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'I have driven most of the Aston Martin models that have been produced, from the racing twin-cam 1½-litre of the 1920s onwards. For years my favourite has been the DB3S sports-racer, but now my allegiance is wavering. There can be little doubt that the DB6 is the best Aston yet and it is a credit to British engineering.' - John Bolster, Autosport, 21st October 1966.
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 underlying Superleggera body structure of its predecessors in favour of a conventional steel fabrication while retaining the aluminium outer panels. Somewhat confusingly, 'Superleggera' badges continued to be applied for a time, presumably until stocks ran out. The wheelbase was now 4" (100mm) longer than before, resulting in an extensive re-style with more-raked windscreen, raised roofline and reshaped rear quarter windows. Opening front quarter lights made a reappearance but the major change was at the rear where a Kamm-style tail with spoiler improved the aerodynamics, greatly enhancing stability at high speeds. '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 ever 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.
Premiered at the 1965 London Motor Show, the convertible DB6 marked the first occasion the evocative 'Volante' name had been applied to a soft-top Aston Martin. After 37 Volante convertibles had been completed on the DB5 short-wheelbase (8' 2") chassis, the model adopted the longer DB6 chassis in October 1966. The stylish Volante offered four-seat accommodation and was generously appointed with leather upholstery, deep-pile carpets, aircraft-style instrument cluster, and an electrically operated hood.
In the summer of 1969 the Mark 2 DB6 was announced in saloon and convertible versions. Distinguishable by its flared wheelarches and DBS wheels, the DB6 Mark 2 came with power-assisted steering as standard and could be ordered with AE Brico electronic fuel injection. When DB6 production ceased in 1970, a total of 1,575 saloons had been made, plus 178 of the long-wheelbase Volante convertibles. With so few produced, the original short-chassis DB6 Volante is now considered one of the most collectible of all Aston Martins.
One of the 37 DB6 Volantes built on the short-wheelbase chassis of the DB5, this beautiful right-hand drive example was completed in March 1966 and delivered to H W Motors. It is the sixth short-chassis car built, the numbering sequence being '2301' to '2337'. The accompanying copy guarantee form reveals that '2306/R' left the factory equipped with the desirable ZF five-speed gearbox, and was originally finished in Platinum with black interior trim and matching Everflex hood. Chrome wheels, a Motorola radio, and a power-operated aerial are the only items of non-standard equipment listed. The Volante's first owner was 'Messrs Granville Restaurant' of Enfield, Middlesex and its original registration was '7 KC'.
The history file contains details of subsequent owners, commencing with Roland Duce Ltd of Market Overton, Rutland in 1979 (recorded as first owner by the DVLA). The next recorded owner was Godfrey Nelson Knowles of Ampfield, Kent (1985) followed by Mr A J Wilmot-Smith (1987). In August 1987, the Volante was acquired by William Loughran's private collection, and while there was serviced and maintained in house. It had been converted to automatic transmission when acquired but has since been returned to original specification.
Sold to private collector William Hemmings in July 2002, the Aston was reacquired by William Loughran in April 2009. The car subsequently received a full engine rebuild (in 2014) and was converted to 4.2-litre specification (using a new cylinder block) and unleaded compatibility. The engine rebuild was undertaken by marque specialists, Post Vintage, and cost nearly £50,000. Related bills are on file together with others including those for an interior re-trim by Autotrim of Huddersfield in 1990. Also on file are numerous old MoTs dating back as far as 1987 showing that the car (previously registered 'PVV 1') has covered fewer than 1,000 miles in 30 years!
In 2014, William Loughran sold '2306/R' to a Mr Riley, who kept the Aston for only one year before selling it back to him. William Loughran then sold the car to the current vendor in 2016. Included in the sale is the original cylinder block, and the car also comes with a reprint/copy DB6 Volante Instruction Book, current V5C document, and copies of old V5s. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
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