Does a good idea have to be a smart idea? Conventional wisdom probably says yes, but I think the Aston Martin Lagonda challenges that assumption. Buying a Lagonda, with its many once-cutting-edge British electronics waiting to go wrong, is probably not wise, but how could you not want this car?
is from 1985, which makes it one of the last Series 2 examples ever built. It doesn't have the innovative capacitive touch controls or gas plasma display of earlier Series 2 Lagondas, but that's probably a good thing. Regular buttons and switches and CRT displays are a lot easier to live with. The seller says this car is 99-percent original too—only the tires, and the stereo head unit aren't OEM parts.
The Lagonda was unveiled in 1976, just two years after Aston Martin was . This was meant to be a grand statement by the British company—proof that it was alive and well, and that it could build something forward-thinking. Unfortunately, it was perhaps too forward thinking.
The company's boss at the time, American tech investor Peter Sprague, saw that the Lagonda had a futuristic shape—penned by Englishman William Towns—and thought it deserved a futuristic interior. That meant computers.
"As the Lagonda began to take form, I added my own special contribution, related to my background in the world of microelectronics," Sprague wrote on . "The car looked amazingly modern, why not add an all-electronic, computer-based information and control system and really join the 20th Century? It was an excellent idea, but ultimately about 15-20 years ahead of its time."
Sprague's computers meant the Lagonda didn't actually start production until 1978, and early cars were very unreliable. Later Lagondas, like this one, adopted simplified switchgear and displays.
But don't deride the Lagonda as a car that was too complicated for its own good—celebrate it for what it attempted. And today, it just looks so damn cool.
This car is . It's the most affordable Lagonda on the site, and probably in the US. Good idea? No. Also, yes. What could go wrong?