Although a heavy car, tipping the scales at 2050kg empty, the car is capable of a maximum speed in excess of 150mph, with 60mph coming from rest in 6.5 seconds. Power is provided by a 354 bhp V8 engine, still displacing 5340cc and virtually identical to that used in the V8 Coupe. It was only ever available with automatic transmission, a four speed version of the classic Chrysler Torqueflite with a lock-up torque converter and switchable sport mode.
The elegant LWB Volante is far roomier for rear seat passengers with an additional 200mm of leg room over the Virage Volante 2+2. This makes it an ideal Aston for families as average sized people can be very comfortable in the back. The extra leg room and additional luggage capacity has been achieved by increasing the wheelbase by 200mm. The interior of this most elegant of coachbuilt Astons, as ever, is a symphony of Connolly leather, walnut veneer, wall to wall Wilton and cold chrome details. Thinking about it, the long chassis is the last Aston ever to feature masses of polished walnut veneer. The shape of the instrument panel became more rounded over the centre console; it was similar to the in overall shape, but with the incidental dials arraigned in a 2 + 2 fashion. Also two DIN slots were provided for a tape player linked to a CD multi-changer hidden in the dashboard and also an optional sat-nav system with flip out screen.
The double lined roof was of course fully electric and operated completely automatically with no levers or catches to unfasten. When folded, it stands quite proud of the boot lid and can be covered by a leather tonneau cover.
Below is the LWB V8 Volante that has been owned from new by HRH, Prince Andrew, Duke of York. It was one of two Royal Aston Martins shown at the 2013 Centenary Celebration ay Kensington Palace.
A long chassis version of the Volante had been considered at the factory as far back as 1992. On a visit to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust archive, I discovered a drawing of a long chassis Virage Volante that was considered but never produced.
The UK list price without extras but including VAT was a huge £169,500 without extras. With such a high price it’s not surprising that a mere 63 examples were constructed, most were sold outside of the UK even though the car was never marketed in North America. With more passenger space and a substantial boot, the LWB has a reputation as a genuinely practical continental touring car.
Cars such as the long chassis Volante will never be built again by Aston Martin. A very rare and desirable car which is gaining in popularity by collectors and enthusiasts.