Prince Charles' Aston Martin Virage Volante is up for sale
A convertible fit for a (future) king!
No matter where you come from or what you do, it seems like the obsession with royalty is something that's all-pervasive. Love them or loathe them, the British royal family are (for now) here to stay. With that lingering obsession with the royal family comes, of course, questions about what cars they've owned or driven. Sometimes, those cars even come up for sale and this Aston Martin is one of them – it's up for sale on 7 December at Bonhams' aptly named Bond Street sale.
This 1994 Virage Volante is an absolutely beautiful example of an Aston Martin that seems to be relatively forgotten. What nobody will forget about though is who it was originally for. This Virage was driven by none other than Prince Charles himself! Suitably for a car that was intended for royalty, it's not exactly your standard common or garden Virage Volante (if that's something you can reasonably say). The venerable Aston Martin V8 is a fair bit beefier than what you'd find in the standard car - Prince Charles got a 6.3 litre V8 instead of the 5.3 that everyone else got. This meant that His Royal Highness got 456 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque to hammer down on Britain's sweeping country roads.
The car also has upgraded suspension, upgraded brakes and a beefier exhaust system than what you'd find on the standard car. It also had a police radio installed for security reasons, but that has now since been removed, as well as another rather quaint addition - a leather-trimmed pouch in the glovebox for storing sugar cubes that the Prince would feed to the polo ponies!
Curiously, Prince Charles decided to forego having the wide body styling, choosing instead to have the Virage's standard wheelarches. Nothing wrong with that - if anything, it better suits a vehicle that's supposed to be more princely in nature than one of brutal, uncompromising performance. Prince Charles also opted for the five speed manual transmission instead of the automatic, a bit of a departure from what you'd expect a grand touring convertible to have transmission wise. Maybe he likes manual gearboxes? He certainly wouldn't be the only one out of all of us who does! As expected from a car from a classic British manufacturer, it's finished in British racing green with a green Everflex roof and has an interior full of mushroom-coloured leather and walnut. Very classy indeed! Although the eagle-eyed of you may notice that the steering wheel could have come straight out of a Ford Crown Victoria or Lincoln Town Car from the 90s...
Whilst Prince Charles technically didn't own the car, it was the Prince's to use pretty much as he wished from the day it was delivered to him up until 2008 when he gave it back to Aston Martin, who kept it at their HQ in Warwickshire as a display vehicle. Aston Martin then sold it to its current owner in 2012, who is the one who decided to have it auctioned off at Bonhams. This one of a kind example of an already fairly rare Aston Martin is going under the hammer on December 7th with an estimated value of around £250k (around $325k), so if you can afford to bid on it, you should get on that pretty quickly! There's very likely no other Virage Volante like this one in the entire world, especially not with its royal patronage.
Avoid convertible sunburn in style
One of the risks of driving a convertible is getting a sunburnt face. Fine, maybe not at this time of year. But this Hackett Aston Martin baseball cap will keep you safe should the sun finally come out, and it makes a great gift. It's £30, but it's made by Hackett so should stand the test of time.