I was just looking at the Car and Classic auctions from last week, trying to decide on the good buys and bad buys. This 1993 Aston Martin Virage Volante caught my eye. Said to be one of just 26 right-hand-drive 5.3-litre widebody Volantes ever made and showing less than 65,000 miles, the car sold for £28,250, which seemed a relatively reasonable price for what must be a rare Aston. With 1990s classic cars currently looking like the ones to watch in what has been a rather soft market in places, that seemed quite cheap.
The auction text stated: “With just 64,926 warranted miles and a substantial history, the vendor identified this example as a worthy candidate for recommissioning when they acquired it at auction. However, the project has since lost impetus, leaving it up to a new custodian to return this 5.3-litre British bruiser to the road. For those seeking this exceedingly rare car, this opportunity is not to be missed.“
Previous Aston Martin Virage Volante selling price
12 bids on the car ended with a bid for £28,000 on the final day of the sale and a winning bid of £250 more, presumably placed as the sale was finishing. This looked to me to have been a good buy. As it’s quite a distinctive car, I had a look for the previous auction sale mentioned in the description and found the car sold through Bonhams The Market in July 2021 for a full £10k more at £38,250.
The photos in the previous sale were not great. The MOT history shows that the Volante has not been MOT’d since February 2012, when it passed an MOT at 62,150 miles with no advisories. The previous MOT in June 2010 at 61,140 miles came immediately after a fail the previous month for excessive corrosion and weakened strength. This would have been a huge red flag in July 2021, when the car sold for the best part of forty grand. The condition description leads one to wonder:
“While it would benefit from some restoration this is a complete and sound example which has been cherished in the past. The bodywork and underside remain very straight and it’s clear from the glossy paint that it has been a pampered car over the years prior to its spell sat outside. There’s evidence of corrosion in various places, although nothing which appears excessive. We note that the underside still looks remarkably clean overall, with no obvious cause for concern upon initial inspection.
“The same goes for the interior which will look much better for a clean and light recommissioning. Having covered so few miles, there’s no heavy wear to the controls or upholstery. Only the carpets seem to have suffered over time with the seats and woodwork still looking quite smart.“
The auction descriptions appear to suggest that the car has done 1k miles since purchase without an MOT. It was not MOT’d before this sale, the inference being that it would not pass an MOT in its current state without significant expenditure. The latest buyer has apparently secured it for a more reasonable price, but presumably it needs quite significant restoration. The restoration costs may still take it over its market value but at least it came cheaper this time around.
All sales pose questions on what we can learn, or not learn. In this case, we might ponder on whether:
- Rarity is no guarantee of success
- Sensible heads are keeping away from big projects
- Red paint and flared arches may have aged as well as Athena prints when it comes to prestige 90s models
- 90s love may revolve around sub 2-litre cars
Whatever your view of the Aston, it perhaps shows how the market has fallen for some – this is 26% down in two years. £10k off the price of this car suggests a good buy, but I haven’t seen what is lurking beneath the red paint. It can be really hard to know when cars are cheap enough and the owner selling this Aston Martin Virage Volante project at a £10k loss may have been a smart move in the long run.
- Get an agreed insurance valuation for your classic car
- Book a consultation to buy or sell a classic car
- Learn more about expert witness legal services or single joint expert divorce valuations
Photos from Car and Classic