Straight 6 Aston Martin DB6
Aston Martin DB6
Aesthetically, the DB5 – perhaps James Bond’s most iconic set of wheels – was a hard act to follow, and the DB6’s fashionable Kammback tail did not sit well with Aston’s more conservative customers.
But it did serve a practical purpose, with its built-in lip spoiler improving on the DB5’s less-than-perfect stability at high speed and giving the new car a more sporting appearance.
Aston had always been more keen on evolution than revolution, and the car launched in 1965 at the London Motor Show could clearly trace its lineage all the way back to the retrospectively named DB1.
As well as the Kamm-tail, other changes from the DB5 included a lengthened chassis leading to a longer wheelbase, split front and rear bumpers, and reshaped rear panels and side windows.
On the road, Autocar eulogised about the “exhilarating performance” from the DB6’s 4-litre straight six, producing 282bhp, a top speed of 150mph and 0-60mph in just 6.1 seconds.
The car offered “the maximum of luxury and refinement as well as the ultimate in road performance”, with the luxury interior little changed from the DB5. Power steering and air conditioning were optional extras, as was a Vantage engine tuned to deliver 325bhp.
The rich and famous were drawn to this most British of performance grand tourers, with owners including Paul McCartney, Peter Sellers, and Mick Jagger, joined by Prince Charles (his mother bought him one converted to run on bio-ethanol for his 21st birthday).
In 1966, the convertible Volante (Italian for “flying”) was born, the first of which used the DB5 chassis before switching to the longer platform.
Subtle changes, including flares on all four wheel arches, wider wheels, and optional fuel injection, arrived with 1969’s mark II, the pick of which is the highly collectible Vantage Volante. Only 29 were made.
The DB6 proved to be the last hurrah for Aston’s gloriously curvy traditional style, with the more angular and modern DBS taking its place (although the two models ran concurrently for three years).