Aston Martin DB6 1965


Aston Martin DB6 1965


Aston Martin DB6 1965

  • Origin United Kingdom
  • Engine 3,995 cc, straight-six
  • Top speed 140 mph (225 km/h)

The body of this luxurious, heavy model was slightly more spacious than that of the DB5. The flick-up tail balanced the cowled-light front and improved aerodynamic stability. The roots of the DB6 can be found back in 1960 when Tadek Marek cut the platform chassis of a DB4 ahead of the heelboard and inserted a new 3.75 inch (92mm) section of metalwork with the intention of creating a car that would carry four rather than two adults.

This car entitled DP/200/1 and registered 4 YMC became a development workhorse for the DB5 replacement. However, the mid 1960's were a period of considerable upheaval for Aston Martin. The first changes were self imposed as the decision was made to finally close the Feltham factory and move everything under one roof at Newport Pagnell. Sadly, although in initial consultations a large proportion of the staff had indicated a willingness to move, in the end, many decided not to. For example, when the service department moved, of the 100 staff, 78 had agreed to make the move but, in the end, only 18 made it. After rejecting proposals from Touring of Milan, the decision was made to focus on 4 YMC, testing it in a wind tunnel for the first time in February 1965. That showed the need for work to counteract the test car's rear end lift. So the final development phases saw a DB5 chassis, suitably lengthened and titled MP219, with a rear spoiler and abbreviated Kamm tail that Aston Martin had previously incorporated in sports racers. The decision was made to progress MP 219 as the Aston Martin DB6 although its de Dion rear axle was replaced with a live axle on cost grounds.

So the new car had a wheelbase extended by 3.75 inches with the extra inserted just ahead of the rear wheel arches and this allowed the roofline to be raised by an inch, while a further two inches of headroom was gained by reworking the seat squabs. Reducing the length of the trailing arms on the rear suspension, gave more elbow room at the back. The seat shapes were changed to give greater shoulder and lumbar support while the dashboard changed only with the size and layout of individual dials. Externally, however, horizontally slatted grille beneath the number plate allowed better air flow to the oil cooler and visual symmetry of the new arrangement was maintained with a split bumper at the front that was mirrored at the rear of the car. Mechanically, the car was very similar to the Aston Martin DB5 with 3 SU carburettors fitted as standard. There were a number of items that a customer could specify at no extra cost - a Powr-Lok limited slip differential and chrome wire wheels.

An electric aerial was fitted as standard, although the radio, which would be a customer choice, was considered an extra and was charged accordingly. The Aston Martin DB6 was priced at £4,998, a substantial increase on the DB5, although the convertible, now named the Volante was priced the same as the coupe. By the end of production, 140 Volantes had been built - more than any other post war open top Aston Martin, however, the first 37 DB6 Volantes were actually built on the shorter DB5 wheelbase and were later identified as "the short wheelbase Volante".

Aston Martin had got the DB6 into production early and looked to increase production rates from the eleven cars a week that had been built in the DB5 era and by June 1966, production stood at an all time high of eighteen cars per week. But by mid 1967, Government economic measures had crippled the car industry and with the factory on a three day week, production fell to an uneconomic ten cars per week. So the wave of optimism on which the new longer wheelbase DB6 was launched at the 1965 Paris and London Motor Shows was soon dashed.