Lot 161

Arizona 2024

1965 Aston Martin DB Short-Chassis Volante


$1,400,000 - $1,800,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



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  • The first year of the celebrated Aston Martin Volante
  • An exclusive, coveted “interim” model; one of only 37 examples produced on the DB5’s shorter-wheelbase chassis
  • Beneficiary of a full concours restoration in the early 2000s; since covered just over 3,100 miles
  • Powered by an upgraded 4.2-liter engine with the cylinder head rebuilt to modern, lead-free standards; backed by a ZF five-speed manual gearbox
  • Originally a UK-market right-hand-drive example, subsequently converted to left-hand-drive
  • Finished in the stunning shade of Winchester Blue with a blue convertible top
  • Since restoration it has been part of three private collections and maintained by the marque experts at Steel Wings and Autosport Designs

Volante. Italian for “flying,” it is a word that means so much more to devotees of Aston Martin. Applied to open-topped variants of the marque’s grand tourers, it evokes carefree drives up sunny coasts and down winding back roads—and it is with the DB Short-Chassis Volante, a compelling example of which is offered here, that the enduring Volante legend began.

In 1965, as Aston Martin transitioned from production of the iconic DB5 to the refined DB6, it found itself with a surplus of DB5 chassis on hand. These had a shorter, 98-inch wheelbase, rather than the 101.5 inches underpinning the DB6, making them unsuitable for the new model. Instead, Aston Martin used them to create a special “interim” convertible that it dubbed the Volante. Combining the compact, sporting proportions of the DB5 with elements of the DB6’s refreshed style, including split front bumpers and DB6-type taillamps, these convertibles represented the best of old and new. Extreme exclusivity was also part of the mix, as only 37 were built.

According to copies of its build record, this Volante was ordered new by a Mr. John Jennings of Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, England. Clearly a man of distinguished taste, Jennings specified the Aston Martin in Pacific Blue over a Beige interior with a tan top. He selected for his car the optional Borg Warner automatic transmission, chrome wheels, twin Marchal fog lamps, a Motorola radio, and a power-operated antenna. Factory service records trace the car through 1967, after which it made its way to South Africa.

Near the turn of the Millennium, chassis number DBVC/2330/R was discovered in Cape Town, where it had reportedly been sitting, off the road, since the early 1970s. As pre-restoration photos on file show, this period of benign neglect in South Africa meant that the car was in tired, but very solid and complete, condition—making it an ideal candidate for restoration to the highest standards. A full, no-expense-spared overhaul of the car soon commenced and is documented with restoration photos and invoices on file.

A service note found in the accompanying build records indicates that, in December 1967, the car was fitted with a new engine numbered 400/2361 under warranty; this factory replacement engine is still present in the car today. Furthermore, during the course of the car’s restoration, the triple SU-carbureted inline-six was enlarged to 4.2 liters of displacement. Its cylinder head was also rebuilt to modern standards, making it compatible with modern, lead-free gasoline. The restoration likewise offered the opportunity to replace the car’s automatic transmission with a factory-correct ZF five-speed manual unit, as was available on the car in-period, and it was converted from its original right-hand drive to left-hand drive.

An equal level of care was applied to the Volante’s cosmetics. Winchester Blue, a lovely shade more subtle than the original Pacific Blue, was chosen for the exterior. This has been paired with a dark blue leather interior, and blue fabric was selected for the model’s signature convertible top. The cabin is balanced and focused, with little to distract from the wood-rimmed steering wheel, the Smiths gauges, and the expansive view of the road ahead. Just as when new, a Motorola radio is fitted for entertainment.

Since completion of its restoration, this Aston Martin has been driven just over 3,100 miles while residing in three private collections. In addition to its limited road use, it has enjoyed the care of marque experts Steel Wings and Autosport Designs, and thus still presents in superb, concours-quality condition today. Notably, the restored Volante was used in a photo shoot with Christie Brinkley—that this Aston Martin was deemed a suitable backdrop for the famous model and actress speaks volumes of its elegance and beauty.

The first to bear the legendary Volante name, the DB Short-Chassis Volante is also among the rarest of the Volantes—and indeed, one of the scarcest production Aston Martins—built to date. Exquisitely restored in stunning colors, and benefitting from a series of tasteful, driver-centered upgrades that make an already desirable car even more appealing, this 1965 DB Short-Wheelbase Volante is surely one of the finest of an already exclusive set.