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Aston Martin DBS

Aston Martin DBS Published: 5th Mar 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Aston Martin DBS
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The trouble with making an icon is that they are hard acts to follow – ask Jaguar! Aston suffered in a similar fashion when the DBS was introduced and without the ‘Bond effect’ always lived in the shadows of earlier DBs and could be bought for a comparative pittance up until 10-15 years ago. As with any Aston, all that’s history as values have been dragged along by soaring DB5/6 values and yet the DBS is still the cheapest DB. More importantly, it’s also a fine GT featuring many qualities found lacking in the earlier cars, such as a very good rear suspension and increased cabin room.

Driving

DBS was often slated for being bulkier and heavier than past DBs but, with the wider track and a lengthened wheelbase over the DB6, it’s much more planted on the road, that very sophisticated De Dion suspension contributing here. That weight and bulk (six foot wide, remember) means that the DBS doesn’t like to be hustled along tight lanes as you would in a GTi, but that rear end ensures that it is much more secure than earlier DBs. Automatics are more plentiful than manuals. On the one hand they side-step a lorry-like clutch action. However, they sap performance, especially so on the six-cylinder version which is the least liked as a consequence because of its most un Aston-like sluggish nature.

Values

Prices of DBSs trail those of post 1973 AM V8s by a fair old margin but you are still looking at £100K for a decent car which is by no means flawless – you need double this. Surprisingly, while the V8 is the most wanted, it doesn’t correspond to a huge gap in their values – unless it’s a DBS6 auto. What is becoming notable is that original quad headlamp DBSs are consistently chipping away at the price gap to the later AM cars.

Timeline

1967 DBS6 arrived that September. Sleeker and roomier than the DB6, which donated the base chassis, DBS benefited from a De Dion rear suspension that was first used on the Lagonda Rapide saloon. The 3995cc came with 285bhp, Vantage-spec car offering a much swifter 325bhp care of cams and Weber carburettors

1969 Long awaited 5340cc V8 finally surfaces with 345bhp even if the Bosch fuel injection proves far too tetchy. Looks like a DBS6 apart from power bulge and alloy, rather than wire wheels

1972 With the departure of David Brown, the DB moniker was dropped; six-cylinder model simply called Vantage and has new single headlight frontal look

1973 A month after the Vantage’s demise, the Series 3 V8 hit the streets. Identified by its bigger bonnet scoop to cover a quartet of twin-choke Weber 42DCNFs carbs that replaced the earlier FI

Best models

DBS6


Shunned when the V8 surfaced but there’s renewed interest. Normal tune models better for town work, try the slated auto, you may like it

Vantage


A real rarity as just 70 were made, in Vantage tune naturally. Not unknown for tired ‘six’ to be swapped with Jag XK unit for cost reasons but hurts values

V8


Original V8s were not only troublesome but lacked low speed grunt although Bosch system is now reliable and originality adds to the car’s values

Top five faults

Restos


Most have been restored. Rebuild standards vary so find out who did the work

Body


Not Superleggera, panels are aluminium over a steel frame, so watch for a reaction between metals. Other rot spots include base of windscreen, floors, doors and wings

Rust


Sills are a major concern. Remove trims to inspect fully as it can lead to rusting A/B posts, jacking points and so on. Floors can rot badly, so check, along with the massive box sections

Engine


All cost huge amounts to recondition; £5-7000 for a partial fix and perhaps £20k for a no expense spared rebuild. On ‘six’ look for 100lb oil pressure, leaks and overheating, together with blown head gaskets and rusted blocks. This engine relies upon replaceable cylinder liners but these often fail

V8

Look for 60lb oil pressure. Poor performance, low compressions point to piston ring or value guide wear. Timing chains become noisy and ideally require replacing every 75,000 miles. Tensioning is critical so only experts should do it



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