Aston Martin may not be known for its station wagons, but every now and then the British bespoke automaker can be persuaded to build a tall roof or two. The company makes all of its cars by hand, after all, so departures from the usual design haven’t been uncommon in the recent past, with each commission already taking such a long time.
In a couple of weeks, one of such a rare rooftop will go to auction, when Bonhams will display a 1992 Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake at Les Grandes Marques auction in Monaco.
The Virage hit the scene in 1988 to pick up the stick from the long-service V8, which was essentially a 1960s design, one that had taken over the company in two decades but was in dire need of a redesign even before a decade of excess arrived. Work on the Virage began long before it debuted in Birmingham in 1988, with the new coupe borrowing a few parts from the outgoing V8 as well as a slew of parts container items from various automakers.
The V8 engine received an extensive rework from Callaway, with Virage offering a choice of a ZF five-speed manual or Chrysler’s three-speed Torqueflite automatic at launch. The coupe was a bit larger than it looks in the photos, and it’s also a bit heavier, with a total weight of 3,946 pounds, putting it along with some of the German sedans of the day. Generous outriggers and a relatively short wheelbase made it capable of handling, while the interior was roomy enough for two passengers to travel in comfort, but certainly not overly expensive when it came to cubic footage.
As with many exotic cars of the ’90s, work on the Virage began in One Economic climate, but it has reached a noticeable sale Different The first, with annual production remaining in the dozens of units throughout the model’s production life. The 5.3-liter V8 quickly joined the 6.3-liter to spice things up, as Aston Martin offered conversions to current owners as part of a factory business programme, but sales were incredibly modest by today’s standards.
In addition to the coupe and convertible versions of the Virage, Aston Martin has built a number of three- and five-door examples, and it is believed that this particular car was shown at the 1992 Geneva Motor Show. This car, finished in Aston green over the interior, is made from Laminated leather, it retained the original style wheelbase, and featured a hatchback with C and D-pillars, as well as a redesigned rear fascia. Instead of single side windows for the cargo compartment, Aston Martin has opted for two-piece windows that lead to a curved shaft that transitions into a square tail.
While the Virage Coupe featured Volkswagen Scirocco taillights (yes, really), shooting brakes appear to have featured the taillights of the European market VW Vento (we know it as the Jetta), albeit upside-down and featuring the same liberal-decent plate. physically. This particular example originally received an automatic transmission, which at one time was replaced by a five-speed manual.
Bonhams notes that the current dispatcher bought the car in Germany in 2005 and sent it to the Aston Martin Works Service for some reboot work, as well as some changes to the interior equipment, including a stereo update.
“Tasks undertaken included converting the vehicle to Swiss specifications; upgrading the cooling system; installing the latest Alpine DVD navigation system with automatic 6-CD changer; and installing new color-matched seat belts,” Bonhams notes.
Oddly enough, Bonhams doesn’t mention the current kilometer, only stating that in 2005 the car offered 33,795 kilometers, or 20,999 miles.
The auction house expects the Virage Shooting Brake to fetch between 100,000 and 200,000 euros on its sale in Monaco, which translates to a range of between $106,000 and $213,000.
Few readers may remember that just weeks ago another Virage wagon was auctioned off, a five-door model designed for a German customer. This model featured an extended wheelbase to accommodate the two extra doors and had a completely different rear fascia design with Scirocco taillights. Bonhams sold this example for $159,576 at its Paris auction, achieving a rather modest result for something completely unique – the price of a new Range Rover, in fact.
The estimated range of the three-door shooting brake reflects the score seen at Bonhams in January, and also reflects the somewhat narrow audience of collectors who might be interested in such an example. The three-door model certainly avoids some of the visually crowded lines of the five-door, but still has an odd flat roof. Meanwhile, the D-pillar has a gentle curvature not seen elsewhere in the angular design.
Oddly enough, Virage wagon values enjoyed only modest premiums on the Virage coupe or convertible prices, while remaining southern values stemmed from the model’s best examples, including the Vantage Le Mans.
So when it came to the overall spectrum of Virage/Vantage values, the firing brakes were amazing deals. It also goes without saying that if you go to an Aston Martin for a one-off station wagon today, or some other custom model, you’ll need a lot more than say €200,000.
Visit the online auction site to view the full list of parts for the upcoming Monaco sale.
Do you prefer the design of the three- or five-door Virage? Let us know in the comments below.
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