Launched in 1965, the DB6 replaced the DB5 and for the first time the title "Volante" was introduced to denote the convertible model of the Aston Martin motor cars, a tradition continuing to this day.
Though recognizably related to its Touring-styled DB4 ancestor, the wheelbase was now longer than before, resulting in an extensive re-style with more raked windscreen, raised roofline and reshaped rear quarter windows. 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. "The tail lip halves the aerodynamic lift around maximum speed and brings in its train greater headroom and more luggage space," revealed Motor magazine, concluding that the DB6 was one of the finest sports cars it had 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 carburetors was 282 bhp, rising to 325 bhp in Vantage specification. A Borg-Warner automatic transmission was offered alongside the standard ZF five-speed gearbox, and for the first time there was optional power-assisted steering.
The stylish Volante convertible offered four-seat accommodation and was generously appointed with leather upholstery, deep-pile carpets, an aircraft-like instrument cluster and electrically operated soft top. After 37 Volante convertibles had been completed on the short-wheelbase chassis (from the DB5), the model pictured here adopted the longer chassis from the DB6 coupe in October 1966. A total of 1,575 DB6s were made between 1965 and 1970, with only 140 DB6 Volantes of this type being built.
This manual-transmission DB6 Volante is finished in its original Celeste (light-blue) paint with blue Connolly leather interior and has the rare luxury of a rear parcel shelf beneath the tonneau cover. Owned for seventeen years by a well-known Aston Martin enthusiast, this car came into its present ownership in 1995 and benefits from ongoing restoration since then. The engine has had a recent rebuild and the seller claims that the car is in "very good" condition throughout. Presentation reflects life-long careful ownership and the car comes with service and maintenance history from 1995 to date.
|Vehicle:||1968 Aston Martin DB6|
|Number Produced:||140 long-chassis Volantes|
|Original List Price:||$15,495 (coupe)|
|Tune Up Cost:||$600|
|Chassis Number Location:||plate on shroud support in engine compartment|
|Engine Number Location:||stamped on right side of engine|
|Alternatives:||Jaguar XKE, Maserati Mistral Spider, Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III convertible RJM-PW body|
This car was sold at the Brooks UK Auction at Newport Pagnell on May 13, 2000 for $109,288.
With the DB6, Aston Martin was nearing the end of the golden era that began in 1959 with victory at Le Mans and the World Sports Car Championship. When the race-winning Marek-designed aluminum dohc engine was installed in the Touring of Milan-designed DB4 body in 1959, Aston had an immediate winner.
The DB6 is visually and mechanically similar to the DB4 and DB5. Aston had created the DB6 coupe by stretching the DB5 wheelbase by 3.75 inches, which allowed them to raise the roof line to increase rear-seat headroom. The first designs showed a frightening tendency to lift their tails at high speeds, so the squared-off Kamm tail, with a spoiler adapted from racing, was substituted for the small tail fins of the DB4 and DB5.
The method of introduction of the DB6 Volante convertible was a bit curious. When the new DB6 coupe was introduced at Earls Court in October 1965, Aston also introduced a convertible called the “DB6 Volante.” The Volante shared major styling cues of split bumpers and spoiler rear end with the DB6 coupe, but it was, in fact, built on the shorter DB5 chassis. Nevertheless, after only thirty-seven of the DB5/DB6 hybrids had been built, they were dropped in favor of a convertible built on the DB6 chassis, though the Volante term was retained.
As with the DB5, DB6s could be ordered with the standard engine with three SU HD8 carburetors, or the “Vantage” engine which used triple Weber 45DCOE9 carburetors. While road tests of the day suggested that the Vantage engine was well-suited for high-speed highway driving, they noted that SU-equipped Astons, such as this one sold by Brooks, would be much more practical in urban traffic.
Though the DB6 was improved from the DB5 in many ways, it wasn’t different enough. In 1970, almost unnoticed, Aston produced the last of the Mark II DB6s. The failed attempt to design a V8 engine to replace the aging straight six, coupled with a Draconian government currency devaluation, pushed Aston to the brink of financial failure and David Brown gave up control of the company he had rescued in 1945. Under new managers, the elegant styling of the DB4 through 6 would be replaced by wider, heavier models most notable for their high prices. The company would not produce another convertible for eight years.
As a good driving car in nice condition, the price of this car was in line with its value. Because of their rarity and spare good looks, DB4-6 convertibles are highly prized and only one of the short-chassis DB6 Volantes would have been worth more.
(Photo and data courtesy of auction company.)