VANTAGE - - The Specialist Jd Classics - Vi­rage/vi­rage Volante

By the mid-’80s the AM V8 and its Van­tage big brother were liv­ing on bor­rowed time, and, un­der the di­rec­tion of Vic­tor gauntlett, As­ton be­gan work on a re­place­ment. The Vi­rage was largely still based on the V8, but its new body (by John Hef­fer­nan and Ken green­ley), an up­dated 32-valve fuel-in­jected V8 and other re­fine­ments were enough to give As­ton new im­pe­tus. in 1992 came the Volante ver­sion, and also a Works-de­vel­oped 500bhp 6.3 mon­ster with widened body­work. sales of all vari­ants reached 1050.

Like pre­vi­ous As­ton/za­gato col­lab­o­ra­tions, the DB7 Za­gato used a short­ened chas­sis, lighter body­work and fa­mil­iar Za­gato de­sign cues (like the ‘dou­ble-bub­ble’ roof). it also had an up­rated en­gine, in this case the Van­tage’s V12 tuned to 435bhp. The pro­duc­tion run was lim­ited to 99 cars, all of which were snapped up. The DB-AR1 was a Za­gato-de­signed, some­what im­prac­ti­cal ‘speed­ster’ ver­sion of the DB7 (it didn’t even have a hood) aimed specif­i­cally at the west coast of Amer­ica, where most of the 99 ex­am­ples still re­side. The DB9 was ef­fec­tively a suc­ces­sor to the highly suc­cess­ful DB7 Van­tage, with the lat­est ver­sion of the now-fa­mil­iar 5.9-litre V12, a Touchtronic auto trans­mis­sion op­tion, and the first ap­pear­ance of the largely alu­minium ‘VH’ plat­form, all clothed in an­other gor­geous ian Cal­lum body, re­fined by his suc­ces­sor, Hen­rik Fisker. it was also the first As­ton to be built at gay­don. A Volante ver­sion ar­rived in 2005, and in 2008 power grew to 470bhp. For 2013MY the car was given a ma­jor vis­ual and me­chan­i­cal re­fresh, now with 510bhp.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tion En­gine 5935cc, V12 power 510bhp @ 6500rpm Torque 420lb ft @ 5750rpm 0-60mph 4.1sec Top speed 190mph

The V12 Za­gato is the most re­cent As­ton to fea­ture the badge of the fa­mous ital­ian styling house – though in fact this par­tic­u­lar Za­gato was styled by As­ton’s own Marek re­ich­man. it was an­other strictly lim­ited edi­tion: in this case just 101 were made. Based on the V12 Van­tage, the Za­gato was re­bod­ied in car­bon­fi­bre and alu­minium, though the me­chan­i­cal pack­age was vir­tu­ally un­changed. still, since the V12 Van­tage was al­ready one of the finest driv­ers’ As­tons of all time, that was hardly a con­cern – even at £396,000 a pop.

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