A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
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.' A full four-seater, 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. Bigger and more luxuriously appointed than the DB6, the heavier DBS disappointed some by virtue of its slightly reduced performance, but there were no complaints when the V8 arrived on the 27th September 1969. With an estimated 345bhp available from its 5,340cc, fuel-injected, four-cam motor, the DBS V8 could reach 100mph in under 14 seconds, running on to a top speed of 160mph - a staggering performance in those days and one which fully justified the claim that it was the fastest production car in the world. Even with automatic transmission like this example here, the V8 could reach 100mph in around 15 seconds and better 145mph flat-out. Apart from the change of engine, notable visual differences were the specially designed 15’’ GKN light alloy wheels (as opposed to the distinctive wire wheels employed on the DBS), with ventilated brake discs for the first time on an Aston Martin production car. A Chrysler Torqueflite auto transmission was offered as an alternative to the ZF manual 5-speed unit. In common with the 6-cylinder DBS, the DBSV8 was produced until May 1972, after which the car adopted the later single headlamp front end and new owners, Company Developments Ltd, renamed the car AM V8. According to the Aston Martin Heritage Trust Certificate, YON 770J was finished in Dubonnet Rosso with Natural leather and Fawn carpets and despatched from the factory on 18th March 1971 to Plough Motors before being first registered a week later to Malcolm Freedman on behalf of The Green Shield Stamp Company in Edgeware. A few years later they sold the car to a Norman Horwood of Edgbaston who became the next keeper on 5th December 1974. It was from Edgbaston that the car's next owner, Derek Grubb was to buy the DBS on 20/08/1981 and was to remain its proud custodian for the next 33 years. Derek's love affair with his Aston was to continue for over three decades and within the very neat history file (amongst decades of invoices and MOTs) there is a poignant story of the times they spent together. He was a licensed aircraft engineer and was often away for months at a time, however, his Hereford based father used to exercise the car occasionally and make sure it was always MOT'd. Within the file are invoices for work carried out over the years amounting to over £40,000, far too many to list here. Derek has also put together a spreadsheet detailing everything that was done to the car over his 33-year tenure including the fact that in 1990 he felt that YON was looking a little tired so instructed Phoenix Car Restorations near Hereford to take the car back to bare metal and repaint it in its original Dubonnet Rosso. All the brightwork was replaced or re-chromed at the same time and the Aston was generally returned to looking its best. All good things must come to an end sadly, and Derek had to part with his Aston and on May the 2nd 2014, this very smart big V8 became the responsibility of Jem Tugwell from Chertsey. The Aston visited Nicholas Mee & Co on 16/06/2016 for a plug service and to sort out a few niggles and the invoice totaled £2,000. The mileage at that point was 80,233. Only in the last ten years have original DBSs started to become sought-after and only in the last five have their values rocketed with the very best now commanding up to £200,000. In a rising market, this V8 DBS in its original colour, from very long-term fastidious ownership, and with a comprehensive service history, may well turn out to be one of your better buys.