1993 Aston Martin Virage
Year of manufacture1993
Number of seats2
1993 Aston Martin Virage Volante 6.3-litre 'Works Special'
Registration no. H5 TRO
Chassis no. SCFDAM2CXPBR60083
'The Volante is the new soft-top version of the Virage incorporating the latest changes made to the full Aston range. Beautiful hand-built craftsmanship abounds in this most aristocratic of convertibles.' - Fast Lane.
The Volante had been the big seller of the 'old' V8 line-up, so the only surprise was that it took Aston Martin more than two years from the Virage coupé's introduction to come up with a soft-top equivalent. The production Virage Volante debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1991, a prototype having been displayed at Birmingham's NEC the previous October. Weighing in at over two tons, the open Volante was even heavier than the closed coupé, itself no lightweight, this increase in weight being accounted for by considerable body strengthening to compensate for the absent roof, plus the extra complication of the power-operated convertible hood. Electrically powered, the latter was beautifully made and incorporated a glass rear window, complete with heated de-misting elements. Mechanically the Volante remained much the same as its closed cousin, though with slightly lower final drive gearing to aid acceleration through the gears. Top speed was slightly reduced, to a still outstanding 150mph. Automatic transmission was standard on the Volante, the original three-speeder being superseded in 1993 by a new four-speed dual-mode (normal/sport) unit. The five-speed manual gearbox continued to be available as an option. By this time the design had undergone extensive revision in other areas, becoming a four-seater (early cars had only two seats) and a much neater hood stowage arrangement.
Ahead of its forthcoming twin-supercharged Vantage, Aston Martin offered 6.3-litre conversions for the existing 5,340cc V8-engined Virage and Virage Volante that had been developed by RS Williams. When first released, the '6.3' produced 456bhp at 6,000rpm and 460lb/ft of torque. The resulting performance gains - 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of up to 174mph (depending on the axle ratio) - required serious chassis modifications, the '6.3' boasting sports suspension, 18"-diameter alloy wheels shod with Goodyear 285/45ZR18 tyres, and double vented and cross-drilled 14" front disc brakes. Outwardly the '6.3' in its 'wide body' configuration was distinguishable by flared wheel arches and new front, side and rear valances.
Chassis number '60083' was ordered new in May 1993 by the previous owner, since deceased, who had visited the Newport Pagnell factory to finalise its specification. Aston Martin Sales Limited's letter on file records the specification as follows: Gladiator Red exterior, black hide interior with matching piping, grey Alcantara headlining, black mohair hood, grey carpets edged in matching hide, driver's side air bag, front seat headrest pads, fog lights in spoiler, and a boot lid spoiler. The original purchase price was £147,862.
Some two years later, the owner revisited Newport Pagnell to discuss upgrading the Virage to 6.3 litre specification. In a letter on file, Aston Martin Lagonda Limited confirm the following works to be carried out in combination with the capacity increase: installing a large bore exhaust, revising the front and rear suspension, installing an up-rated braking system, fitting 18" road wheels and tyres, flaring the wheel arches, installing traction control, and modifying the automatic gearbox and its cooling system. In addition, the Virage was to receive the distinctive Vantage front and rear body panels, front spoiler and bonnet, etc. Dated June 1995 (at 3,800 miles), the related bill is for £111,000.
'H5 TRO' also comes with its original service booklet, which has been stamped by Aston Martin Works Service nine times up to 2001 (at 7,818 miles). Subsequent stamps record servicing by Trinity Engineering, AM Works, Harwoods and, finally, Chicane Classics in July 2012 (at 22,363 miles).
The current vendor purchased the Virage at Bonhams' Aston Martin Works auction in May 2016 (Lot 203), at which time the odometer reading was circa 26,000 miles. Since then the car has benefited from a recently completed full bodywork restoration, including trim sections and rubber seals and a change of colour to 'Black Kirsch' at a cost of around £25,000. Presented in beautiful condition, 'H5 TRO' represents an opportunity for the Aston Martin collector to acquire a rare, high-performance variant of an already exclusive model, benefiting from fastidious, single-owner stewardship for its first 23 years.