1967 Aston Martin DB6 'Mark 1' Volante Convertible Registration no. JUF 129E Chassis no. DBVC/3662/R Engine no. 400/3271
'I have driven most of the Aston Martin models that have been produced, from the racing twin-cam 1½-litre of the 1920s onwards. For years my favourite has been the DB3S sports-racer, but now my allegiance is wavering. There can be little doubt that the DB6 is the best Aston yet and it is a credit to British engineering.' - John Bolster, Autosport, 21st October 1966.
Considered by many to be the last 'real' Aston Martin, the DB6 was launched in 1965 at the Paris and London Motor Shows, updating the DB5. Although Royal patronage of the marque undoubtedly helped DB6 sales, as did its DB5 predecessor's appearance in the James Bond movies 'Goldfinger' and 'Thunderball', the car arrived at a difficult time for Aston Martin, with the home economy in a parlous state and the US market subject to ever-more restrictive legislation.
Though recognisably related to its Touring-styled DB4 ancestor, the DB6 abandoned the underlying Superleggera body structure of its predecessors in favour of a conventional steel fabrication while retaining the aluminium outer panels. Somewhat confusingly, 'Superleggera' badges continued to be applied for a time, presumably until stocks ran out. The wheelbase was now 4" (100mm) longer than before, resulting in an extensive restyle with more-raked windscreen, raised roofline and reshaped rear quarter windows. The result was significantly increased interior space, making the DB6 a genuine four-seater.
Opening front quarter lights made a reappearance but the major change was at the rear where a Kamm-style tail with spoiler improved the aerodynamics, greatly enhancing stability at high speeds. This device had first been tried on the DP214 and DP215 DB4GT-based Le Mans prototypes, yet another example of racing improving the breed. 'The tail lip halves the aerodynamic lift around maximum speed and brings in its train greater headroom and more luggage space,' declared Motor magazine, concluding that the DB6 was one of the finest sports cars it had ever tested.
The Tadek Marek-designed six-cylinder engine had been enlarged to 3,995cc for the preceding DB5 and remained unchanged. Power output on triple SU carburettors was 282bhp, rising to 325bhp in Vantage specification. Borg-Warner automatic transmission was offered alongside the standard ZF five-speed gearbox, and for the first time air conditioning and power-assisted steering were available as options.
Premiered at the 1965 London Motor Show, the convertible DB6 marked the first occasion the evocative 'Volante' name had been applied to a soft-top Aston Martin. After 37 Volante convertibles had been completed on the DB5 short-wheelbase chassis, the model adopted the longer DB6 chassis in October 1966, first appearing in its definitive form at the London Motor Show. The stylish Volante offered four-seat accommodation and was generously appointed with leather upholstery, deep-pile carpets, an aircraft-style instrument cluster and an electrically operated hood.
In the summer of 1969 the Mark 2 DB6 was announced in saloon and convertible versions. Distinguishable by its flared wheelarches and DBS wheels, the DB6 Mark 2 came with power-assisted steering as standard and could be ordered with AE Brico electronic fuel injection. Between 1965 and 1970 when production ceased a total of 1,575 DB6 saloons was completed. During this time the factory made only 178 of the long-wheelbase Volantes and today these rare cars are among the most sought after of David Brown-era Aston Martins.
This manual-transmission DB6 Volante comes with invoices for a 'no expense spared' bodywork renovation, bare-metal total repaint and full interior re-trim together with various other works, issued by Moto Technique of West Molesey, Surrey between late 2009 and early 2011, and is presented in truly beautiful condition. 'DBVC/3662/R' was sold new via Odeon Motors to Ralph Hilton Transport Services Ltd of Charlton, London SE7 and originally registered 'JH 1'. The accompanying copy order form shows that the DB6 was originally finished in Dubonnet Rosso with natural Connolly hide interior trim, and was delivered equipped with chrome road wheels, 3-ear hubcaps, two lap and diagonal safety belts, and a power aerial. The AMOC Register (published 2000) records another registration - 'GJK 3' (1987) and this car has also been registered as 'XRE 170G'. Its accompanying V5C registration document shows that the Volante was previously owned by one Robert Gray of Fawley, Southampton who acquired it in October 2010. A total of 58,931 miles is currently displayed on the odometer and the car is MoT'd to September 2015.