Classic (non race) Cars
1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2 Volante to Vantage Spec
Premiered at the 1965 London Motor Show, the DB6 Volante marked the first occasion the evocative 'Volante' name had been applied to a soft top Aston Martin. After 37 convertibles had been completed on the DB5 short-wheelbase chassis, the model adopted the longer DB6 chassis in October 1966. By 1969 however, Aston was winding down production of the DB6 which was now over a decade old and, as attention turned towards the newer, more modern-looking DBS, Aston Martin unveiled a final swan song, the DB6 Mk2. Distinguishable by its flared wheel arches and DBS wheels, the Mk2 was fitted with power-assisted steering as standard and could be ordered with AE Brico electronic fuel injection. When DB6 production ceased in 1970, a total of 1,575 saloons had been made, plus 178 of the long-wheelbase Volante convertibles (140 Mk1 versions and only 38 Mk2s) with one of these later cars being allocated to Her Majesty the Queen who gave it to Prince Charles on his 21st Birthday.
The Royal DB6 undoubtedly enjoyed its ‘15 minutes of fame’, however the remarkable Mk2 Volante, #DBMK2/VC/3774/R on offer here has played a much more significant role in the story of the DB6. One of those original 38 Mk2 Volantes, it left the factory in June 1970 finished in Aquamarine with black Connolly trim and a black Everflex hood prior to being registered to its first owner, a Mr F Griffiths of Plastics and Veneers Ltd. in Liverpool, who are still in business today! Factory options recorded on the manufacturers build sheet were; automatic gearbox, two front seat belts, Fiamm air-horns and seven pints of antifreeze.
The car's subsequent keepers were a Mr James Roddick from the Wirral in 1978, Philip Hale from Liverpool in 1989, Stephen Pilkington from Ormskirk in 1991 and, later that year Mr Maurice Jones from Walsall. In the early 1980s it had been returned to the Works and the original engine upgraded to factory ‘Vantage-specification’ with the automatic transmission being replaced by a manual factory 5-speed gearbox around the same time. By 1997, it had come into the hands of the Hopton family of Hopton Tyres in Uttoxeter, by which time it had been painted in Dubonnet Rosso with beige trim. The history file shows that the Hoptons had the car regularly maintained by Aston Engineering during their tenure before eventually parting with it in 2005, when it became the property of the Warefield House Establishment from Bracknell. The following year, the car was placed in the hands of marque specialist, RS Williams, with the object of returning it to a superb condition and, consequently, it was treated to new sills, a suspension rebuild and associated mechanical work before being refinished in Old English White with a glorious red leather interior and a new black hood.
In 2007 Aston Works were instructed to discreetly source the best Mk2 Volante available for the recently-appointed Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, H.H Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. This very car was chosen and supplied through Mr Kingsley Riding-Felce, an Aston Martin main board director. It remained in the Kuwaiti Collection, lightly used, until 2018 when the Works were able to buy it back and return it to Newport Pagnell. Aston had been working on an ‘EV’ solution for their ‘Heritage’ models as part of their wider EV strategy by creating the first reversible EV powertrain concept. It was important that development of the reversible ‘Cassette’ concept for the older cars was sympathetic, enabling the cars originality and provenance to be maintained. Aston stated at the time, “Given the historical significance of these collectors’ cars, it’s vital that any EV conversion is sympathetic to the integrity of the original car”.
In 2018, development was quite advanced and this very car, #DBMK2/VC/3774/R, was selected to demonstrate this technology due to its outstanding condition and originality and was the very first car to be fitted with the radical new EV powertrain. The original running gear was obviously kept securely at the factory whilst the car made its way around Europe in 2019 demonstrating Aston’s exciting new EV technology. There are many YouTube videos and press releases during this period, in fact 3774 features, wearing the world-famous plate ‘1 AML’ and it was also greeted with much enthusiasm when paraded around the GP circuit in Monaco.
After this DB6’s illustrious promotional life in 2019 was over, Aston Works set about returning the car to its original running gear thanks to the fully reversible ‘Cassette’ powertrain concept. There are internal invoices in the accompanying history file showing the significant amount of work and expenditure that went into the car to get it running as was originally intended. The quality of this reinstatement was such that the finished car enjoyed a class win in that year’s AMOC Concours d’Elegance. Subsequently, #3774 went into private ownership where it has been enjoyed ever since. In March 2022, just over £5,000 was spent with Aston Works again with invoices on file for new suspension bushes, a new engine damper, a major service and an MOT. The current mileage is just under 54,000.
Finally this particular car is without doubt one of the very best driving Astons of the 1960s and 1970s. The electric hood works perfectly, it starts instantly and ticks over very smoothly on its triple Weber twin-chokes and all the controls work, even the electric aerial! It is absolutely ‘on its toes’ and driven regularly by its highly enthusiastic known owner.
Only 38 DB6 MkII Volante's were ever built and with the King owning one, this is effectively one of only 37. It is still fitted with its original engine which was upgraded to Vantage-spec by the factory in period, totally refreshed and retrimmed by the Works, a decade in the ownership of an important Middle Eastern politician, developed by the factory as their flagship ‘Heritage’ electric demonstrator, in a documented European Tour proudly bearing ‘1 AML’ and now carefully returned to its original motivation by the development department at Newport Pagnell – as we said before, #3774 is undoubtedly a significant part of the DB6 story.
The car was recently fully serviced with a fresh MOT at Desmond Smail's (Aston Specialists in Olney) and the invoice is in the comprehensive history file.
Joined July 2011
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