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Aston Martin DBS: buying guide and review (1967-1973)

Aston Martin DBS: buying guide and review (1967-1973) Classic and Performance Car
Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS The sleeping giant has awoken. The six-cylinder DBS, for so long undervalued in the Aston marketplace, is finally commanding the sort of interest – and the sort of prices – that it arguably should have done for years. When you contemplate an example as fabulous as this deliciously original 1971 Vantage, you can only wonder why it’s taken so long.

The DBS’s classic credentials are impeccable: it’s a 100 per cent thoroughbred Aston, from its hand-formed aluminium bodywork to its 4-litre Tadek Marek straight-six; it was handbuilt at Newport Pagnell by the same chaps who built DBs 4, 5 and 6; and it's as rare as any of them. There’s not quite unanimity about the exact number, but the total built was only around 800 in a production run that began in September 1967 and lasted until April 1972.

One thing the DBS didn’t do was replace the DB6, even if that was David Brown’s original intention; the two were produced in parallel until the last DB6 rolled out of the Works in January 1971. So think of the DBS as the smoother-riding, more spacious, more cosseting, grown-up alter ego to the DB6. It certainly had more than one eye on the American market, with its wider track, muscle-car stance and the options of power steering, air-conditioning and an automatic gearbox. But to view it as a boulevard cruiser is to sell it very short.

Under the skin, DBS and DB6 are extremely closely related, though you’d never guess at a glance. Englishman William Towns’ design was starkly different to the Touring-bodied DBs. In fact, visually, the only things carried over were the signature air vents in the front wings, while the front aspect included a modern take on what had become the traditional Aston grille, much shallower and squarer-edged than before and further distinguished by four, equal-sized quartz-halogen headlamps.

It was never any secret that the DBS was intended to be powered by an all-new V8. Tadek Marek had been working on one since as early as 1963, and it had been testing extensively since 1966, but – not to put too fine a point on it – the damn thing kept breaking, so a late decision was made to launch with the DB6’s straight-six.

Which one to buy?

The DBS was universally well received. No carping about the absence of the new V8 engine. There was a gentle dig or two about the car’s weight, which rather blunted the performance, but lots of praise for the styling, the level of comfort in the luxurious interior, and in particular the handling.

To offset the weight handicap, there was a Vantage version available right from launch. This had three twin-choke 45DCOE Weber carburettors instead of the standard engine’s three SUs, slightly reprofiled cams and a higher 9.4:1 compression ratio. The outputs generally quoted are 282bhp for the standard engine and 325bhp for the Vantage, though these figures are probably wishful thinking.

Extraordinary to relate today, in an age when manufacturers invariably charge a substantial premium for such things, the Vantage engine was a no-extra-cost option (although anyone who selected it certainly paid at the fuel pumps; Motor recorded just 10.9mpg with the press car, which also consumed a pint of oil every 100 miles!). Power steering, conversely, was a £133 extra – another sign of the times, when such assistance was still viewed with suspicion by many drivers of a sporting persuasion.

Even in Vantage spec, performance was brisk rather than explosive, Autocar recording 0-60mph in 7.1sec on the way to an averaged top speed of 141.5mph. Of course, these days if your pockets are deep enough you get someone like RS Williams to take the capacity out to 4.7 litres, which will give a genuine 330bhp, and then things get properly interesting. Especially when you keep in mind that the six-cylinder engine, being usefully lighter than the V8, gives the DBS an ideal 50/50 front/rear weight distribution.

Performance and spec

Engine 3995cc, in-line six-cylinder
Power 325bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 290lb ft @ 4500rpm
Top speed 142mph
0-60mph 7.1secs
Fuel consumption 12.6mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2611mm
Length 4585mm
Width 1829mm
Height 1328mm
Weight 1588kg

Common problems

• Budget around £1500 a year on general upkeep, which should cover most eventualities.

• Aston specified oil changes every 2500 miles (and the front suspension and steering to be greased at the same time), though with modern lubricants the interval can be stretched to 5000. For most owners that’s more than they’re likely to do in a year, so an annual service is the norm.

• Aston Works charges £1600 (including VAT) for a 5000-mile service, and £2500 for the 10,000-miler, which includes all lubricants, fluids and filters, and an engine tune.

• If it’s had any major restoration work, check that a reputable specialist has done it.

• Corrosion is the biggest enemy. Don’t be fooled into thinking the aluminium body panels are immune – they’re not, especially where the aluminium skin is clenched around the steel understructure: the bottom of the A-pillars, and the wing and door edges, for example.

• The most critical area, though, is the sills – because they’re structural and prone to rot. Total replacement can cost £20,000. Fortunately they’re easy to examine by removing the stainless steel covers.

• If the DBS has got an Achilles’ heel it’s that it’s big and heavy, which tends to wear things like wheel bearings, suspension parts and brakes, though with most doing limited mileages that’s not such a problem today.

• The ZF manual gearbox can be recalcitrant from cold, particularly going into second gear, so don’t be too alarmed if it feels difficult when you set out on a test drive.

• Do worry if it doesn’t get easier when it’s warm, and listen for whines from both the gearbox and the back axle.

• The Armstrong Selectaride dampers at the rear can be prone to failure, so listen for clonking over bumps.

• If the inboard rear brakes have been recently refurbished that’s a big tick. Despite an access panel behind the seats, they’re a pig to get to, which bumps up labour charges.

• Make sure all the trim is present and correct, and the same goes for the internal fittings and dashboard. Spares like window switches are next to impossible to source these days.

Model history

September 1967: Series 1 DBS initially launched, alongside the DB6. Vantage-spec offered as a no-cost option.
1969: Tadek Marek’s V8 engine is slotted into the DBS, to create the DBS-V8
1970: Series 2 cars introduced, featuring many of the subtle changes seen on the V8, such as deeper chrome sill covers and the deletion of the vent in the c-post.
April 1972: Production of the DBS ends.

Key websites and clubs

• www.astonmartinworks.com - Aston Martin’s official heritage and restoration workshop
• www.amoc.org - Aston Martin Owners Club website and forum

Summary and prices

Prices are on the move, and have been for some time. A couple of years ago, £50,000 was top money. Twelve months ago, the best were fetching up to £70k. Today, that same amount would buy only an average car and the finest examples are well into six figures. Speak to some specialists, and sums as high as £150,000 are being mentioned.

Words: Peter Tomalin // Images: Matthew Howell
Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS Aston Martin DBS
Last updated: 7th Oct 2015
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Aston Martin DBS cars for sale

19 Search results
Aston Martin DBS
71300 149500 GBP
  • Aston Martin DBS Coupe Touchtronic Carbon Black Edition

    £113,995 £113,995

    Registered 2011 Mileage 15,240 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Automatic Fuel Type Petrol Fuel Consumption 18.2 mpg Registered 2011 Registration KX11RYB Previous Owners 1 Fuel Consumption 18.2 mpg Tax Band M Tax Cost £515 Colour Black Interior Trim N/A Exterior Colour AML Carbon Black Doors 2 Fuel Type Petrol Bodystyle Coupe Mileage 15,240 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Automatic MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing and intended for comparisons between vehicles. They are unlikely to represent real world efficiency. Left Right Tailor Your Finance Vehicle Features Warranty Technical Spec Tailor Your Finance Vehicle Features Fitted Options 1000W B&O BeoSound Audio System Adaptive Damping System (ADS) Cruise Control Alarm & Immobiliser Alarm Upgrade Volumetric & Tilt Sensors Carbon Ceramic Brakes Carbon Fibre Splitter and Diffuser Aston Martin 12 Month Warranty Aston Martin Service History Magnum Meshes Brake Calipers Black Integrated Apple i-Pod Connector Xenon Headlamps Bright Finish Front Grille Powerfold Mirrors Climate Control Facia Trim - Piano Black Clear Rear Lamps Tyre Pressure Monitoring Power Wash Headlamps Contrast Stitching Dynamic Stability Control (D

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 15240 mi
    For sale
    HWM Aston Martin
    01932 506947 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Aston Martin Dbs pre-1970 DBS1969

    £71,300 £71,300

    Aston Martin DBS V6 Coupe automatic RHD with H approval!Right-hand drive with air conditioning and automatic transmissionThis item is from the first series of DBS production and symbolizes the tight and simple design of these early cars.This DBS is one of a total of only 787 built vehicles.The vehicle is basically in a condition, but should be restored!The engine starts immediately and runs well. The transmission shifts well and has only recently been revised. The rims are also in good condition. The interior is adapted to the age and should be made new.

    • Mileage: 160911 mi
    • Engine size: 3995
    For sale
  • ASTON MARTIN DBS CONVERTIBLE

    €125,000(£108,337.50) €125,000(£108,337.50)

    AN EXTREMELY RARE AND UNIQUE CONVERTIBLE VERSION Brand Aston Martin Type DBS Color Silver Interior Brown Year of build 1969 Price € 125.000,- 1969 ASTON MARTIN DBS CONVERTIBLE Matching number example Extremely rare and unique convertible version Desirable early model with the venerable in-line 6 cylinder engine and automatic transmission A full four seater classic convertible In 1966, Touring of Milan had been commissioned to design the DB6 replacement and two striking prototypes had been produced before the design house went out of business. William Towns was hastily brought in to design the new car, which was unveiled at Blenheim Palace in September 1967. The car was initially only intended for limited production. In its original guise the DBS retained the six-cylinder, 3,995 cc engine, available in Standard or Vantage form as used in the DB6. The original plan had been to use an all new V8 engine, but this was not ready in time. The clean, modern lines of the new DBS found favor with many owners who required more interior space, and the car was a full four seater. The adoption of a De Dion rear axle was a departure from previous models and the striking grille design was still un

    • Year: 1969
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DBS 6

    £79,950 £79,950

    Whilst by no means concourse, this classic Aston Martin would make an ideal 'personal' restoration project. A very original 1969 Aston Martin DBS 6 Automatic finished in green metallic with contrasting cream interior and bespoke walnut dash and door cappings. Exported to America in 2002 by the then owner and later sold the car was repatriated to the UK by the Aston Workshop. Replica of the DBS used in the James Bond movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (1969) Handwritten text in the glove box "007, OHMSS" and a signature that appears to be George Lazenby's. These extremely quick sports cars were the envy of the world when they appeared on the scene and once again, this is repeated today as these models are highly sought after and collectable. We have completed our standard health check, and would be happy to share our findings with any interested parties. An ideal opportunity to achieve a step into Aston ownership. For more information, please contact a member of our sales team: +44 (0)1207 233 525 Photographs Media Additional Details Enhancements available Convert to R Hand or L Hand drive Fit Auto or Manual gearbox Fit Sat Nav Tweet Services Aston Car Sales Body Centre Enhance

    • Year: 1969
    For sale
  • Aston martin Dbs

    £100,000 £100,000

    Bang & Olufsen, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Paddle Shift, Heated Seats, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Powered Folding Mirrors, Front Centre Armrest, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Electric Seats, Memory Seats, Auto Lighting, Sports Seats, MP3 Player, CD Player, Air Bag, ABS, Radio, Alarm, Stereo, Immobiliser, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Multiple Airbags, Side Air Bags, Twin Air Bags, Electric Mirrors, Colour Coded Body, Remote Alarm, Height Adjustable Seat, Electric Windows, 20'' Alloys Click on this car for full specification. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, Service history, Log book and the HPI certificate on our web site. For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars

    • Mileage: 19990 mi
    • Engine size: 5935
    For sale
  • ASTON MARTIN DBS V8 LHD 1971

    POA POA

    Full Description The Aston Martin DBS was finally fitted with Tadek Marek's V8 in April 1970, launching the DBSV8. Still featuring the DBS front end styling of four 5.5" diameter headlamps within a full width radiator grille, the DBSV8 was considered a two-door 2+2 coupe, with steel platform chassis and handcrafted aluminum alloy bodywork. At that time the car was considered to be the fastest production car in the world, with a total of 402 being built. (April 1970 - May 1972) Of these approx. 90 were left hand drive and of them only 32 came to the USA. The DBSV8 had multiple improvements over its six-cylinder predecessor including ventilated front and rear brake discs, (the first Aston Martin to have them), special GKN/Kent light alloy wheels and full length front spoiler/air dam. This particular car is an original left hand drive (LHD) car and is one of the few exported to North America. Originally sold to David Dunlop of Toronto, Canada. The car then ended up in the caring hands of Cameron Hastings. He had the car completely restored and rebuilt by The Cheshire Motor Car Company between 1999/2001. The car has been driven sparingly since restoration (less than 10,000 miles). Unde

    • Year: 1971
    • Mileage: 70905 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DBS Volante

    POA POA

    Engine Size 5.9l Mileage 26,000 miles Previous Owners 2 Bodystyle Convertible Seats 4 Transmission Automatic Exterior Colour Lightning Silver Interior Trim Obsidian Black The 2009 Geneva Auto Salon saw the introduction of the DBS Volante to complement the Coupe variant at the pinnacle of the Aston Martin range. The Volante featured a substantially stiffer version of the bonded aluminium VH chassis to produce the ultimate in convertible Grand Tourers. Fitted with the 2+2 seating configuration as standard, the car also featured carbon fibre front wings, bonnet and bootlid, as well as carbon ceramic matrix brakes (CCM), 2 stage adaptive damping system (ADS) and the powerful 1000W Bang & Olufsen Beosound audio system with Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround Sound. This particular example is finished in Lightning Silver (one of the 3 special DBS colours) with Obsidian Black leather and Coarse Silver stitching. Piano Black facia veneer finishes off the contemporary look to the interior. Satellite navigation, Bluetooth, memory seats, i-Pod/mp3 connectivity, cruise control, HID headlights and powerfold door mirrors complete a comprehensive specification as standard, with this car also adding the 1

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 26000 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DBS Volante

    £104,950 £104,950

    Variant name:V12 VOLANTE , The 2009 Geneva Auto Salon saw the introduction of the DBS Volante to complement the Coupe variant at the pinnacle of the Aston Martin range. The Volante featured a substantially stiffer version of the bonded aluminium VH chassis to produce the ultimate in convertible Grand Tourers. Fitted with the 2+2 seating configuration as standard, the car also featured carbon fibre front wings, bonnet and bootlid, as well as carbon ceramic matrix brakes (CCM), 2 stage adaptive damping system (ADS) and the powerful 1000W Bang & Olufsen Beosound audio system with Dolby Pro-Logic II Surround Sound. This particular example is finished in Lightning Silver (one of the 3 special DBS colours) with Obsidian Black leather and Coarse Silver stitching. Piano Black facia veneer finishes off the contemporary look to the interior. Satellite navigation, Bluetooth, memory seats, i-Pod/mp3 connectivity, cruise control, HID headlights and powerfold door mirrors complete a comprehensive specification as standard, with this car also adding the 10 spoke, Diamond Turned alloy wheels into the mix. Just one of 852 Volantes produced for the world, this car comes with a full service history and unquestionable provenance throughout its 26,000 miles. Supplied with our usual standard of preparation with 12 months warranty, this car needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 26000 mi
    • Engine size: 5.9
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DBS V12 2+2 Auto

    £113,995 £113,995

    Registered 2011 Mileage 14,180 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Automatic Fuel Type Petrol Fuel Consumption 18.2 mpg Registered 2011 Registration LJ11OKU Previous Owners 1 Fuel Consumption 18.2 mpg Tax Band M Tax Cost £515 Colour White Interior Trim N/A Exterior Colour Morning Frost White Doors 2 Fuel Type Petrol Bodystyle Coupe Mileage 14,180 miles Engine Size 5.9l Transmission Automatic MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing and intended for comparisons between vehicles. They are unlikely to represent real world efficiency. Left Right Tailor Your Finance Vehicle Features Warranty Technical Spec Tailor Your Finance Vehicle Features Fitted Options Satellite Navigation System Heated Front Seats Cruise Control 6 CD Autochanger Alarm and Immobiliser Xenon Headlamps Facia Trim - Piano Black Auto Dimming Interior Rear View Mirror Climate Control Power Wash Headlamps Tyre Pressure Monitoring 1000W B&O BeoSound Audio System Powerfold Mirrors Brake Calipers Black Bright Finish Grille Carbon Ceramic Brakes Carbon Fibre Splitter and Diffuser Clear Rear Lamps Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 14180 mi
    For sale
  • 1969 Aston Martin DBS Vantage Spec

    $149,500(£119,450.50) $149,500(£119,450.50)

    1969 Aston Martin DBS Vantage Spec This 1969 DBS wears vantage badging and has had the weber carburetors installed some time ago but is not a factory vantage. Chassis DBS/5274/LAC has an interesting story. Martin Gant, of Gant Shirtmakers, ordered it new when he resided in Woodbridge CT in the late 1960s. The Gant family business was headquartered in nearby New Haven. Gant was 48 when he took delivery of DBS 5274. It was imported and sold to him by Aston consignee GT Motorcar Corporation of South Norwalk, CT. Gants order was for the same colour as the Bond car, Olive Green, but with a more elegant Natural Connolly leather interior instead of black. One of just 181 left-hand drive DBS, chassis 5274 was fitted with the best options available at the time, including: manual 5 speed ZF transmission, air conditioning, power assisted steering, a Bosch New Yorker radio, Fiamm horns, lap belts, contrasting blue detachable headrests and the innovative WASO steering lock system to deter would-be thieves. We do not know when Gant sold 5274, but we do know it ended up in Montreal where it was driven little, then put away in storage for the past 15 years. The now British Racing Green exterior sh

    • Year: 1969
    • Mileage: 58761 mi
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DBS Touchtronic II Carbon black

    POA POA

    Features : 1st Main, Origin Auto Performance, book a day ... Comment : Series Carbon Black, Bang & Olufsen stereo system, Reversing camera, iPod, Bluetooth, High Security Alarm, electrochromic rearview mirror, Piano Black, 2 +2, Piano Black Finish, finish Grid magnum, Coyote, Luggage sets ivory leather Aston Martin ...

    • Year: 2009
    • Mileage: 1057 mi
    For sale
  • 2011 Aston Martin DBS

    POA POA

    2011 Aston Martin DBS 16400 miles, Meteorite Silver with Obsidian Black hide. Full Aston Martin Service History. Absolutely superb. Bluetooth Connectivity, Satellite Navigation, Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror, 2 Plus 2 Seating Arrangement, Sport Seats, Piano Black Facia, Leather, Central Locking, CD Player, Air Bags, Climate Controlled AC, Bang & Olufsen DBS Sound System, 20" Alloy Wheels, Parking Distance Control - Front and Rear, Cruise Control, Power-fold Door Mirrors, Electric Operated Door Mirrors, Multi Functional Steering Wheel, Remote Central Locking, Trip Computer with Message Centre, Xenon Headlights, Electric Seats with Memory, Full Aston Martin Service History, Carbon Fibre Splitter, Carbon Fibre Diffuser, DSC-Dynamic Stability Control, Traction control, Paddle shift £99500.00 Sold MAKE ENQUIRY First Name Surname Email Telephone Contact Address Company Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Address 4 Postcode Image Gallery prev next

    • Year: 2011
    For sale
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