1969 ASTON MARTIN DBS Vantage Manual

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1969 ASTON MARTIN DBS Vantage Manual


Although Carrozzeria Touring were originally contracted to design a replacement for the DB6, the Italian coachbuilder and design house went out of business before it could deliver more than a couple of prototypes. Instead, William Towns (who went on to design the large wedge Lagonda) was promoted from Aston Martin’s seat design to oversee a more modern looking car that could take the new V8 engine being developed by Aston.

Initially launched in 1967 with the 4.0 litre straight six engine, the muscular fastback grand tourer developed 280 bhp but a factory option Vantage engine fitted with special camshafts and triple Weber carburettors increased this power output to 325 bhp. Depending on which source you credit, only around 70 RHD cars left the factory in Vantage spec, despite it being a no cost option.

It was another two years before the Tadek Marek 5.3 litre V8 was ready and although power was slightly down on the Vantage spec six, the DBS V8 was for a time the fastest four-seater production car in the world.

No stranger to either the silver or small screen, the DBS gained fame transporting George Lazenby’s 007 in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ and later cemented its celebrity as the car of Roger Moore’s aristocratic Lord Brett Sinclair in TV’s ‘The Persuaders’.

Both 6 and V8 powered models were produced until 1972 when, no longer under David Brown’s control and so dropping the DB reference, the company went forward with a single restyled variant marketed as the Aston Martin V8.

The Vehicle

Fitted from new with a 5-speed ZF manual gearbox and power assisted steering, this rare, 3-owner, Vantage-engined four-seat fastback is precisely how you would want a six-cylinder Aston Martin DBS to be.

First registered in March 1969, it is a mid-period Series 1 DBS identifiable by the C pillar louvres and wooden instrument panel. Later Series 2 models adopted a few styling revisions applied to the V8-powered cars.

Recently the pride and joy of a gentleman classic car collector, this DBS was lovingly self-maintained in his home workshop from 2000 until he sadly passed away a few years ago. By then the paintwork (resprayed in 2001 as part of a major refresh) was looking rather tired but the underlying body remained in good condition, so his widow consulted local specialists RetroMarques near Tewkesbury who advised a full bare metal respray prior to being sold.

Paintwork done, engine issues began to surface and, after some investigation and remedial work at St John’s Garage in Worcester, a full engine rebuild by Malvern Rebore was carried out. The car is now back ready for sale in roadworthy condition and the engine still running in with only 100 miles covered since.

For those looking to buy such a remarkable matching numbers Aston Martin that has had only three owners, the following details should help in any further archive research you would like to do on the car.

Chassis No: DBS/5304/R

Eng No: 400/4030/SVC

On the Outside

The DBS is an imposing grand tourer and has real presence, especially in this attractive and originally-specified Goodwood Green colour which is set off nicely by the brightwork, wire wheels and chrome spinners.

The full bare metal preparation and respray two years ago by Tony Williams Bodyshop of Malvern has given the car an incredible finish. The dark green paintwork is now exceedingly good - as good or better as you can see in the photos that we took on our inspection visit - with panel gaps and shut lines appearing as they should. The shine is incredible, there is virtually no orange peel visible in the paintwork.

The factory-specified black vinyl Webasto sunroof is also in very good order with no damage and it operates and fits well with no leakage. Such an addition offers some of the feel of a convertible without compromising the beautiful fastback roof line.

Around the car, the extensive stainless steel brightwork and sill covers are in good or very good order with only a few imperfections. The bumpers are chromed steel and therefore more susceptible to corrosion - we noticed a slight rippling in the rear bumper topside and some pitting to the chrome underneath but nothing alarming. The wire wheels and chrome spinners look phenomenal and are fitted with matching Continental tyres all round which also appear in great condition.

The rubber seals on the outside of the front quarter-lights are a little perished and although functional might be considered for aesthetic replacement.

Externally this car is very strong but you don’t need to take our word for it - use the ‘Contact Seller’ option above and arrange with Mark to view the car at RetroMarques just north of Tewkesbury.

On the Inside

The interior has cleaned up well, it has plenty of originality and a nice degree of patina. The black Connolly leather seats and trim present reasonably well but look lived in and as can be seen in the photos some smaller areas of carpeting, trim and upholstery could still be tidied up and improved upon.

The dash top and instrument panel appear sound and free of cracks or splits as does the leather on the Moto-Lita steering wheel. The factory option Radiomobile stereo 8-track cartridge player and radio is still in place along with all other electrical fittings, dials and switchgear.

The extent of any interior preservation or restoration would be down to the desires and wallet of the new owner but in our view there is nothing here that warrants a rather costly full retrim.

RetroMarques have estimated that for around £1,500 they could repair, tidy up and address obvious areas of wear to the leather, carpets and door trim to still leave the interior in a good age-appropriate condition. To our minds this would seem an obvious choice.


Under the bonnet, the straight-six engine, inlet manifold and Weber carburettors present extremely well as you would expect fresh from a rebuild (please note that the rebuilder's are acknowledged Aston specialists). Ancillaries and other fittings show in good order, including what seem to be recent replacements of items such as brake servos and air filter. The bonnet itself is also in great shape, complete with fully intact sound deadening cover and a mirror-like heat shield. Vulnerable areas like hinges and bonnet shut lips are rust-free.

Another factory option on this car are the louder and more desirable two-tone FIAMM air horns (Geek alert: like the ones given a cheery toot-toot in the film OHMSS as Bond pulled up to the hotel at the end of the main titles).

RetroMarques have had the car on ramps during the repaint and inspected the underside thoroughly, from what they tell us and from what we could see, the underside of the car is clean and sound with floor pans, structural elements and suspension components free from any serious corrosion. The underseal is starting to look a little scruffy in places so a new owner may wish to have the underbody stripped and recoated so that it presents as well as the topsides of the car. The twin exhaust system which looks like stainless steel also appears free from corrosion.

In the boot, the full size spare wheel is present, along with jack, mallet and wheel wrench. The boot lining and carpets, like those inside the car, could do with some attention but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a 50 year old car. Structurally though, the inner bodywork in the load space appears in good condition.

History Highlights

Some of the documentation in the history file comes from the very early days of the car’s life. A delivery note details the factory specification of the car and validates the chassis and engine number pairing given above and that HR Owen supplied the car - then carrying registration number VGX 4G - to the now defunct pharmaceutical chemicals company Lake & Cruickshank of Berkhamsted. Extensive typewritten records detail the service work carried out in the first year or so and also documents the mileage covered in this period.

No documentation survives from the period of second ownership but the late (third) owner was known by RetroMarques to be a competent self-maintainer. He had a select few classics and a comprehensive home workshop including inspection pit so there are very few invoices for work done since 2000 except for the odd specialist job. However there are many spare parts receipts, mostly from Aston specialist Puddleduck Parts, which give a view on what jobs he was equipped for and prepared to undertake himself. RetroMarques and other specialists were always called upon for the more complicated maintenance requirements. 

As fully documented in the gallery with three invoices totalling nearly £13k and several photographs, a full bare metal preparation and respray was carried out in 2017. The photos show that there were only two very small areas of body work which needed repairing prior to paint.

Subsequently, the investigation into poor engine running revealed low compression which demanded a full engine strip and rebuild, including servicing the triple Weber carbs. After refitting, the engine was setup and tuned on a dyno rig. This engine work is understood to have cost around £20k and is fully detailed in electronic invoices which we expect to receive for upload into the documents section of the gallery soon.

The online MOT history shows that the DBS has enjoyed only occasional use since 2006; most of the 88,000 miles having been driven by the first two owners. The latest MOT expired back in September and while it is MOT exempt by virtue of its age, we would strongly encourage the new owner to arrange a retest at the earliest opportunity. Retromarques have been looking after the car for the last year or two and do not consider an MOT any problem for the new owner.

Also coming with the car is a copy of Classic Motoring Magazine from March 2017, where this Vantage was used to illustrate an article celebrating 50 years of the Aston Martin DBS and its V8 successors. It also gives some good advice and guidance on what to look for and what to avoid when buying. Full disclosure, there’s nothing we’ve read in there to worry us about this car.

What We Think

We understand from RetroMarques that with all the recent work done, the DBS Vantage starts easily, pulls away cleanly and feels strong on the road, even whilst being driven quite gently during the running-in period. The big leather seats give a comfortable ride and despite the size and weight of the car it is very responsive – a testament to the factory-option power assisted steering as well as the increase in engine power.

The fully documented paintwork and engine rebuild already carried out around 100 miles ago is good news in that there are unlikely to be any major surprises in store for a new owner. The comprehensive history file and a low ownership make this DBS Vantage a very appealing opportunity for someone to become owner number four.

Unloved compared to their predecessors, 6-cylinder DBS values have soared in recent years from just £40k for a good example to around £100k, and climbing toward £200k for something exceptional. The market has noticeably cooled in the last year so we are estimating that this rare, manual, Vantage-spec car should achieve between £98,000 and £130,000, but in this current market, we are all happy to let bidders decide. Please remember, as with all our auctions, we advise interested parties to remain top bidder to have the opportunity to discuss a final purchase.

Viewing is always encouraged and welcomed, and this particular car is located with RetroMarques near Tewkesbury; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply.

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  • Location: Tewkesbury
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 88700
  • Chassis Number: DBS/5304/R
  • Engine: 3995
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Colour: Goodwood Green
  • Interior: Black Leather

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