It is pretty incredible that Aston Martin even launched a car inside less than a year of development time to begin with. The Seventies wasn’t the best era for the company anyway, with the global fuel crisis not doing Newport Pagnell’s cars any good, or their thirsty carb-fed V8s. Financial stresses had Aston rushing to launch a new product, and Williams Lyons’ design of the 1976 Lagonda may have got a bit carried away with the whole ‘new’ thing. The car looked way ahead of the time and split opinion right down the middle. Inside it was revolutionary, too, with an all-digital dash premiering LED technology that only trickled into mass-market production when Audi launched the first-generation R8 30 years later…

The Aston Martin Lagonda was priced at Rolls-Royce money and needed to impress, using a Tadek Marek-designed 5.3-litre V8 producing 280bhp. In the end, some sources say around 35 per cent of Lagondas built (Aston handmade each at a rate of one per week, and total production reached about 650 cars) went to the Middle East market, but current Aston Martin design boss Marek Recihman told wheels that the figure might be closer to 70 per cent.

Despite the imposing 5.3-metre length and the powerful V8, the big draw of the Lagonda was its avant-garde interior and touchscreen controls.

So avant-garde, in fact, that it wasn’t at all surprising after such a short vehicle-development time that the LED and touchscreen technology was nowhere near ready in 1976. In 1984 Aston Martin updated the Lagonda, ditching the useless LEDs that always broke, and replacing them with cathode-ray tubes like you’d find in an old TV set. That didn’t work either, so by the Series-4 iteration of the Lagonda, produced until 1989, all touchscreen controls were replaced by physical buttons and switches. It was a valiant attempt to revolutionise lighting tech in cars, but unfortunately for Aston Martin and the ill-fated Lagonda, it was 30 years too early for LEDs…