Virage coupe prototypes DP2034
Virage coupe prototypes DP2034

Virage coupe prototypes DP2034

(1988) By the mid 1980's the AMV8 was really starting to show its age. It will have been a super human effort for all concerned to introduce an almost all new replacement, the Virage. In order to develop the new car, the first Virage prototype, DP2034/1 was disguised as a 2 door restyled Lagonda. This mule was clever insomuch as it promoted the new car without actually revelling the styling. Sales of the older AMV8 weren't particularly affected in part due to a surge in interest and demand for exotic cars due to the mid 80's boom and also that AML were offering a diverse and interesting range including the V8 Vantage VolanteV8  the ZagatoZagato and the restyled Lagonda.   After the Virage/Lag was surplus to requirements, Works Service completely rebuilt the car and it joined a private collection. Fortunately 
Virage coupe prototypes DP2034

Once AML engineering team had finished with DP2034/1, the car went over the road to Works Service where is was comprehensively rebuilt, fully finished, painted and trimmed and sold to a UK collector. Although I have never seen the car myself, Keith Riddington of Classicmobila has allowed me to use his period image of the car.

Aston Martin DP2034/1, prototype mule for the Virage after having been rebuilt by Works Service. Photograph by Keith Riddington

The completed Virage, when unveiled at the 1988 Birmingham Motor Show was the first new Aston Martin for 18 year so long as you exclude the wedge Lagonda. Styled by the British team of John Heffernan and Ken Greenley, the beat off stiff opposition from others during a competition held by AML to decide on the new design. This silver car above is the third prototype Virage, DP2034/3, taken on the turntable at the AML stand at the 1988 event.

At this time, the surrounds to the Audi 200 sourced headlights were finished in black, something that never featured on the production cars. The other car on show at Birmingham was DP2034/4, finished in Balmoral Green was photographed extensively for the sales brochure and the rare Virage book.