the British "understatement Model" par excellence. Engine 6cyl, From 11/1978 one owner until 2000. Then in Collection, Chassis DBS/5697/F1/R, DBS from 1/1971 View car
For too long, the Aston Martin DBS has been an unloved, formerly glamourous car hijacked by the newer, twinklier, and more coverage-worthy V8 in all its iterations of be-spoilered, high performance furore. And as the oldest car from that era of Astons, it has been seen as a curio by restorers and classic fans alike.
The car is beginning to get the recognition it deserves as the sire of a new generation of Aston Martins for the 1970s and beyond. And for that reason, good DBSs should be prized beyond compare for their design purism and relative affordability. Yet buyers beware. A DBS will cost as much to restore as a DB6, practically to the penny, yet be worth a fraction when complete. So next time you see a beautiful DBS on the road, remember, it’s only the truly heroic DB fan who will be running one.
William Towns’ wonderful shape for the Aston Martin DBS captured the late 1960s enchantment with clean crisp lines and an intelligent-looking update to the Aston grille design incorporating quad-lamps. It was a radical departure compared to the curvy shape of the earlier DB6, and instantly made the older cars look out of date. The 1967 introduction of the DBS was hailed for its de Dion rear suspension, a departure from the DB6, but the additional heft of this larger car quashed performance, so the straight-six DBSs are more leisurely performers than forebears that are fitted with similar spec motors. As a classic, this is less of a problem, as you’re not buying into the latest performance motor car, but accessing what the marque stands for.
Should you want one, buy a captivating GT with full-sized seats giving touring capability for four. And doesn’t the shape look pure? The suave good looks of the 1960s lived for a long time as the updated V8, yet the earlier car is still the purest. Buy right and it might still reward with appreciating value, too.
Settling into the cabin of a DBS makes you appreciate the bespoke nature of an Aston Martin. It’s very wide, a lucky accident of the car’s design originally being created as the four-door luxury Lagonda saloon, the DBS being shortened but not narrowed to create a coupé body shape. Individual stitches in the dashboard covering, seats and soft furnishings are a reminder that here is a car created without the uniformity of mass production. The Tadek Marek designed six-pot burbles into life, yet needs warming thoroughly before you can drive the car. An Aston Martin isn’t a car to thrash from cold.
Cars of this era, size and power that run on wire wheels are unusual, yet those wires also add a vintage aura to the car. Brakes and steering combine to allow sufficient control for cruising, but the car’s happiest gait, which is over the legal maximum, is helped by the over-riding weight, at which pace the dampers soften slightly and give astonishing ride comfort. True, the de Dion rear axle can be upset by poor road surfaces and the all-round discs can feel wooden, but are easily cured. Get out and drive it!
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