1971 Aston Martin DBS Vantage Saloon Registration no. EPJ 7J Chassis no. DBS/5756/RC Engine no. 400/4838/SVC
Although always intended to house the new Tadek Marek-designed V8 engine, the Aston Martin DBS first appeared with the 4.0-litre 'six' of the concurrently produced DB6. Styled in-house by Bill Towns, the beautiful DBS caused quite a stir, Autocar magazine observing that: 'Without the aid of an Italian stylist the Newport Pagnell team came up with something as modern, handsome and Italianate as anything from the Turin coachbuilders at that time.' Although less well known as such than the earlier 'DB' series, the DBS is yet another 'James Bond' Aston Martin, having featured in the 1969 motion picture, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, starring George Lazenby as the eponymous secret agent. Beneath its shapely exterior the DBS employed a platform-type chassis with independent suspension all round: wishbone and coil-spring at the front, De Dion with Watts linkage at the rear. Larger and more luxuriously appointed than the DB6, the heavier DBS disappointed some by virtue of its slightly reduced performance, but the Vantage version's top speed of 140mph and a standing quarter-mile time of 16.3 seconds were highly respectable figures nonetheless. Assessing the virtues of Aston's new flagship, Autocar judged it superior to the DB6 in many areas, the bigger DBS offering four full-sized seats in addition to transformed handling and roadholding courtesy of the new rear suspension and standardised power steering. 'Turning to matters other than performance, we really were most tremendously impressed by the DBS,' enthused Car magazine. 'The interior, especially merits praise not only for its uniquely satisfying aesthetics and superb finish (way, way ahead of any Italian rival in this respect) but also for the thought that has gone into the ergonomics of its layout.' The early, six-cylinder DBS is a relatively rare car; only 790 were made (plus 70 AM Vantages) compared with 1,567 DB6 saloons. We are advised that this Vantage-specification model benefits from an engine top-end rebuild and was re-sprayed in its original colour in 2004. Six years on, it would be fair to say that the paintwork needs further attention, as does the original interior, which shows some signs of rodent damage, while the car as a whole would benefit from general tidying and detailing. Sold strictly as viewed, 'EPJ 7J' comes complete with spare wheel, jack and tool kit and is offered with MoT to August 2010 and Swansea V5. We are advised that the original radio is currently undergoing repair.