Aston Martin marks 30 years since iconic 6.3-litre conversions of the Virage were introduced

Aston Martin is celebrating 30 years of one of its iconic models, by remembering the 6.3-litre Virage models.

The engine upgrade was part of a comprehensive package of improvements to the standard Virage and Virage Volante, which were already highly regarded as the first entirely new models from the British firm in 20 years.

Aston Martin says the upgrades followed the era’s ‘more is more’ approach, and came from the move from a 5.3-litre V8 to a 6.0-litre unit in the motorsport version, which was eventually upped to 6.3 litres.

When it came time to offer an upgrade to the road car, it made sense for the engine size to be increased in line with the racing version. The standard car had 330bhp at launch, but once the new engine was introduced it boasted 500bhp, an incredibly number for the time.

Photos: PA Media

Specially manufactured by performance specialist Cosworth, the engine contributed to the car’s 5.1-second 0-60mph sprint time, while 100mph came up in just 11.5 seconds and the top speed was 174mph.

On top of the power hike, the Virage was given a suspension overhaul to improve handling, while 18-inch alloy wheels with high-performance Goodyear Eagle tyres were also fitted.

Special brakes that took their design inspiration from the AMR1 Group C racer helped to bring two tonnes of Virage to a stop.

Because the wheels and tyres were much larger than before, the arches were flared, giving the car a more aggressive appearance, while extended side sills, new front air dam and large rear spoiler completed the visual upgrade.

Aston Martin Historian, Steve Waddingham, said that the conversion was offered at a tough time for the firm, with the boom of the 1980s followed by economic downturn.

He added: “This ingenious offering created by the brand’s Customer Service Division – now Aston Martin Works – not only created a huge amount of positive media interest in the marque but also provided many of our well-heeled customers with the opportunity to acquire an iconic road car with real motorsport heritage.”

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