1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante Short Chassis Convertible
Registration no. MPG 881D
Chassis no. DBVC/2322/R
Engine no. 400/2795/V
As production of the new DB6 got underway towards the end of 1965, an initial batch of 37 convertible models, newly dubbed Volante, was commenced on the shorter chassis of the outgoing DB5. It had been thought that just two of these relatively rare short chassis Volantes were built with the more powerful Vantage engine, but recent research by Aston Martin Heritage Trust Registrar Neil Murray has revealed that three were completed: 2307, 2320 and 2322. 2320 was known to exist in North London in 1989, when it belonged to Mr Roberts, a surgeon. At that time the car was in a seriously corroded condition and in all probability has since been scrapped. If it is indeed the case that only two examples of the short chassis Vantage Volante survive, it makes 2322, the car offered here, one of the rarest of all limited production Aston Martin road cars.
DBVC/2322/R was purchased in France in 1998 by Charles Prince, of Paradise Motors, Clapham, South London acting for Ernest Smith, a Guernsey-based businessman. It was then transported to Mr Smiths home in Guernsey and locally registered 15472 before being moved to Post Vintage Engineers Ltd, of Poole, Wharfedale for restoration by Adrian Johnson. The quote for restoration to original specification and standard was £52,500, VAT not being applicable because of the Mr Smiths Channel Islands residency. Work commenced early in 2000 and was completed in the summer of 2001. Sadly, within a few weeks of the projects completion Ernest Smith had died.
The vendor, its next owner, subsequently visited Adrian Johnson to ascertain the nature and extent of the renovation carried out for Ernest Smith, which is recorded in great detail in the cars history file. Sensible upgrades included rebuilding the original engine 400/2795/V to 4.2 litres capacity using Cosworth pistons, and converting it to unleaded compatibility.
Since acquiring DBVC/2322/R, the vendor and his wife have traveled extensively throughout Europe in the car, visiting France, Alsace, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and the Pyrenees. During that time it has never failed, maintaining good oil pressure, low oil consumption and good coolant temperature at all times.
Problems encountered during shakedown and subsequently addressed include swapping the wheels and their modern low-profile Pirelli tyres for a new set shod with more appropriate Avon 205/HR15s. Uneven carburetion was cured by sending the triple Webers to recognised specialist Norman Seeney for a complete rebuild. The noisy ZF gearbox proved more of a challenge. On inspection the internals, the noise was found to emanate from considerable play between the pinions on the main and lay shafts. It was decided to fit a modern alternative that possessed ratios closely matching the ZFs, so that it would be indistnguishable from the original. Toyota was identified as the ideal donor, and a new bell housing and ancillaries to mate the box to the block were sourced from a specialist supplier, Conversion Components Ltd, of Waihi, New Zealand. To complete the job the back axle was rebuilt and the final drive ratio changed to 3.54:1, an original option, giving higher overall gearing more suitable for long distance touring. The work was undertaken and completed to a very high standard by CMC at Bridgenorth. The original ZF box, bell housing, prop shaft, etc have all been retained for future use if required.
In addition to routine servicing, etc, a Kenlowe fan has been fitted, the rev counter refurbished, the window lifts replaced with more efficient modern units, the two oval exhaust boxes replaced and the seat belts converted to inertia reel. Finished in Californian Sage Green with parchment leather interior, the car is presented in excellent condition in every respect and offered with a most substantial and informative history file containing correspondence with Paradise Garage and AML historian the late Roger Stowers, numerous restoration invoices and photographs, ownership details and old Guernsey logbook. The vehicle is MoTd and taxed until December 2005 and possesses a Swansea V5 registration document.