Rare Rides: A Custom Aston Martin V8 Shooting Brake From 1998

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Ever wondered what a bespoke shooting brake might look like if its donor vehicle were a long-wheelbase convertible? Wonder no more, for today’s Rare Ride is just such a vehicle, and is also an Aston Martin.

The car which would become Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage model began with the (relatively) lower performance Virage, which debuted in 1989. That chunky coupe was the subject of a Rare Rides already, so we won’t dwell on those beginnings today.

As Virage production wound down in 1995, the upmarket V8 Vantage model had been on sale for two years. Wearing very similar styling to the Virage, the Vantage was in fact very different underneath. When Aston Martin finished its modifications to the Virage, the Vantage shared only roof and doors with its predecessor. Other changes included a wider, lower stance, and a new rear suspension setup. The interior gained its own revisions, boasting new electronics that were surely the pinnacle of reliability.

But the most significant Vantage changes were found in the engine bay. Sharing a 5.3-liter V8 with the Virage, the Vantage had the added benefit of dual superchargers. Power increased from a prior figure of 330 to 550. Torque was present in abundance, amounting to 555 lb-ft. Suitably enlivened, the heavy cruiser rocketed from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.

Production was slow, and between 1993 and 2000 the automaker built just 280 Vantage examples. Among that number, Aston Martin began building a long-wheelbase Volante (convertible) version in 1998. Length was increased by 20 millimeters as the Vantage was reworked to contain all the relative cabriolet accoutrements. Just 63 rolled from the factory, and one of those became today’s shooting brake.

The project began in 2003. Aston Martin commissioned designer Andrew McGeachy and tasked him with creating a shooting brake from a Volante. After the new body was conceived, it was built in Switzerland by Roos Engineering. No expense was spared, and the ad copy indicates over 8,000 hours were spent on the very special vehicle.

Engineers reinforced the chassis to carry the extra weight of the revised body. Luxurious, suede-coated seats fold to increase cargo room, and there’s a pass-through in the rear seat for longer cargo. Rear-seat passengers will not be without fresh air in the shooting brake, as the rear windows roll down. All of it is finished in beautiful detail, and with reminders of the era intact. Check that Taurus steering wheel, should any doubt exist.

Currently located in Switzerland, this very special one-off Aston is only priced on request.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Jatz Jatz on Jan 22, 2019

    British-English lesson for Tuesday: Bespoke = Cobbled

  • Theflyersfan Theflyersfan on Jan 22, 2019

    Surely they could have done better than the $59 Best Buy special Alpine! I'd still love this thing just for the 100% oddness of it. It's like the interior "designer" just threw stuff in the air and installed it where it landed. Kind of makes a 1980s era Citroen look normal.

  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
  • Joe65688619 I agree there should be more sedans, but recognize the trend. There's still a market for performance oriented-drivers. IMHO a low budget sedan will always be outsold by a low budget SUV. But a sports sedan, or a well executed mid-level sedan (the Accord and Camry) work. Smaller market for large sedans except I think for an older population. What I'm hoping to see is some consolidation across brands - the TLX for example is not selling well, but if it was offered only in the up-level configurations it would not be competing with it's Honda sibling. I know that makes the market smaller and niche, but that was the original purpose of the "luxury" brands - badge-engineering an existing platform at a relatively lower cost than a different car and sell it with a higher margin for buyers willing and able to pay for them. Also creates some "brand cachet." But smart buyers know that simple badging and slightly better interiors are usually not worth the cost. Put the innovative tech in the higher-end brands first, differentiate they drivetrain so it's "better" (the RDX sells well for Acura, same motor and tranmission, added turbo which makes a notable difference compared to the CRV). The sedan in many Western European countries is the "family car" as opposed to micro and compact crossovers (which still sell big, but can usually seat no more than a compact sedan).
  • Jonathan IMO the hatchback sedans like the Audi A5 Sportback, the Kia Stinger, and the already gone Buick Sportback are the answer to SUVs. The A5 and the AWD version of the Stinger being the better overall option IMO. I drive the A5, and love the depth and size of the trunk space as well as the low lift over. I've yet to find anything I need to carry that I can't, although I admit I don't carry things like drywall, building materials, etc. However, add in the fun to drive handling characteristics, there's almost no SUV that compares.