ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE VOLANTE REVIEW

An (almost) owner’s review of a 1992 Aston Martin Virage Volante.

Aston-Martin-Virage-Volante-outside-stately-home-hood-down-large-stone-sculpture-with columns-on-house

The image above is from the Aston Martin brochure of the time, converted to black and white, as this car neither elicits the joy of colour or, seemingly, drives like a vehicle from the colour film era. Film noir in automotive form. So, to my Aston Martin Virage Volante review…

THE OVERVIEW

Now strictly speaking, I did not own this one; the owner lent it to me for six months because he was banned for speeding and had no parking space for some reason or other. I think he was just trying to forget he had it. Never asked if it was speeding in the Virage, because if it was it would have made him a very brave person. Believe his plan was to let a serial car buyer, me, experience the Virage at my leisure. Hopefully I would hit the “buy” button when it was time to return it? The word “leisure” plays to the Virage’s “qualities”: it never seemed to want to start for example. I can understand why low mileage is a common factor with these vehicles.

At speed I am not sure if I would have been more worried about the roof exploding off the car – as happened if you went too fast in an early DB5, as one roadtest reported – or the incompetence of everything to do with the chassis getting me, with a driving experience having all the connection to the ground as a Star Wars Land Speeder.

THE CAR

Describing the car is difficult, as it feels like a load of other cars thrown together into one gargantuan four-wheeled Boris Johnson….headlights from an Audi 200, rear lights of a VW Scirocco and the steering wheel from, I believe, an American pickup truck, suggesting that the train of thought created by the visible bits would be correct if carried over to the parts unseen.

An example of parts bin incompetence was the windscreen wipers. The motor and linkage was, I believe, from something small like an Escort and they strapped on massive wipers to clear the large screen. As an analogy, think of Jimmy Krankie doing a twirl in Ronald McDonald shoes. The spline to the wiper arm used to lose its grip. The Aston Martin approved get-you-home work-around was to wrap foil from a cigarette pack (remember those) onto the spline. You then jammed the wiper back on.

Power, Beauty, Soul” as Aston Martin used to say.

THE DRIVE

The drive aspect of the Aston Martin Virage Volante review. Well I had been in one before after it had just been serviced by Aston Martin Works Service. After a delayed departure due to a fuel filler flap refusing to close we were off, but never reached our destination as it broke down in London’s West End. The car had disgorged its water onto the road. There is no suggestion that Aston Martin Works did a poor job. You can only work with what you are given.

On the positive side, as a country lad, I had my first experience of Tiramisu (very nice) whilst waiting in a café for the breakdown truck. Then, had the experience, from a slight distance, of the anger and horn blowing from motorists caught up in the mayhem caused by this motoring nightmare.

The body had so little rigidity that the shudder traversing even small imperfections in the road was alarming. It felt like every part of the interior was moving by a few millimetres when you hit a pothole. I can only imagine what it would have been like with even reasonably sensible, read firmer, damping.

Furthermore, the auto box felt like it was straining every sinew to get this lardy poshster going. When you were going, the suspension felt like four people with a budget of 12 pence had strapped on the softest suspension ever (see above). It was so bad, the car really needed a tiller as opposed to a steering wheel.

Genuinely, this car felt like it had absolved itself from any responsibility for getting down a road such was its lack of body control. If you felt like it was better to walk, the car would willingly oblige by breaking down as often as possible in the most tricky of circumstances. In town was a speciality.

ASTON MARTIN VIRAGE VOLANTE – THE END

After a month of trying to find something good about the car, I left it to sulk taking up loads of the drive for the remainder of the time I had it. As a final kick in the teeth it needed to be jump started. Connect a Fiesta to it. No go. Connect a, well I can’t remember but it was having nothing of it. Eventually a Land Rover Discovery heaved it into life and it left my life.

There were tears, of laughter, as the owner of the car was re-introduced to driving with the Virage and I celebrated avoiding actually purchasing a Virage. This could easily have happened if introduced to the vehicle, stationary, in an Aston Martin showroom.

To conclude. Anyone that thinks they will get any kind of motoring pleasure from an Aston Martin Virage is deluded. It is a form of motoring S&M and your ” Aston Mistress” turns out to be 112. Genuinely, walking is a better option. As it is what you will be doing often as an owner, you might as well save £50K or whatever they are now and buy some decent shoes.

Aston Martin used to bang on about the cars being “A Car for Life” or some such nonsense. Well finding someone dumb enough to take one of these off your hands would suggest that could well be true.

My reviews often have links for further information the vehicle in question. In this case I can only recommend a breakdown and recovery service if you buy a Virage. For example the AA or RAC.

For more reviews of the almost 140 cars Forte Vision’s owner has owned.


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