Aston Martin Virage

The replacement for Aston Martin’s long-running V8 models and the Vantage V8 in particular was introduced in 1988 at the Birmingham Motor Show. Named Virage, its hand-formed aluminum body was quite angular in shape yet remarkably modern, low and clean in its execution. As always, the finest materials were used, from Connolly leather to Wilton wool carpeting and rich wood trim. The car was more than a sprightly gentleman’s express, however. The 330-horsepower 5.3-liter engine, now with four valves per cylinder and Weber-Marelli fuel injection, was engineered by Callaway in Connecticut, well-known for its tire-shredding work on twin-turbocharged Corvettes. This engine was mated to a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission, of which the former is considerably rarer and far more desirable.

The first Virages arrived in the United States in the summer of 1990, joined by the cabriolet Volante version two years later and a Vantage edition shortly thereafter. Its quarter-million dollar price tag and low production numbers, however, placed it solidly out of reach of the average sports car buyer. While about 400 Virages were built in all, only about 54 ever made their way stateside, of which only 14 were reportedly equipped with five-speed manual transmissions.

The Virage presented here is finished in an unusual yet very desirable color combination of red with a tan leather interior. It is equipped with the sought-after five-speed transmission and was formerly owned by noted collector Jim Diamond, who was known for the outstanding quality of his motor car collection. It has since been acquired by another respected enthusiast, who has likewise maintained and garaged the car ever since. As presented, it shows less than 22,500 original miles and is fully equipped and original throughout.

Handbuilt and tremendously exclusive, the Virage and the various models that followed it proved to be the end of a three-decade long era of coachbuilt V8 Aston Martins. As their place in the Aston hierarchy has since been assumed by the Vanquish, the Virages of the 1990s represent a bygone era of handcrafted excellence and the seamless union of supreme luxury and performance.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2009 at the The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.

330bhp, 5,340 cc dual overhead camshaft V8 engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 102.8".

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Aston Martin Virage