Plus: db7 Za­gato Van­quish drive The most im­por­tant new Aston for a decade is here!

VANTAGE - - The Specialist Post Vintage - DBS/DBS V8 Lagonda Rapide

The DBS ush­ered in a whole new look for Aston, its mod­ern lines the work of English­man Wil­liam Towns. It was also sup­posed to in­tro­duce Tadek Marek’s all-new 5.3-litre V8 en­gine, but that wasn’t ready in time, so the DBS was launched with the fa­mil­iar straight-six from the DB6 (the two mod­els ran con­cur­rently for three years). The 310bhp V8 was fi­nally avail­able from 1970, but the six-cylin­der con­tin­ued un­til 1972 as the en­try-level Aston. Some 787 six-cylin­der DBSS were pro­duced, and 402 V8s. Buy­ing guide, Van­tage is­sue 2. David Brown had bought Lagonda in 1947, shortly af­ter buy­ing Aston Martin. He wanted it chiefly for its Bent­ley-de­signed straight­six en­gine, but pro­duc­tion of the pre-db Lagonda mod­els con­tin­ued un­til 1958. The Lagonda name then van­ished for sev­eral years, but in 1961 it reap­peared on a new four-door sa­loon based on the DB4 but with the 4-litre en­gine that would soon power the new DB5. The Rapide (an old Lagonda model name) was fast and ca­pa­ble but the front styling was awk­ward and only 55 were sold in four years.

5340cc, V8 280bhp @ 5500rpm 301lb ft @ 3000rpm 8.8sec 143mph

While DB7S were rolling out of a new fac­tory at Blox­ham, back at New­port Pag­nell an all-new flag­ship model was in de­vel­op­ment. Launched in sum­mer 2001, the Cal­lum-penned Van­quish had a 460bhp ver­sion of the V12 and a bonded alu­minium plat­form that would be de­vel­oped for all sub­se­quent As­tons. Its au­to­mated pad­dleshift man­ual gear­box was crit­i­cised ini­tially for its slow re­sponses. This was im­proved, as was the han­dling, for the 520bhp Van­quish S launched in 2004. A to­tal of 2578 Van­quishes were sold.

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