This made the final variant a multi-faceted sign off. By then of course, the Virage had become known as the Vantage again and had been made to look tremendous. Not sensual or supercar-ish like its successor, but rather stout and strong and brutishly handsome. It was imperfect; it had to be: every panel of its aluminium bodywork was made the old-fashioned way. It was hardly much more modern underneath, and certainly exceeded two tonnes with a driver aboard. The Vantage, though, had added twin superchargers to the venerable 5.3-litre V8 engine, delivering 550hp and the same again in torque. It was capable of 186mph - and had 14-inch brake discs to save it.
The runout model made its debut at Geneva, and was distinguished from the standard Vantage by the 'nostril' front grille and side vents reshaped to echo those used on the DBR1. Inside, the most notable addition was a dramatically oversized rev counter, although the Le Mans also exchanged its wood trim for a metallic finish. Completing the effect were Dymag hollow spoke magnesium alloy wheels, which hinted at some of the fettling that could be optionally specified underneath.
Mercifully, Works Service would see to the chassis too: upgrading the brakes to a ventilated AP Racing system with six-piston calipers at the front, and overhauling the suspension with firmer Eibach springs, adjustable Koni dampers and a stiffer anti-roll bar. You could have electronic Traction Control fitted as well, if you were feeling prudent and/or sane. Our showpiece of the week has that, as well as the original Michelin road map which Aston helpfully supplied with the route from Newport Pagnell to Le Mans highlighted for your edification.
Better still, it's the 7th of the 40 - and because it was built for the 1999 London Motor Show (with a plaque to prove it), that obviously makes it 007. We rather like the Saddle Tan hide seats with their Alcantara inserts, too - and the Aston Racing Green paint job. And the way that opening the bonnet is likely to fill you with cheer about the gargantuan way things used to be done. Only 24k has been added to the V8's clock, with four owners on the V5. Becoming the fifth will require the best part of half a million quid, but it does buy you a large, fast, loud and very lovely last hurrah.
See the original advert here