagonda and was produced until 1985. The facelifted Series III was produced just between 1986 and 1987, with Aston updating the instrument panel and the car's design. The Series IV finished up the model run between 1987 and 1990 with a heavier facelift, with some more-obvious changes being the demise of pop-up headlights from the previous versions.

Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers
Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers

The example that Historics will offer in a few days was sold new to the U.K. in August, 1989, with its first owner keeping the car for 27 years. The Lagonda is finished in Winchester Blue over a Parchment interior with blue piping, and comes with a set of matching, custom-made suitcases. The car shows 20,293 miles.

"The original invoice is in the file together with correspondence between the factory and the first owner, there are also a number of service invoices from the Newport Pagnell based manufacturer," the auction house notes. "Aesthetically a futuristic design, the interior is an area of beauty with deep comfortable seats, walnut in plentiful supply and a dashboard that, by any standards, was classed as state-of-the art."

The auction house estimates this Lagonda to bring between £95,000 and £110,000 on auction day, or between $126,600 and $146,600. This would be close to top money for a Lagonda, and likely reflects its no-stories history and three-ownership tenure. But will bidders agree and treat this as an investment that will appreciate, or will it be bought by someone who wants to party like it's 1989?

Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers
Photo credit: Historics Auctioneers

The mileage might seem low for a car from 1989, but are there a lot of high-mileage Lagondas out there? Not many were pushed beyond the 100,000-mile mark, and there are quite a few examples out there in dire need of expert service, having been neglected for years on end in garages. There are several out there with needs, and luckily for the eventual buyer this doesn't appear to be one. On the other hand, if one were buying a Lagonda to drive quite frequently, there are solid examples with more miles that are sorted mechanically and can be enjoyed without too much care for the miles or for stone chips.

So is this an investment-grade example (to the extent you consider a Lagonda to be an appreciable asset), or is this a car to enjoy driving?

Sign up for comments and let us know. And visit the auction website to view the full list of lots from the upcoming sale on December 12.