1991 ASTON MARTIN Virage

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1991 ASTON MARTIN Virage

Background

The Aston Martin Virage was launched at the British Motor Show in Birmingham in 1988 to almost universal acclaim; a replacement for the William Towns’ V8 cars we all still love, it remained in production until 2000.

Essentially hand-built, the Virage was hugely expensive (£135,000 then, or the equivalent of more than £300,000 today…) and ultra-rare with a production run that barely broke four figures.

Initially powered by a 32-valve 5.3-litre V8 developed in collaboration with Reeves Callaway, it has 330bhp and 364 lb/ft of torque to deploy thanks to four valves per cylinder and Weber electronic fuel injection, figures that enable the Virage to streak to 186mph after passing 60mph in 6.5 seconds.

Enthusiastic drivers could opt for a five-speed ZF manual gearbox, something around 40% of the firm’s customers did. This enabled the aluminium-bodied coupé to streak to 60mph in 7.4 seconds. Yes, the manual might have gained driver satisfaction but it lost almost a second in the benchmark acceleration time although once it started rolling “acceleration just never seems to run out” as one contemporary road tester reported.

The Vehicle

Sold originally by Stratton Motor Company in Norfolk, this automatic Aston Martin Virage’s first owner was Prince Jefri Bolkiah, a member of the Brunei Royal Family and the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.

Finished in silver with a decadent blue leather interior, it comes with a stamped service book up to 2006, with renowned specialists Chiltern Aston looking after the car from that point on. An extensive mechanical restoration was undertaken by them in July 2019, running up a bill for almost £14,000 in the process.

This work included rectifying some minor engine running issues, as well as the supply of four new tyres, plus new brake discs, pads and calipers all round. In addition, a number of other more minor jobs were undertaken to bring the car up to the condition you see here.

Having covered less than 50 miles since the overhaul, the July 2022 MOT resulted in a first-time clean pass, which is reassuring, isn’t it?

On the Outside

A discreet blue coachline down each flank not only adds a touch of elegance to a car that is already brimming with class, it also serves to highlight how straight the Aston’s flanks are, and how tidily each panel aligns with those adjacent to it.

It’s a clean, unfussy shape and the lack of extraneous trim allows the simple, elegant design to shine – and shine it does; believed to have been resprayed at some time and still presentable, the silver paintwork might be starting to show signs of age in places but it is still easily tidy enough to allow its next owner to enjoy the car as it is.

The (presumably expensive) light lenses, window glass, and badges are all good, as are the four alloy wheels. Shod with matching high-quality Avon Turbospeed CR27 tyres, they’re in great shape and free of any signs of kerbing or other damage.

We will never get tired of telling you that experience shows that matching tyres like this are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

Interestingly, the Virage still wears Stratton numberplates, which means they are either the original ones it left the showroom with (which is good news) or a nice touch from a caring and unusually sympathetic owner (which is also good news).

Areas for attention are few. There’s a small dent on the lower offside front wing (#31) and some bubbles appearing under the paint on the lower edge of the nearside rear wing (#68), the lower edges of the offside front wing (#108), and the nearside door (#122).

The nearside headlamp washer nozzle also looks damaged (#219), the front parking sensors look like they have been dislodged (#229), and there is some lacquer loss to the bonnet (#225).

NB: From the seller: The colour was originally recorded as being white. However, by January 1991 it was recorded as the current colour of silver, so we imagine this was either an administrative error on the original paperwork, or perhaps the first owner changed their mind on the colour choice.

As a coachbuilt car, they were finished to the customer's requirements, so this latter scenario is entirely conceivable.

On the Inside

The interior is extremely tidy with very little wear to the heavily bolstered front seats, which is as you’d expect from such a carefully curated, low-mileage car.

Finished in dark blue leather with grey piping all round, the rear seats are just as good and, after some repair work, the driver's seat moves as intended, which takes care of one of the Virage’s few known faults.

The blue leather extends to the armrest and centre console as well as the dashboard and door cards. All is good with only the odd mark. The same is true of the carpets.

As you’d expect of a hand-built luxury supercar, there’s wood trim aplenty, and it, like the wonderfully ornate fluted headlining, is pretty good.

The a/c blows ice-cold and the boot, which is clean and well-presented with only a little wear to the carpet, contains a pair of blue lambs’ wool overmats, a space-saver spare wheel, a CD multichanger, the tool kit, and the battery.

Flaws? Well, some of the wooden veneer is lifting and cracking, most notably on the nearside door (#21) and there’s a couple of stains on the rear seat (#136).

Underneath

Of course, with a car like this the cosmetic condition is only the start because they’re complex and need the right attention from the right people in order to keep them running well.

Luckily, this Virage has had both with well-known independent experts Chiltern Aston looking after the car since 2006. It’s carried out too much work to detail here but the invoices are online and available for viewing at your leisure.

As you can see, the significant investment in time and money has paid off because the Virage fires straight up and ticks over and revs beautifully. It also makes a great noise but then we all knew that, didn't we?

The engine bay is tidy enough but the perfectionists among you might like to invest a few hours in bringing it up to the same standard as the rest of the car.

History Highlights

MoT’d until July 2023, it achieved this – and many in previous years - with no advisories, even if the certificate does highlight a non-functioning odometer. These are notoriously unreliable and while it is functioning at the moment, we cannot verify the readout is accurate, which means that estimates as to the true figure must be made by consulting the paperwork that’s on file.

Which may take some time as there’s a wealth to confirm the care it’s received over the years from both main dealers and independents experts, so it’s worth setting aside half-an-hour to go through them to confirm for yourself just how well cared for it has been.

The recent Vehicle History Check is clean.

What We Think

The Aston Martin Virage is one of the last of the breed; a hand-built supercar capable of covering vast distances in complete comfort, we’ll never see its like again.

As beautiful as it is powerful, it’s an iconic car and a reminder of the glory days a lot of us grew up admiring from afar because we were too young and too broke to buy the cars we lusted after.

Not anymore. With a guide price of somewhere between £35,000 and £40,000, this is a surprisingly affordable grand touring supercar that’s been well maintained throughout its lifetime while also benefitting from a recent refresh at considerable cost.

Now in very useable condition, the new owner could either continue to use it as it is without embarrassment or continue the car’s refurbishment with some attention to the paintwork at their leisure.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

matthew finch

  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: listings/auction-view.Trade
  • Odometer Reading: 33000
  • Chassis Number: TBC
  • Engine: 5300
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Silver
  • Interior: Blue
  • Estimated Price: £35,000 - £40,000
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