1969 Aston Martin DB6,
Lot 514
Formerly the property of John Stephen,1969 Aston Martin DB6 Saloon Chassis no. DB6/4003/R Engine no. 400/4068
Sold for £51,000 (US$ 64,575) inc. premium

Lot Details
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Formerly the property of John Stephen
1969 Aston Martin DB6 Saloon
Registration no. ALU 41H
Chassis no. DB6/4003/R
Engine no. 400/4068


  • Last-of-the-line models are always sought after by discerning collectors and few are more highly prized that the final flowering of the glorious 'David Brown' six-cylinder series, considered by many to the last of the 'real' Aston Martins. Culmination of this long-running line of 'DB' sports saloons, the DB6 was introduced in 1965. Recognisably related to the Touring-styled DB4 of 1958, the DB6 abandoned the Superleggera body structure of its predecessors in favour of a conventional steel fabrication. The wheelbase was now 4" longer than before, resulting in an extensive restyle 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,' revealed Motor magazine, concluding that the DB6 was one of the finest sports cars it had tested. 'The DB6 with its longer wheelbase and better headroom makes an Aston Martin available to the far wider four-seater market, and the design is in every way superior to the previous model. A purist might have though that the longer wheelbase would affect the near-perfect balance of the DB5, but if anything the DB6 is better.'
    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 manual gearbox, and for the first time there was optional power-assisted steering.
    This manual transmission-equipped Mk1 was first owned by the influential 1960s fashion designer, John Stephen. Popularly known as 'The King of Carnaby Street', Stephen transformed what had been an unknown thoroughfare behind Oxford Street into a centre of world fashion and the focal point of 'Swinging London'. A welder's apprentice from Glasgow, Stephen arrived in London in 1952 aged 18 and worked at men's outfitters Moss Bros before opening his first shop in Beak Street in 1957. By that time he already owned a Rolls-Royce and was reputedly the firm's youngest customer, sometimes being stopped by police asking why he was driving his father's car! Given Stephen's obvious taste for the very best motoring that money could buy, an Aston Martin was a natural enough addition to his stable of Rolls-Royces.
    The clothes John Stephen designed and sold were often flamboyantly camp, appealing to the theatrical and artistic communities as well as local Mods and Pop Music's new aristocracy. Stephen's first Carnaby Street outlet, 'His Clothes', opened in 1959 and within a few years there were at least half a dozen more. By the end of the Sixties decade there were branches in all the major cities of the Western world. Stephen's trademarks were hipster trousers, floral shirts, mini kilts for men, velvet double-breasted jackets, military-style overcoats, kaftans, etc, all of which would find their way into mainstream retailers on the British high street.
    As the Sixties became the Seventies, Carnaby Street's influence waned and, sensing the change of mood, Stephen moved into the wholesale market. In later life he returned to high street retailing with a chain called Francisco-M, selling French and Italian fashion, before retiring in 2002. John Stephen died of cancer in 2004 and his entire archive is now housed at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
    'ALU 41H' retains matching numbers and was acquired by the current vendor in 2006. The accompanying substantial history file bears witness to long-term careful ownership, there being bills contained therein for the period 1991 to 2002 totalling in excess of £34,000, many from recognised marque specialists. While in the vendor's care, the car has been maintained by Trinity Engineering of Cobham, Surrey. Recent work undertaken has included a major service in 2007 and another in 2009 that included overhauling the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes and electrics (see invoices totalling more than £10,500 on file). Finished in red with ivory leather upholstery and red carpets, 'ALU 41H' has covered a believed-genuine 30,117 miles from new and is described as in generally good condition. The car is offered with current MoT certificate and Swansea V5 registration document.

Saleroom notices

  • The work on the car in 2008 by Trinity Engineering included a service of the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes and electrics not an overhaul as catalogued. The bills for this work of over £10,000 can be viewed in the history file. We have also noted that that when warm the oil pressure seems to be rather low.
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