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The replacement for Aston Martin's long-running V8 models and the Vantage V8 in particular was introduced in 1988 at the Birmingham Motor Show. Named Virage, its hand-formed aluminum body was quite angular in shape yet remarkably modern, low and clean in its execution. As always, the finest materials were used, from Connolly leather to Wilton wool carpeting and rich wood trim. The car was more than a sprightly gentleman's express, however. The 330-horsepower 5.3-liter engine, now with four valves per cylinder and Weber-Marelli fuel injection, was engineered by Callaway in Connecticut, well-known for its tire-shredding work on twin-turbocharged Corvettes. This engine was mated to a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission, of which the former is considerably rarer and far more desirable.
The first Virages arrived in the United States in the summer of 1990, joined by the cabriolet Volante version two years later and a Vantage edition shortly thereafter. Its quarter-million dollar price tag and low production numbers, however, placed it solidly out of reach of the average sports car buyer. While about 400 Virages were built in all, only about 54 ever made their way stateside, of which only 14 were reportedly equipped with five-speed manual transmissions.