ALL THE ROAD CARS 1960s-1970s
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.
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. new for the DB5 was the 4-litre engine and the option of a five-speed gearbox, which soon became standard. regular DB5S had 282bhp, the Vantage 314bhp. The Convertible version was succeeded in 1965 by the ultra-rare ‘short Chassis Volante’ model, the first use of the Volante name. Total production: 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.
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. Volante followed in 1966. The Mk2, which arrived in July 1969, had flared wheelarches over wider wheels. Total DB6 production: 1967.
AM V8 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 DBS V8 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