Lagonda V8

Lagonda V8 Description

Unveiled: October 1974

In production: August 1974 - June 1976

Chassis numbers: MP230/1, L/12001/RCAC - L/12007/RCAC

In 1974, Company Developments, the new owners of AML decided on the revival of the Lagonda marque and increase the range of cars offered to two. It was felt the prospects fast V8 powered four-door ‘limousine’ sufficiently encouraging for an updated car to be put into strictly limited production to bolster dwindling sales. The timing could not have been worse.

The new model, now called the Aston Martin Lagonda, combining the two historically famous makes in one car (with both names on badges), was broadly similar to the earlier prototype. The specification of the Lagonda V8 was very closely based on the contemporary AM V8 including the steel box-section chassis, steel superstructure, hand beaten aluminium coachwork and Weber carburettor fed V8 engine. The wheelbase had been stretched by 305 mm to 2915 mm and the car grew to an overall length of 4928 mm, an increase of 268 mm. Also fitted were the AM V8 GKN alloy wheels and a unique grille with an inverted horseshoe design with a similarity to that used on the 1960s Rapide. The car was unveiled to the British public in the autumn 1974 at the London Motor Show at Earls Court.

Only seven of the Lagonda V8 were built, of which at least two were left unfinished when in late 1974, the company went into administration. These were later completed under the new owners by 1976 but once sold, no more similar cars were planned. The price at introduction was a huge £14,040 including tax, an awful lot of money at a time that the world economy was in tatters following the Arab-Israeli conflict which had caused a huge increase in the price of oil. All seven cars were built RHD for the British market, five of which had the Chrysler Torqueflite transmission, the remaining two with the five-speed ZF manual.

Yet the four-door Lagonda story wasn't completed until more than 30 years later in 2007. An eighth chassis and superstructure (12008) had been assembled at the factory in the 1970s but was never but never finished as a complete car even after AML was saved. After many years, Roger Bennington of Stratton Motor Company, the Norfolk Aston Martin Heritage dealer, tracked down both the chassis and other parts still kept in the factory parts department. The project, which was initially announced 1998, took more than nine years to complete. Once completed, the Lagonda has been built to the final 1989MY V8 Vantage specification, including the more powerful Vantage engine, uprated suspension and brakes and ‘Oscar India’ style coachwork.

Lagonda V8 Specification

Body / Coachwork
Four-door four-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 three-speed automatic
Manual: ZF five-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, five-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 dissimilar to contemporary AMV8
Maximum speed: claimed 160 mph (manual)
Prices (including UK purchase tax/VAT and car tax where applicable)
October 1974: £14,040
1975: £15,638

Lagonda V8 Number Guide

The chassis number comprised of a prefix, number and suffix. The prefix of the production cars was an L for Lagonda. This was followed by a sequential chassis number from 12001 to 12007 and ended with a suffix of RCAC – right hand drive, Coolair air conditioning, and Cosmic Fire paint finish. Engine numbers were all matched to chassis number so the first car, L/12001/RCAC was fitted with engine V/540/2001.

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