In 1966 Touring of Milan had been commissioned to design the DB6 replacement and two striking prototypes had been produced before the design house ceased trading. William Towns was brought in to design the new car, which was unveiled at Blenheim Palace on September 25th 1967. Initially only intended for limited production, in its original guise the DBS retained the six-cylinder, 3,995 cc engine, available in Standard or Vantage (our car is an original rare Vantage model).
With the cars clean, modern lines of the new DBS found favour with many owners who required more interior space, and the car was a full four-seater. The adoption of a De Dion rear axle was a departure from previous models and the striking grille design was still unmistakably Aston Martin. In order to counter the increased weight of the DBS, the Vantage version boasted revised camshafts to boost performance.
The DBS had a starring role in the James Bond 1969 movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ with George Lazenby. This was a one-off Bond appearance for both actor and car; it would be another 18 years before 007 would drive an Aston Martin again.
The Aston Martin Vantage sometimes described as the AM Vantage due to the AM chassis number prefix was introduced in May 1972. The AM Vantage was powered by the same Tadek Marek designed six-cylinder 4 litre engine as first used in the DB5 and DB6 models.
The engine of the AM Vantage is identical to that of a DB6 in Vantage tune. A very rare and limited production motor car from Newport Pagnell with only 70 examples ever produced.
Introduced in 2003 the DB Zagato rekindled the relationship between Aston Martin and Italian coachbuilder Zagato, which had started with the iconic DB4 GT Zagato in 1961. This very special coupe was built as a strictly limited production run of only 99 cars and was only available in the UK, Europe and South East Asia.
The unique steel body shell featured a distinctive, large front grille aperture, and the signature Zagato 'double bubble' roof line with sculptured rear window. The rear end was completely unique and had single round tail lights and a drop-down boot lid. Zagato styled 5 spoke alloy wheels and a unique Aniline leather interior completed the striking looks of this very special car. DB Zagato used a 440bhp version of the DB GT engine coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission.
Due to homologation problems the DB Zagato was not offered to the US market. To satisfy the demand created by the coupe a special ‘roadster’ version was styled by Zagato, using the standard DB Volante chassis to overcome type approval issues. Called the ‘DB American Roadster 1’ (DB AR1) the open model was built after the coupe and in fact final assembly was completed at the new Gaydon plant alongside the first DB9’s.
Unlike the coupe, Aston Martin chose there superb 6.0litre V12 power unit from the DB Vantage mated to a 6 Speed gearbox. Styling was very similar to the DB Zagato with the same large grille and twin cowls behind the front seats tapering into the trunk lid, echoing the design cues of the ‘double bubble’ roof design from the coupe. Designed with a sunnier climate in mind (the car was only originally available in the USA, however due to the rarity and collectability of these unique models a number of these cars made their way back Europe.
It is said that when David Brown acquired Lagonda in 1947 all he got was a famous name, a collection of engineering drawings and a handful of prototypes. And although Lagonda's chief engineer and designer, the great W O Bentley, quit the firm when Brown took over, he left behind the 2.6-litre, six-cylinder, twin-overhead-camshaft engine that would power the Aston Martin DB2 and the next generation of Lagondas. Although it retained a separate chassis, Bentley's Lagonda was advanced in other ways, featuring independent suspension all round: by double wishbones and coil-springs at the front - a layout similar to that adopted on the DB4 - and semi-trailing arms with torsion bars at the rear where the brakes were mounted inboard to reduce un-sprung weight. The new Lagonda was intended to exploit a perceived gap in the luxury car market between Jaguar/Rover at one end and Rolls-Royce/Bentley at the other, and succeeded brilliantly, being able to carry five persons and their luggage at high speed and in great comfort.