Considered by many to be the last 'real' Aston Martin, the DB6 was launched in 1965, updating the DB5. Although Royal patronage of the marque undoubtedly helped DB6 sales, the car arrived at a difficult time for Aston Martin, with the home economy in a parlous state and the US market subject to ever-more restrictive legislation.
Though recognisably related to its Touring-styled DB4 ancestor, the DB6 abandoned the Superleggera body structure of its predecessors in favour of conventional steel fabrication. The wheelbase was now 4" (100mm) longer than before, resulting in an extensive restyle with more-raked windscreen, raised roofline and reshaped rear quarter windows. Opening front quarter lights made a re-appearance, but the major change was at the rear where the presence of a Kamm-style tail, complete with spoiler, acknowledged the increasing importance of aerodynamic downforce in sports car design. 'The tail lip halves the aerodynamic lift around maximum speed and brings in its train greater headroom and more luggage space,' declared Motor magazine, concluding that the DB6 was one of the finest sports cars it had tested.
The Tadek Marek-designed six-cylinder engine had been enlarged to 3,995cc for the preceding DB5 and remained unchanged. Power output on triple SU carburettors was 282bhp, rising to 325bhp in Vantage specification. Borg-Warner automatic transmission was offered alongside the standard ZF five-speed gearbox, and for the first time, there was optional power-assisted steering. The stylish Volante convertible offered four-seat accommodation and was generously appointed with leather upholstery, deep-pile carpets, aircraft-style instrument cluster and electrically operated hood. After 37 Volante convertibles had been completed on the DB5 short-wheelbase chassis, the model adopted the DB6 chassis in October 1966. A total of 1,575 DB6s was made between 1965 and 1970, plus 140 of the long-wheelbase Volantes.
This wonderful long-wheelbase DB6 Volante was registered by H R Owen to Mr I M Stoller of London, W1 in September 1968. Ordered in Platinum (White) with dark blue leather interior and a matching convertible hood, it left the factory equipped with Borg-Warner automatic transmission, power-assisted steering, chrome road wheels, power-operated aerial, three-ear hubcaps, and two lap safety belts.
It is believed Mr Stoller kept this DB6 Volante abroad for a number of years before the car was repatriated in 1979 by Mr Philip Hatulja, now under the registration 'GRA 679'. Mr Hatulja parted with the Volante after only two weeks, selling it to Mr Graham Wilkins of London, SW1. Mr Wilkins owned the Aston for a further seven years and re-sprayed it blue in 1980 before selling it to marque specialists R S Williams. In 1987, R S Williams sold the Volante, now registered 'YPF 865G', to Mr Giles Swarbeck, who owned it for a further seven years before passing it on in 1994 to Mr Mogens Skjelmose, a well-known competitor in historic motorsport. By 1999, the Aston was in the hands of Mr Richard Meins, who listed it for sale with Desmond J Smail in 2002. The car was bought by Mr Mark Ellis, who sold it on to Mr Timothy James Barker in 2008.
Mr Barker then embarked on a project to perfect and preserve the Volante, spending over £100,000 with the likes of Aston London Service, Marksdanes, and Bell Classics. The most notable improvement was an upgrade from the Borg-Warner automatic transmission to a ZF five-speed manual gearbox, supplied by Aston London Service in 2009 at a cost of £10,000. There are also invoices for new wire wheels, Pirelli P4000 tyres, new silencers, regular tuning, and a major overhaul in 2009 with a full bare-metal re-spray and attention to the fuel tanks, hood, hood frame, clutch, suspension, brakes, and brightwork. Stripped for the repaint, the interior was re-trimmed with new Wilton deep-pile blue carpets and minor works to the original leather upholstery.
In 2013, Bell Classics rebuilt the gearbox, replaced the clutch, and overhauled the carburettors. At some point, during Mr Barker's ownership, the engine seized and the cylinder block was replaced with one from a DBS Vantage (the original matching-numbers block comes with the car).
The history file is comprehensive, containing copies of older registration documents recording all previous owners; a copy of the original build sheet; past and current MoT certificates; and copies of invoices from specialists such as Desmond Smail and Ken Shergold among others.
The restoration has mellowed beautifully in the intervening years while the interior is original and has a delightful patina. This DB6 Volante is ready to be enjoyed during the summer months.
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