Aston Martin Lagonda Series II in red
The car of the future in the 1980s still has plenty of appeal decades later.
Jeremy/Creative Commons

Revisiting the Surreal Heyday of the Aston Martin Lagonda

A luxury sedan ahead of its time in many ways

As was the case with many things in the decade in question, the mid-80s were a strange point in automotive history. Technological advances made plenty of cars feel almost robotic in design — the 1985 Chrysler Laser, while not quite KITT from Knight Rider, is but one example. But the Laser was far from alone in what would now be considered retrofuturistic design elements.

Topping that list might well be the Aston Martin Lagonda. Writing at Autoblog, Brett Berk looks back on the car’s history. As Berk notes, this model’s eccentricities have earned it something of a cult following over the years. Some of that, he writes, can be attributed to the work of designer William Towns.

Towns delivered an outrageous wedge of ultra-luxury sedan, with a miniscule rectangular grille, a plank-like prow, steeply angled pillars, and a truncated trunk. A 280-horsepower quad-cam, quad-carb 5.3-liter V8 put power to the rear wheels via a Chrysler three-speed automatic transmission, yielding single digit fuel economy.

Also present? A digital dashboard and touch-screen controls. Berk quotes Hagerty Price Guide’s Dave Kinney, who says that younger drivers have embraced those features. Kinney describes buyers who “take Lagonda’s electronics as a challenge, to update and repair using modern controls.”

Writing at Jalopnik earlier this year, Erica Lourd provided an overview of the Lagonda’s digital console. This included both CRTs — yes, like in pre-flatscreen televisions — and a CPU not unlike the ones used for arcade video games at the time.

If you’re suitably intrigued, the Autoblog article notes that a 1985 Lagonda Series II is on sale in Miami for just under $75,000. Even better, it has fewer than 9,000 miles on it. What’s not to like about the car of the future — in the future?

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