Why Was the Aston Martin Virage Banned in the U.S.?

Car collectors from all over the country gather sets of vehicles to display in their collections. Sometimes, however, the cars they want to show off are found in markets from other countries. The Aston Martin Virage is one of a long list of vehicles banned from coming to America, according to Hot Cars.

An Aston Martin Virage Volante model being driven by Prince Charles
An Aston Martin Virage Volante model | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Image

Typically, banned vehicles stay on the prohibited list, but there are instances where they can be made legal provided specific requirements are met. For example, car collectors can bring some banned cars into the U.S. if they’re done for displaying or showing purposes, not for driving on American roads. 

One stipulation that must be met is that the vehicle can’t be in current production. Older cars that are no longer being built frequently will get the go-ahead from the NHTSA. Another requirement is that the vehicle is eligible for possible legal status if the car hasn’t had more than 500 models produced. You can get around that if you can prove the vehicle has some historical importance attached to it, though. 

According to the DuPont Registry, many vehicles that reach the 25-year-old mark are exempt from the display requirements and will likely be pulled from the NHTSA banned list of cars. That means a vehicle that old would have a good chance of finding its way rather quickly to American soil. 

What happened to the Aston Martin Virage? 

When it comes to selling on the U.S. market, NHTSA is pretty strict on each vehicle’s requirements, unlike some other European countries. That’s the case with the Aston Martin Virage. Back from 1990 to 1993, this Aston Martin model was available in America. However, after that, it became illegal here due to two main reasons. One is that it didn’t have the correct number of airbags, especially on the passenger side. 

The second reason is it didn’t pass U.S. emissions standards. The Clean Air Act passed through Congress in 1970, and the NHTSA adopted it as part of their rigorous safety testing of all vehicles trying to be sold to American consumers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pollutants escaping into the environment have been significantly reduced over the years ever since that law was passed.  

It’s kind of sad, though. Some car critics that have had a chance to drive one said that it’s a pretty sharp vehicle. However, one owner of one Virage model was able to get the proper paperwork to bring it to the U.S. Of course, they had to make some hefty modifications to do so. That Aston Martin model was transformed into a drag racing car with a motor that produces 2,800 hp. 

Other vehicles only available outside of the U.S.


Illegal Vehicles Banned in America

One vehicle on the banned from America list is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, specifically the Type 940 version, which was initially introduced in 2010. It’s considered a family luxury hatchback that impresses many with its performance and styling. However, Americans won’t get a chance to see it for themselves, especially since the Alfa Romeo brand may be phased out soon. 

Another vehicle on the list is the Toyota Sera, which is one of the most uniquely designed vehicles out there. The Sera is a three-door sedan with a gullwing design to allow for entry into the car. However, it’s only on the Japanese domestic market, so we won’t be seeing it anytime soon. 

Toyota also has the Hilux pickup that isn’t produced for the American market. Those who own one in other countries say that it’s a reliable truck that’s well-built and can easily be used for off-roading in many areas. It’s even considered to be almost invincible. Fortunately, America has many other pickups that are pretty similar to the Hilux already. 

There’s at least one semi-banned vehicle on this list, though. The Lamborghini Diablo, specifically the 1997 version, was banned due to not meeting the safety requirements of the NHTSA. However, there were 25 units built strictly for the American market, so there are a few out there, just not too many.