Two things kept the price down: British buyers are notoriously suspicious of automatics in "sporty" cars; and it was presented on a cheap set of tires

The culmination of Aston Martin's long-running line of "DB" 6-cylinder sports saloons, the DB6 was introduced in 1965. Aston Martin lengthened the wheelbase by four inches over the DB5 and undertook an extensive restyle, incorporating a more raked windscreen, raised roofline, and reshaped rear quarter windows.

Although still recognizably related to the original Touring-styled DB4 of 1958, the DB6 abandoned the Superleggera body structure of its predecessors in favor of a conventional steel fabrication. The major change was at the rear, where a Kamm-style tail with spoiler improved the aerodynamics, greatly enhancing stability at high speeds. The 4-liter engine of the DB5 was retained, and an automatic transmission and optional power-assisted steering were offered for the first time.

The DB6 Mk II was announced in August 1969, with flared wheelarches accommodating wider tires, a more substantial Borg & Beck clutch, a changed first-gear ratio, and power-assisted steering, which was now standard on all cars. Some 240 DB6 Mk IIs were built.

This 1970 DB6 Mk II was acquired in 2004 by the present owner, a long-time motor engineer and garage proprietor. It had previously been on museum display for 18 years. The car was found to be in generally sound condition, though not to the new owner's demanding standards, and he embarked upon a major restoration.

This included an engine rebuild with new shells, piston rings, valves, cam buckets, and full engine and seal kit; the cylinder head was converted to unleaded gasoline. The automatic gearbox was removed, cleaned, checked, and found to be in good order. Brakes were overhauled, the radiator re-cored, and a Kenlowe fan was fitted.

The starter motor, alternator, and petrol pump units were all rebuilt, and attention to coachwork and fittings included a bare-metal respray in Birch Gray, new inner sills, and stainless steel sill finishers. All brightwork was removed and rechromed, and the seats received a complete retrim in black leather, with the headliner and carpets replaced as well.

Other work included replacing rubber body seals, fitting a new windscreen, headlights, side and indicator lamps, and taillight clusters, and many other new parts and fittings. Since restoration, this DB6 Mk II has successfully covered 2,000 miles or so, and the current odometer reading is believed correct at 84,300.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk II
Number Produced:240
Original List Price:$36,960 (1966)
Tune Up Cost:$300
Distributor Caps:$24.57
Chassis Number Location:Underhood on top of firewall
Engine Number Location:Nearside of cylinder block next to generator
Investment Grade:B

This 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk II sold for $135,145, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’s annual sale of Aston Martins at Works Service in Newport Pagnell, England, on May 9, 2009.

This was an attractive car, and much time, expertise, and care had obviously been spent on a very nice, thorough restoration. The implication from the catalog is that the owner did much of the work himself and was well qualified to do so-and by that token he may not have had big bills to win back at sale. It didn’t come with the registration number shown on the car in the catalog-probably worth $5,000 in itself-but had an entirely appropriate age-related plate, and a nice Moto-Lita steering wheel.

The owner’s not the hot-shoe he’d like you to think

Two things, apart from the labor assumption, kept the price down here. British buyers are notoriously suspicious of automatics in “sporty” cars-especially old-style 3-speed Borg-Warner clunkers. It’s a different story in the age of the paddle shift, which tends to mask the fact that the box is in control, but progress with these old slushers can feel a bit leisurely, even with almost 300 hp on tap.

In a retirement-age coupe, bought not for how fast it can zip around the Nürburgring with its a/c and stereo turned to max, but for its style and beauty to be enjoyed on high days and holidays, it shouldn’t matter. But it still does. It’s as though the owner’s not quite the hot-shoe he’d like you to think he is and is instead a lame-wrist who couldn’t quite be trusted around the ‘box even if he knew how to exploit the ratios. We Brits are a bit anal retentive when viewing a 40-year-old car, overlooking the fact that automatic drivetrains have probably led an easier life than manuals.

The other detail was that, although it looked like a very nice restoration, it was presented on a cheap set of tires. Okay, they were new, and probably better than whatever it originally rode on, but once you’ve spent all the money and been right through the car, why not put it on a nice set of original rubber, or even premium Pirellis? It helps the overall appearance and keeps the gearing right, and it’s not as if period-looking rubber is unavailable. This was literally a case of spoiling the ship for a ha’penny-worth of tar.

Never the appeal of DB4s and DB5s

DB6s have never had the purist appeal of the 4s and 5s, even though there’s only a claimed 19 pounds difference between a late DB5 and a DB6. Their slightly longer bulk, heavier roofline and C-pillars, plus that Kamm tail (which ought to be seen as an improvement on a 5), identify them as a bit stodgy. On the DB6 Mk II, the flared arches (as if you’d notice) take them one step further away from the purity of the original design. What nonsense, I maintain, and full marks to the astute buyer who gets (almost) all of the style at less than half the price. Purism be damned when there’s this much to be saved.

Aptly, it sold just across the road from where it was made, and it brought all the money the seller was looking for-more evidence he didn’t have big bills tied up in this car. So it looked like everyone got a reasonable deal here (though in the same week there was a similar car, with power steering, advertised in the trade at a little less). If it hadn’t been an auto, it might have done even better, but as it is, it was well sold.

Comments are closed.