It's fairly common knowledge in the motoring world that Aston Martin enjoyed the considerable largesse of the Ford Motor Company, who bought a 75 per cent stake in Aston Martin in 1987, before the Newport Pagnell firm became wholly owned by the Blue Oval in 1994. This tenure lasted until 2007, when the company was sold to a consortium led by Prodrive chairman Dave Richards. During the Ford years, cars like the DB9 and Vantage were developed and in the subsequent years we've seen several spin-offs of these themes, with the updated DB9, DBS, Vanquish and Virage all based on much the same chassis and engine technology.
The Virage had a tough start. Unveiled at a Geneva motor show that saw the limelight stolen by the Lamborghini Aventador, the Ferrari FF and the E-type Jaguar's 50th birthday, the Virage was overlooked by much of the world's press. Compound that problem with a cramped stand, a show car in an unflattering colour and with styling that most found virtually indistinguishable from the DB9 - a car that continued in the Aston Martin line up - and it was a low-key launch. Things didn't get much better with initial reviews that were broadly positive about the car but questioned what the point of it was when the DB9 and DBS models were also on sale. It was, perhaps, the ultimate manifestation of Aston's hidebound 'Russian Doll' styling philosophy and its short lifespan told of a certain customer weariness of this policy. The Virage was deleted quietly in 2012, replaced by an updated DB9. The DBS shortly followed it.