Virage Volante
Virage Volante

Virage Volante

(1992 - 1997)

The Virage coupe had been selling well since 1990 but it had been virtually a tradition at Aston Martin to offer a convertible alongside the closed car. The Volante was previewed in the autumn of 1990 as a 2 seater but by the time that the production car was available for sale in January 1992 at a not insignificant price of £145,500, it had become a 2+2.  The finely fitted multilayered mohair convertible roof came with a glass rear window and naturally was fully electrically operated, yet was unable to fold fully into the body, restricting rear visibility a little.

Virage Volante

Almost the whole production run of the Virage Volante was fitted with the standard Virage V8 /89 engine producing power of 330 bhp and 350 lb/ft of torque mated with a 5 speed ZF manual gearbox (rare –  only 27 built) or 3 speed (later 4 speed + overdrive) Torqueflite automatic. As production of the Volante overlapped the introduction of the V8 Coupe – the last 10 examples received the more powerful, 95/ spec V8 Coupe engine – with maximum power upto 349 bhp @ 6000 rpm and torque of 369 lb/ft @ 4300 rpm. All of these last 10 cars, known simply as ‘Volante’, the Virage tag was dropped, were built as automatics.

Initially the interior closely followed that of the Virage coupe complete with VIC (computerised fault finder) computer and twin spoke steering wheel. Yet later cars show many detail differences from that of the coupe. The walnut veneer extends to the redesigned centre console and the instrument surrounds and the VIC is replaced by three conventional instrument dials. The steering wheel housed an air bag; this was a standard feature on all US cars and was sourced from with in the FordMoCo family, lifted from the contemporary Lincoln Towncar.

Early Volante was fitted with the 16 inch alloy wheels of the coupe but these were soon replaced by a slimmer 5 spoke, 17 inch wheel. At about the same time in 1993 the stylish wing air vents, initially seen on the design sketches of the Virage were seen on the cars. Those coupes and Volantes that lacked this feature could have it replicated when the cars returned to Works Service for fettling.

By 1992, demand for the Virage Coupe had dropped off considerably and the supercharged Vantage had not yet entered production. Without the Virage Volante, the Newport Pagnell factory would have been almost silent – during 1992 and 1993, 125 examples were produced from a total production of 134 of all models. Total production of the Virage Volante ended in 1996 with just 234 examples completed and a mere 20 imported into the US. This is perhaps rather puzzling as the previous V8 Volante had been a very strong seller in North America between 1978 and 1990.

But there are also some detail differences in trim between the coupe and Volante that must be pointed out. Unique to the Volante is the chrome bright work along the top of the front bumper, along the top edge of the doors and along the boot edge. The Volante also featured chrome door handles and a chrome grille.

Aston Martin Virage Volante

Some of the key special features of the Virage Volante

In period, the motoring press gave the Volante a bit of a pasting. It was a very heavy car (1960 kg), and even with in excess of 300 bhp, performance in the hands of the testers seldom achieved the figures claimed by the factory. Fast Lane Magazine achieved 148.5 mph and 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds , yet AML claimed 155mph, 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds.  Testers sadly were not impressed with the ride quality, handling or road holding. But like every previous Volante, in the long term, the cars will continue to be in high demand and be favoured over the more common coupe.