1967 Aston Martin DB6 Volante
$850,000 - $1,100,000
Est. 282 hp, 4.0-liter dual overhead cam inline six-cylinder engine with three SU carburetors, five-speed ZF manual gearbox, four-wheel disc brakes, and ZF power rack and pinion steering. Wheelbase: 102"
• One of only 140 Volante (convertible) DB6s built
• Ground up restoration by Kevin Kay
• Professional conversion to left-hand drive
The image of the quintessential British GT is exemplified no more fittingly than with the Aston Martin DB series of grand touring sports cars, especially in glamorous convertible form.
Production of the new Aston Martin DB6 was heralded by a display at the London Motor Show in October 1965, with its open top version debuting in 1966. Starting with the ‘interim model’ DB5-based Short Chassis Volante, and the introduction of the DB6, these and all subsequent convertibles have been designated ‘Volante,’ a nomenclature carried forward to the current models identifying Aston Martin open cars.
An evolution of the iconic DB5 (made world famous by a certain British spy), the new Volante used the same extended wheelbase of the DB6 coupe on a strengthened chassis. This 3.75-inch stretch, created for the first time in a postwar Aston, had real, usable room in the back for two adults. The rear section was treated to a substantial redesign, now with an abruptly flat ‘Kamm-tail,’ along with a smart, integrated spoiler lip. The first Aston Martin to be designed with the influence of wind tunnel testing, the effect was pleasingly modern on an otherwise aging platform.
The DB6 Volante carried on with the race-proven all-alloy, twin-cam straight six powerplant, in its ultimate 4.0-liter form (rated 282 bhp at 5500 rpm), and fed by triple SU carburetors, as with the DB5. Transmission was via the ubiquitous ZF five-speed manual gearbox that was fitted to Astons part way into DB5 production. With its fifth leg, this improvement greatly enhanced the comfortable highway driving experience over the prior David Brown supplied four-speed box. (A Borg-Warner automatic transmission option was also available.) Rack and pinion steering and dual-system Girling disc brakes on all corners complete the outstanding mechanical specification.
The aluminum alloy body work of the DB6, and later DB6 Mk II models, became the last of the Aston Martins constructed using the patented Touring of Milan ‘Superleggera’ process of wrapping the exterior panels around an open lattice of small-diameter steel tubing, resulting in a structure that is exceptionally rigid as well as lightweight.
The DB6 heralded numerous other refinements to the DB4/5 concept. First, it is visually differentiated by its unified front valance grille for the oil cooler and accentuated by lighter appearing quarter bumpers in the front and back. The taillight treatment was modified significantly to complement the new rear section, which, in the case of the convertible, is set off by the use of the ‘Volante’ logotype applied to the bootlid. Power steering was available for the first time as an option with the introduction of the DB6, and for the DB6 Volante, a power-operated top mechanism was supplied for the first time.
The Volante interior also reflected the DB6 restyle, with V-pattern stitching on Connolly leather in place of its predecessor’s pleats. Plush Wilton carpets were supplied, as per usual practice. The lined convertible top is made of Everflex, a high quality and pebble-grain vinyl also used by Rolls-Royce.
The car presented here, DBVC/3635/R is one of only 140 DB6 Volantes produced. Little is known about its early history, except that it was found in Canada after having spent time in Germany and has been determined by marque specialists at Kevin Kay Restorations to be a “good bones” basis for restoration for an exacting collector.
Excellent direction with good taste was provided by the collector/owner, who is now reluctantly offering the Volante for sale. A striking, period-appropriate color scheme was chosen for the final product: Black Pearl with red interior and black convertible roof, which should be high on anybody’s list of sophisticated presentation, and it is suitable now as much as it was in the day.
The result of this ground-up, nut-and-bolt restoration, completed in August 2010, reflects concours levels of detail in all respects. The engine block is believed to be of factory replacement origin, and the original gearbox has been replaced with a popular Aston Martin upgrade to a Tremec T5, using the well-integrated kit developed by Steel Wings. Indistinguishable from inside the car, it represents a vast improvement in driving dynamics over any period unit. All remaining mechanical systems were addressed. And finally, another modern update was installed: electronic power steering by GTC Engineering in the UK. This beneficial setup functions from within the steering column, with a single knob controlling the desired level of assist, and is completely transparent in both the interior and engine bay.
Virtually all components are finished to rigorous show standards. Benefitting from meticulous maintenance, the car drives and handles superbly today, with few road miles, except for enjoyable family outings, which is very possible in an open DB6 with room for four. A full complement of extras is included with the car: period-correct Blaupunkt multi-band radio, restored jack with new copper hammer, a fresh and complete tool roll, and a factory-supplied DB6 instruction book, along with copies of the restoration invoices and progress photographs.
There are few cars from the 1960s with as much visual panache, polished performance, and exclusivity as an Aston Martin Volante. Britain’s Prince Charles was given a DB6 Mk II Volante by his mother on the occasion of his 21st birthday, in 1969. It was this car that made the global headlines and newspaper front pages when his son Prince William married Kate Middleton, and the newly minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were extensively photographed departing Buckingham Palace in dad’s car, the DB6 Volante, with the number plate cheekily proclaiming “JU5T WED.” Perhaps there’s no more stylish way of arriving, or leaving!