The long chassis V8 Volante is perhaps the most elegant Aston Martin that was ever built. It is also the longest production Aston until the introduction of the Rapide in 2010 but is without doubt still the heaviest. It was unveiled at the 1997 London Motor Show and has a unique wheelbase not shared with any other model. It was also the last production Volante to be made at Newport Pagnell. The long wheelbase V8 Volante shares its styling and mechanicals with the V8 Coupe which was introduced the previous year. It was a little late in appearing as the car it replaced, the Virage Volante, was a little slow at selling through at the dealers.
Although a heavy car, tipping the scales at 2050kg empty, the car is capable of a maximum speed in excess of 150mph, with 60mph coming from rest in 6.5 seconds. Power is provided by a 354 bhp V8 engine, still displacing 5340cc and virtually identical to that used in the V8 Coupe. It was only ever available with automatic transmission, a four speed version of the classic Chrysler Torqueflite with a lock-up torque converter and switchable sport mode.
The elegant LWB Volante is far roomier for rear seat passengers with an additional 200mm of leg room over the Virage Volante 2+2. This makes it an ideal Aston for families as average sized people can be very comfortable in the back. The extra leg room and additional luggage capacity has been achieved by increasing the wheelbase by 200mm. The interior of this most elegant of coachbuilt Astons, as ever, is a symphony of Connolly leather, walnut veneer, wall to wall Wilton and cold chrome details. Thinking about it, the long chassis is the last Aston ever to feature masses of polished walnut veneer. The shape of the instrument panel became more rounded over the centre console; it was similar to the in overall shape, but with the incidental dials arraigned in a 2 + 2 fashion. Also two DIN slots were provided for a tape player linked to a CD multi-changer hidden in the dashboard and also an optional sat-nav system with flip out screen.
The double lined roof was of course fully electric and operated completely automatically with no levers or catches to unfasten. When folded, it stands quite proud of the boot lid and can be covered by a leather tonneau cover.
The UK list price without extras but including VAT was a huge £169,500 without extras. With such a high price it’s not surprising that a mere 63 examples were constructed, most were sold outside of the UK even though the car was never marketed in North America. With more passenger space and a substantial boot, the LWB has a reputation as a genuinely practical continental touring car.
Cars such as the long chassis Volante will never be built again by Aston Martin. A very rare and desirable car which is gaining in popularity by collectors and enthusiasts.
This is one of a pair of the Aston Martin V8s, the other one is identical in coachwork colour and interior trim but the Coupe version, a his and hers classic pair.
1998 Aston Martin V8 Volante LWB Automatic, in Rolls Royce Garnet Black with Sandstone piped with Wild berry hide, Wild Berry carpets and over mats, Black Mohair hood with Parchment Alcantara headlining, reversing sensors, Alpine tape/CD/radio,
1 owner from new, supplied and maintained by ourselves with mileage recorded as 21902