Searching for a prime slice of British Beef? The Aston Martin Virage should tick all the boxes...
Time waits for no-one, not even much-loved British supercar manufacturers, and whatever the machismo appeal of Aston Martin’s V8 saloon and Volante convertible of the Seventies and Eighties, nobody could deny that the oft-cash-strapped marque was falling behind its rivals by keeping the Sixties shape in production. Imagine Ferrari still building the Daytona or Lamborghini its Espada as the Eighties drew to a close?
So, when better finances finally allowed Newport Pagnell the opportunity to think about replacement rather than just constant updating of the old V8, the long overdue result in 1988 was both radical and special. The Aston Martin Virage was a thorough reworking of the V8 engine with a bold and brutal new body on top, which drew much praise for its timeless looks and muscular appearance. Retaining much of the V8’s existing chassis but making the engine even more potent kept the traditional feel but added extra fury to what had gone before, reminding owners – both current and potential – that Aston Martin was still one of the world’s greatest supercar builders. What’s not to get excited about...?
Shown at the 1988 Birmingham Motor Show in Coupe form, with first deliveries in 1990, the sensational new Aston Martin Virage re-stated its forerunner's muscular looks in the modern idiom, slightly narrower but with increased interior space. With 330bhp, a top speed approaching 160mph was possible and 60mph in under 7 seconds. By 1990 the Virage Volante was announced, with first deliveries in 1992/3. Meanwhile Aston Martin's Works Service had developed and produced a high performance version of the Virage Coupe equipped with a host of upgrades to improve the overall performance still further. The '6.3 litre package' consisted of an engine rebuilt to 6.3-litres with power rising to 465bhp and over 170mph (274kph). Front and rear suspension was uprated, with Racing Group 'C' AP anti-lock brakes, Goodyear 285/45/ZR18 tyres, and flared wide-arches to accommodate. The total package could cost in excess of £50,000. As Virage Volante production continued, some cars were specified from new with elements of the 6.3 package.