£500,000+

Classic Cars (UK) - - The Hot 30 -

>As­ton Martin DB6 Volante TIPPED BY STEPHEN HAL­STEAD

‘This model might ring a bell from the Royal Wed­ding of 2011,’ says Stephen Hal­stead. ‘Prince Wil­liam and the new Duchess of Cam­bridge sped down the Mall in Prince Charles’s DB6 Van­tage Volante – and what a car that is! Only 29 Volantes were built to Van­tage spec­i­fi­ca­tion so they’re the pick of the DB6 bunch and highly sought after.’

Such ex­po­sure only boosted the model’s al­ready aris­to­cratic im­age. But what makes the DB6 Volante our pick for this ex­alted value bracket? Hal­stead of­fers a few point­ers. ‘You could ar­gue that all DB6S are un­der­val­ued, con­sid­er­ing they of­fer more space and com­fort than a DB5 with a bet­ter-con­trolled ride and slightly more per­for­mance. But the Volante is scarce com­pared to the saloon – 215 built against 1567 – and it’s a more en­joy­able car, sim­ply for the fold­ing roof.’

That roof is power-as­sisted, in part be­cause the Amer­i­can mar­ket was start­ing to ex­pect it even from British cars over a cer­tain price. Other user-friendly ac­cou­trements such as Borg­warner au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and power steer­ing were of­fered, but the five-speed ZF man­ual is more sport­ing and per­haps 10% more valu­able. The first 37 DB6 Volantes were built on the shorter DB5 wheel­base and might com­mand a pre­mium, but sales are too scarce to plot a course. The big dif­fer­ence is un­doubt­edly that 325bhp Van­tage en­gine.

‘Prices for the Van­tage Volante are nudg­ing £800k and it doesn’t seem un­rea­son­able to as­sume they’ll top £1m be­fore too long,’ says Hal­stead. ‘That’s twice what you’d have to pay for a shabby non-van­tage ex­am­ple. But restora­tion costs can be con­sid­er­able, so make sure you’re adding more value than you’re spend­ing.’

‘It doesn’t seem un­rea­son­able that they’ll top £1m be­fore too long’

Such has been the boom in DB As­ton val­ues in the last decade that the sums charged by spe­cial­ists seem to have bloomed in sym­pa­thy – even at this end of the mar­ket the motto must be to buy the best you can af­ford rather than try­ing to save money with a barn-find and a time-con­sum­ing re­build.

‘Don’t ex­pect low-mileage, mu­seum-pre­served cars – they tend to have been driven,’ says Hal­stead. ‘But as long as it’s been well main­tained and re­stored by a spe­cial­ist you can ex­pect it to per­form just as well on the road as it did in the Six­ties.’

The same is true of the non-van­tage car, of course, which for the record should fetch £600k by pri­vate sale or £700k for the best ex­am­ples of­fered by deal­ers. A few stan­dard cars might turn up with Van­tage-spec up­rated en­gines – no crime, but the value in­crease is not in line with a gen­uine Van­tage.

Hal­stead of­fers re­as­sur­ance for any­one in­vest­ing £800k in the Van­tage ver­sion. ‘There are more than 2000 bil­lion­aires in the world. Lots of them col­lect cars. The fastest, best-driv­ing and most com­fort­able As­ton DB con­vert­ible is the DB6 Van­tage Volante and there are only 29 of them – not enough to go round.’

Scarcity, us­abil­ity and Royal pa­tron­age mean that an As­ton DB6 Volante will al­ways gen­er­ate a queue of ea­ger buy­ers

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