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Aston Martin: The Classics

The DB4GT made its debut at the 1959 London Motor Show. The car was designed by Aston Martin and used the Superleggera construction system - aluminium panels on tubular support frames - produced by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan. Although similar to the DB4, the changes added up to a very different motor car.

Five inches were taken out of the original DB4 wheelbase, making the GT easier to handle on a race track and reducing the overall weight; the engine was equipped with a new twin-plug head and 45 DCOE Weber Carburettors. This increased power output to an impressive 302 bhp. The DB4GT was the first of many Aston Martins to use the faired in headlamps.

Offered at the London Motorshow in October 1960, the beautiful DB4GT Zagato at 1,225kg was 45kg lighter than the standard GT mainly due to perspex windows and less luxurious trim. Four cars were lightened further for racing and proved extremely competitive. (Aston Martin)
Production Dates: July 1963 - September 1965

Perhaps the most famous Aston Martin because of the specially equipped Silver Birch DB5 that starred in the James Bond film “Goldfinger” and in standard form in “Thunderball”. The DB5 made a comeback to the big screen in the 1995 film “GoldenEye”, and has had a cameo role in subsequent Bond movies.

Regarded by many as the most beautiful Aston Martin produced, DB5 shares many similar traits to the DB4. However, DB5’s most substantial change occurred under the bonnet. The 6 cylinder engine capacity was enlarged to 4 litres by increasing the bore to 96mm. Significant too was the introduction of a full synchromesh ZF 5 speed gearbox. Other chassis changes included the adoption of the Girling disc brakes that had only been used on the DB4GT, along with 15” wheels.

A Convertible was also offered and was available with a steel hard top with an exceptionally large rear window. (Aston Martin)
Production dates: October 1965 - July 1969

Clearly derived from the DB4 through the DB5, the new model was announced at the London Motor Show in October 1965. The most noticeable styling changes on the DB6 were the Kamm tail rear spoiler, which improved high speed stability, the split front and rear bumpers; a redesigned oil cooler aperture in the front valance, a higher roof (136 cm) and longer wheelbase (258.5 cm), 9.5 cm more than the DB5, giving an overall length of 462 cm. The increase of space in the rear made the DB6 a more practical family proposition.

The DB6 was the first Aston Martin to carry the name Volante for the convertible version - which means ‘flying’ in Italian. The last thirty-seven DB5 chassis were used to build the short-chassis Volantes which were completed between October 1965 and October 1966. (Aston Martin)
DBS (1967-1972) Production Dates: October 1967 – May 1972

Unveiled at Blenheim Palace on September 25, 1967, the William Towns designed DBS was originally only intended for limited production.

In its original guise the DBS retained the six-cylinder, 3,995 cc engine, available in Standard or Vantage form as used in the DB6. However, after an announcement on 27 September, 1969 the DBS was also made available with a V8 engine, with the car being known as the DBSV8 – a four-seat grand touring car, capable of 160 mph. As with the straight six, the design of the new V8 engine was the work of Tadek Marek.

Apart from the change of engine, notable visual differences between the two variants included, on the DBSV8, the use of specially designed 15’’ light weight 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 distinguishing feature of both the DBS and DBSV8 are the four quartz iodine headlights set into an alternative version of the iconic Aston Martin grille.

The DBS and the DBSV8 were produced concurrently until May 1972. (Aston Martin)
Production dates; 1974, 1977-1989

Designed by William Towns, October 1976 saw Aston Martin reveal a new shape Lagonda with innovative solid state digital instrumentation. With initial production levels at one a week it wasn’t until 1979 that the first car was delivered. In 1982 the Lagonda was cleared for sale in the USA.

In 1984, a Long Wheelbase Tickford Limousine version was announced with a TV in the front and rear.

The Aston Martin Lagonda was updated again in 1987 when William Towns rounded off the edges of the car giving it a fresh new look. Enhancements included a re-designed nose where six smaller lights replace the pop-up headlamps and new 16” alloy wheels. A total of 645 chassis were built before the end of production in 1989. Each car required 2,200 man-hours to build and only about 25 were built per year for the U.S. market. (Aston Martin)