1968 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage
With a five-speed manual gearbox, this well-documented DB6 is a nice drive
This DB6 is an original right- hand drive car, which has been enhanced by a swap to a five-speed ZF gearbox in place of the Borg-Warner three-speed automatic with which it left the factory. The ZF ‘box was specified on many DB6s when they were new. The copy of the original build sheet in the car’s history file shows it was supplied to Ireland in January 1969 in this Caribbean Pearl shade, and with optional power steering and Marchal spotlights – and that the factory charged extra for seven pints of antifreeze.
Since then five owners have spent plenty of money on the car. The bodywork was last attended to in 1992 when the whole car underwent a £22k refurbishment. Today the body is still very straight with excellent panel fit and flawless paint.
Underneath there’s been a little welding where the sills meet the floorpan, but nothing you wouldn’t expect on a car more than 40 years old. The chassis rails and floors are very good, and the stainless steel exhaust was fitted in 1989 at the same time that the gearbox was changed. Since then the car has covered only about 6000 miles; the odometer now reads 59,900 miles, which is substantiated by bills and old MoTs. Lightly-worn Avon Turbospeed tyres wrap newish-looking MWS wire wheels, and all brightwork looks very good.
It’s a similar story inside, with the leather on the front seats lightly creased and still looking new in the back, good carpets and an excellent dashboard and instruments. The original radio is still in place and nothing is missing or broken. It smells Olde-English great too.
All’s well under the bonnet and the Vantage- spec motor that’s been there from new is clean, tidy and has no leaks. It had its last big service (£1861.84 at E&D Motors of New Cross, London) fewer than 200 miles ago in April 2010, which included a new distributor at £184. Oil is clean and to level but I couldn’t check the antifreeze as the car had been run.
It fires readily with some throttle, the stainless exhaust lending a superb and possibly gruffer note than standard, and it drives smoothly and swiftly, with nicely- weighted steering and firm brakes that track straight and true. Performance is as strong as you’d expect from the 3995cc straight-six and, though the strong torque makes the gearbox redundant for much of the time, the gearchange is super-slick. When warm the gauges read 120psi oil pressure and 80 deg С water temperature.
The MoT runs until January 2012 and the car is sold with its original automatic gearbox. The five-speed unit might technically hurt the value a little since it renders the car non-original, but that’s good for buyers and only a pedant would gibe because it offers so many benefits.