1990 Aston Martin Virage Coupé Registration no. AV 7656 Chassis no. SCFCAM1S1MBR50168 Engine no. 89/50168/A
'We wanted a car that was a new form. Fresh, exciting, purposeful but unquestionably Aston Martin,' explained Aston Martin Chairman and Chief Executive Victor Gauntlett on the Virage's arrival, while stressing: 'It was important that, although new in virtually every way, the Virage was of evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, design. It has to be a car that could stand in line with every post-war Aston Martin and be the self-evident successor to that tradition.'
Launched at the International Motor Show, Birmingham, in October 1988, the sensational newcomer re-stated its Aston Martin V8 forerunner's muscular good looks in the modern idiom, contriving to be slightly narrower yet providing increased interior space. The car was still no lightweight, but with 330bhp on tap courtesy of the trusty V8 engine's new 32-valve top end, was good enough for a top speed approaching 160mph and a 0-60mph time of under seven seconds. Running on unleaded fuel and designed to meet the requirements of a more emission sensitive world, the fuel-injected, catalytic converter-equipped V8 was suitable for all Aston Martin markets. The Virage continued Aston Martin's tradition of fine craftsmanship with its hand beaten aluminium body and fine leather upholstery, complimenting the highest standards of modern technology applied to the design of chassis and engine.
One of 426 Virages produced between 1988 and 1995, '50168' originally owned and kept in the private collection of a foreign royal who decided in 1998, after it had covered a mere 100 miles, to return the car to Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd to be fully upgraded. Undertaken to a unique specification at a cost in excess of £100,000, these works included removing the engine for dismantling, cleaning and inspection. The transmission and drive train were removed also. The engine was rebuilt to the latest specification incorporating modifications to fuel and hot climate cooling systems complete with new hoses. The engine compartment was refurbished; the automatic transmission changed to the later to four-speed type; and the final drive ratio changed to match.
All interior and bodywork fixtures and fittings were removed together with the bumpers, lamps, bonnet, boot lid and doors, following which the bodywork was stripped to bare metal and the panels reshaped and made good. The car was then fully repainted using the latest technology paint, and the under-body, interior and side panels insulated with the latest sound and heat insulation.
The steering and suspension have been up-rated to sports specification; the braking system upgraded to the latest specification with the most recent callipers and brake discs; and 17" ABS wheels fitted. The electrical system was rewired to allow for the installation of later instruments and a driver's air bag. A 1996-model dashboard, instruments, door pads, seats and interior fittings were installed together with a bespoke music system and the latest R12 air conditioning system and rear venting. The interior was completely re-trimmed with Connolly leather (special grain) and soft foam supports, while the floor was re-carpeted with leather-bound Wilton carpet and the wood trim replaced. Lastly, the latest tool kit was provided.
The present owner purchased the Virage in 2002, at which time it covered only 1,000 miles (the current odometer reading is 6,229 miles). The previous owner had maintained this rare and important car to the highest possible standard, entering and winning the coveted Aston Martin Owners Club Elite Class concours with a score of 98.5 marks. Concours-win medals from three meetings are included in the sale.
In September/October 2014 the car received a major service and repairs to the bodywork followed by repainting, which was undertaken by marque specialists R S Williams Ltd (see bills of file totalling £7,452.89). The car also comes with a V5C document.