ALL THE ROAD CARS 1960s-1970s

VANTAGE - - The Specialist | Gtc Engineering -

DB4 GT Za­gato 1960-1963

The rarest, most beau­ti­ful and most de­sir­able of all post-war As­tons. With the short­ened chas­sis and highly tuned en­gine of the DB4 GT (but with an even higher com­pres­sion ra­tio), and clothed in even lighter alu­minium body­work of quite ex­quis­ite pro­por­tions (the work of a young Er­cole Spada), Za­gatos today command vast sums at auc­tion. In­credi­ble to tell, then, that the orig­i­nal planned run of 25 was re­duced to 20 be­cause of lack of take-up. The un­used chas­sis num­bers were even­tu­ally re­cy­cled in the ’90s as the ‘Sanc­tion’ cars.

DB5/DB5 Volante 1963-1966

Re­ally an­other evo­lu­tion of the DB4 (it would have been Se­ries 6), the DB5 is now revered in its own right – and fa­mous above all other As­tons – wholly be­cause of its role in the James Bond film fran­chise. In looks it was vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal to the DB4 Se­ries 5 Van­tage; the main change was the 4-litre en­gine and the op­tion of a five-speed gear­box, which soon be­came stan­dard. Reg­u­lar DB5S had 282bhp, Van­tage ver­sions 314bhp, and there were now disc brakes on all four wheels. To­tal pro­duc­tion reached 1023.

DBS/DBS V8 1967-1972

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.

Lagonda Rapide 1961-1964

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.

DB6/DB6 Volante 1965-1971

A longer wheel­base and ex­tended roofline – end­ing in the dis­tinc­tive cut-off ‘Kamm’ tail – made the DB6 a de­cent four-seater, while its slightly heav­ier build, softer ride and the op­tions of an au­to­matic gear­box and air-con­di­tion­ing showed that the DB line was mov­ing into GT ter­ri­tory. The base en­gine was car­ried over from the DB5, though the Van­tage now pro­duced a claimed 325bhp. The Mk2, which ar­rived in July 1969, had flared whee­larches over its wider wheels. To­tal DB6 pro­duc­tion: 1967.

AM V8/V8 Volante 1972-1990

If the ’60s were As­ton’s golden era, the ’70s saw the glow fade with fre­quent fi­nan­cial crises. David Brown had sold up, so the big coupe be­came the AM V8, its con­vert­ible sib­ling the V8 Volante and the trou­ble­some fuel in­jec­tion sys­tem was dropped in favour of four We­ber car­bu­ret­tors. Early cars had around 310bhp, but emis­sions regs saw that fig­ure di­min­ish through the decade. The com­pany’s lack of cash meant the V8 would sol­dier on for al­most 20 years, in which time 4021 were built. Volante buying guide, Van­tage is­sue 4.

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 5340cc, V8 Power 310bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 360lb ft @ 3500rpm 0-60mph 5.7sec Top speed 155mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 3995cc, in-line 6 Power 236bhp @ 5000rpm Torque 265lb ft @ 4000rpm 0-60mph 9.0sec Top speed 130mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 3670cc, in-line 6 Power 314bhp @ 6000rpm Torque 278lb ft @ 5400rpm 0-60mph 6.1sec Top speed 154mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 3995cc, in-line 6 Power 282bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 288lb ft @ 3850rpm 0-60mph 8.4sec Top speed 150mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 3995cc, in-line 6 Power 282bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 288lb ft @ 3850rpm 0-60mph 8.4sec Top speed 140mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 3995cc, in-line 6 Power 282bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 288lb ft @ 3850rpm 0-60mph 8.0sec Top speed 145mph

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