Weber Carburettors

Weber Carburettors Description

Aston Martin Lagonda (Weber carburettors)

Unveiled: October 1976

In production: 1978 — 1985

Chassis numbers: 13001 – 13009 with 13003 used for jigs (prototypes); 13010 – 13463, plus 14228 in place of 13228 (production)

The first Lagondas (to chassis 13029) had engines with the V540 prefix. These differ from those engines used in other contemporary Aston Martin models, having unique heads with larger valves.

In April 1980, from chassis 13030, the Lagonda received the V580 engine with 9.3:1 compression ratio, an engine which became common across the Aston Martin range.

From late 1982, the Lagonda was certified for sale in the important US market. In order to comply with the strict emission regulations, these cars all received the Federal lead-free, catalysed V580/LFA engine with sealed air box and carbon canisters. Additional changes for the US market were deeper bumpers to comply with the 5 mph impact regulations, cars were fitted with side marker lights on front and rear wings and a high level central brake light was fitted to the rear parcel shelf.

The rear lights on the Lagonda were incorporated into the boot lid so that when it is lifted, these were no longer visible from behind which was in contravention of the rules in many markets. This was solved with additional internal boot lights fixed under the lid and clearly visible when the boot was open. These did impede into the available boot space somewhat but were, oddly perhaps, not required for either the normally safety conscious US market or the Middle East. These additional lamps and indicators remained housed inside the boot lid until the facelift Lagonda (from 13540).

The first major round of updates was announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show on 13th September 1983, showcased on 13269 and in production from 13284. Most noticeable were the adoption of the GKN ‘pepper-pot’ alloy wheels which were also used on contemporary Jaguar XJ saloons. The US specification deeper bumpers were standardised across all markets and also added was a discrete front airdam. Seats were revised with pleated leather on squab and backrest, the rear windows were redesigned so that they could be opened. Around this time badge lost the 'Aston Martin' script and in marketing material the car was just became known as the Lagonda.

A total of 382 Lagondas with the LED digital instrumentation were built before the next series of electronic instruments were introduced.

Cathode Ray Tube instrumentation

At the British Motor Show at the NEC in October 1984 was the UK debut for the cathode ray tube (CRT) multi-lingual Lagonda, showcased on chassis number 13380, in production from 13385. The previous array of LED digits was replaced by three, green on black, 5 inch CRTs with a graphical display for speed, revs, messages and warnings. The CRTs allowed for a new instrument binnacle that was considerably lower in height than the LED type and much closer to that proposed for the prototype back in 1976. Warnings were also emphasised verbally by synthesized voice which could be specified in English, French, German or Arabic. The touch buttons, still on the pair of backlit side binnacles were replaced by more conventional miniature black rocker switches, each with an illuminated red dot. The distinctive single spoke steering wheel was dropped and replaced by a more conventional two spoke with new General Motors sourced steering column and stalks as used on the AM V8. The pepper-pot wheels where replaced by Centra disc wheels with machined faces (later painted) and with bolts hidden behind a lockable cover.

Cathode ray tube instrumentation was fitted to only 120 cars making it the rarest instrument type for the Lagonda.

Weber Carburettors Derivatives

Tickford Lagonda

A conversion by Tickford Ltd, the engineering division of AML, was unveiled at the London Motorfair on 19th October 1983. The pearlescent white car featured fully colour coded side skirts (it was the 1980s of course!), a deep front air dam, rear below bumper valance. The first car was also fitted with BBS cross spoke alloy wheels with Pirelli P7 tyres as used on the contemporary Vantage. With front and rear TVs, expensive hi-fi and cocktail cabinet were also part of the package, the price was £85,000, a supplement of £19,000 over the standard car. At present, eleven are known to the Register, (13047, 13150, 13178, 13193, 13229, 13271, 13423, 13455, 13456, 13475, 13490) some upgraded from new by Tickford themselves and others being later conversions by Works Service.

Lagonda Limousine by Tickford

A long wheel-based Tickford limousine version appeared in the autumn of 1984, priced at £110,000, approaching double the price of the standard car. The wheelbase was stretched by 250 mm, all aft of the B pillar giving rear seat passenger a similar amount of additional leg room. The roof was also slightly modified towards the rear of the car to provide additional headroom for the rear passengers. To avoid homologation problems with UK cars, the donor Lagonda needed to the road registered prior to conversion by Tickfords. Only four were ever built and sold, 13235, 13283, 13375 13418, three with left hand drive. Chassis 13375, the only right hand drive Tickford Limousine was also the only example known to have received the Tickford bodywork enhancements.

Lagonda Shooting Brakes by Roos and Kielstra

Chassis 13511 was converted by AM Heritage specialist Roos Engineering in Switzerland to shooting brake specification in the late 1990s. The car retains the long low lines of the original saloon as well the standard wheelbase and doors.

Dutch AMOC member, Harry Kielstra, revealed his very own design of shooting brake based on chassis 13059 in 2012.

Lagonda Stretch Limousine

Chassis 13233 was extended by around a meter and a half by an unknown US coach builder in the 1980s reputably at the behest of the Saudi Arabian Oil Ministry. The car received some publicity when it appeared on that most stereotypical 1980s US TV series, Miami Vice.

Lagonda 2-Door Convertible

Lagonda enthusiast Harry Kielstra is creating an even more extensive conversation of chassis 13057 to two-door convertible specification.

Weber Carburettors Variants

Perhaps the most common after-market modification on the Lagonda is the adoption of conventional analogue instruments. Although electronics and microprocessors are used in almost all systems of new cars nowadays, the Lagonda was arguably the first to make use of a computer in a motor car. Whilst the initial Lagonda computer will have worked fine on the workshop bench, the hostile environment of a car due to vibration, wide range of temperatures and the unstable output of the battery was very deleterious on the emerging electronic technology. Some owners lost patience with the digital instruments and have had them replaced by more reliable analogue dials. Thankfully, for those with skills and patience or alternatively, deep pockets, the computer and instruments can be made to work reliably.

As has already been alluded to, the low bonnet line which necessitated a slimmer air box meant that the power output of the Lagonda V8 lagged a little behind that of the regular AM V8. One example, 13035 was given a Tickford specification V8. Sadly the large air box need to clear the larger Weber carburettors meant the car had a large and unsightly bonnet bulge. There are also a few examples with 6.3, 7.0 or even 7.1 litre engine conversions. There are also unconfirmed reports that Works Service tried fitting a supercharged V590 Vantage engine into a Lagonda. Pictures appeared on the internet that certainly did show that, but Works deny that the engine remained fitted to the car.

Weber Carburettors Specification

Body / Coachwork
Four-door four-eater saloon
Steel platform chassis with handcrafted aluminium alloy body panels
Four pop-up halogen headlamps powered by electric motors
Front fog and spot lamps, indicator and parking lamps enclosed behind electrically heated glass panels
Interior
Full Connolly leather interior, fabric headlining
Wilton carpets with sheepskin over-rugs
Digital LED Instrumentation to October 1984. Three, 5 inch CRT screens with verbal warnings from October 1984
Full air-conditioning to front, separately controlled cool air-conditioning to rear from mid 1981
Power window lifts, and front seat controls. Early cars with fixed rear windows
Fixed glass panel to rear compartment roof
Stereo radio cassette, Pioneer / Tenvox / Alpine / Blaupunkt Washington, four speakers, initially with automatic rear wing aerial, later with roof mounted aerial
Engine
Front-mounted all-alloy 90° V8, 5,340 cc, two-valves-per cylinder, twin overhead camshafts per bank. Engine number prefix V540/. Later prefix V580/
Bore 100 mm. Stroke 85 mm. Compression ratio 9.0:1, later revised to 9.5:1 (V540), 9.25:1 (V580) 8.0:1 (V580/LFA)
Four Weber down-draught 42DCNF twin-choke carburettors
Maximum power: not quoted but estimated at 280 bhp @ 5,000 rpm (210 +/- bhp V580 Emission Control LFA)
Maximum torque: not quoted but estimated at 350 lb.ft @ 4,500 rpm
Air injection system: AC Delco air pump
Four catalytic convertors on Emission Control LFM & LFA
Fuel Evaporative System with sealed airbox and carbon canisters
Ignition system: Lucas 'OPUS' Mk 2 electronic. 12 volt coil and engine driven Lucas 35DE8 distributor
1982 on Lucas 35 DM8 CE (Constant Energy) system from 1982 (13198)
Transmission
Automatic: Chrysler TorqueFlite three-speed automatic. No manual option
Cruise control as standard
Final drive: Salisbury hypoid bevel with Powr-Lok limited slip differential
Final drive ratio: 3.058:1, 3.54:1 for LFA cars
Steering
Power-assisted rack and pinion, 2 turns lock to lock. Turning circle 11.58m
Wheels and Tyres
Bolt-on, 5-stud, steel 6JK x 15 pierced wheels with painted trims (to September 1983)
Bolt-on, 5-stud, alloy 15 inch 'pepperpot' GKN alloy wheels (from September 1983)
Bolt-on, 5-stud, alloy 7J x 15HT 'Centra' wheels (from October 1984)
Avon Turbosteel 235/70 HR15 tyres, later changed to VR15
Optional 7J x 15 BBS wheels with Pirelli P7 255/60 VR15 tyres
Suspension
Front: independent, featuring unequal transverse wishbones, coil springs and co-axial telescopic shock absorbers with an anti-roll bar
Rear: De-Dion tube, Watts linkage and trailing links. Self-levelling by pressurised co-axial spring shock absorber units
Brakes
Front: ventilated steel discs, 273 mm diameter
Rear: ventilated steel discs, 264 mm diameter
Tandem master cylinders with integral servo
Dimensions
Length: 5,283 mm
Width: 1,816 mm
Height: 1,302 mm
Kerb weight: Initially quoted as 1,980 kg, later revised to 2,064 kg and then 2,096 kg
Wheelbase: 2,916 mm
Front track: 1,499 mm
Rear track: 1,499 mm
Fuel tank capacity: initially quoted as 126 litres, later revised to 104.6 litres + reserve
Boot capacity: 13 cu.ft
Performance
Maximum speed: 143 mph (135 mph for LFA cars)
Acceleration: 0-60 mph 8.8 seconds (10.1 seconds LFA cars)
Acceleration: 0-100 mph 20.5 seconds
Prices (including UK purchase tax/VAT and car tax where applicable)
May 1977: £24,570
October 1977: £32,630
April 1979: £37,500
November 1979: £49,933
March 1981: £53,500
February 1982: £56,500 (USA $150,000)
February 1983: £59,500
November 1983: £66,000
June 1985: £75,000

Weber Carburettors Number Guide

Chassis numbers started with the prototype 13001 with matching engine numbers with the format V/5**/3***. Prefixes initially were L/ then became LOOR and LOOL for RHD and LHD respectively from 13004. A single car, 13228 was renumbered as 14228, presumably as the owner was superstitious. Seventeen digit VIN numbers began in 1982 initially with US market cars and on all cars from 1984.

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