Af­ford­able He­roes – Great cars that don’t cost a for­tune to buy

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

RICHARD GUNN The mo­tor­ing world was a very wedgy place dur­ing the 1970s. In Bri­tain though, two cars de­fined the chisel of cheese more than any oth­ers – the As­ton Martin Lagonda and Bri­tish Ley­land Princess.

The Lagonda was in­tended to sell to oil sheiks. The Princess was – well, just not the car for Mr Aver­age, as BL’s ad­ver­tis­ing went. But they shared some com­mon­al­ity of think­ing – a dy­namic and rad­i­cal de­sign in­tended to waft five oc­cu­pants in smooth, ef­fort­less high-speed lux­ury. Of course, be­ing an As­ton, the Lagonda did things with con­sid­er­ably more power and ex­pense. It was also packed with tech­nol­ogy – some so fu­tur­is­tic that it wouldn’t ac­tu­ally func­tion prop­erly for years. The Princess, mean­while, had a seat­belt warn­ing light that flashed and clicked fu­ri­ously at er­rant oc­cu­pants.

Even though the unloved Lagonda is one of the bar­gains of the AM uni­verse, it’s still an As­ton. Thus val­ues are ridicu­lously high. The Princess comes at a frac­tion of the cost and you can al­ways stick a Sin­clair ZX81 key­board to the dash for ex­tra re­al­ism. It won’t do any­thing, but the electrics in the Lagonda rarely did, ei­ther…

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