Aston Martin DB6 MKI Shooting Brake LH by Radford

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Aston Martin


DB6 MKI Shooting Brake LH by Radford





The Aston Martin DB6 is a grand tourer made by British car manufacturer Aston Martin. Produced from September 1965 to January 1971, the DB6 had the longest production run up to that date of any Aston Martin model. The DB6 succeeded the popular Aston Martin DB5 and featured improved aerodynamics and specification over its predecessor.

After Aston Martin rejected proposals for a replacement for its DB5 from Touring of Milan, the decision was made to focus on their own development car, registered 4 YMC. Wind tunnel testing, begun in February 1965, showed development was necessary to counteract a tendency toward aerodynamic lift a result of the fastback styling causing reduced rear-wheel traction at high speed. Final development phases relied upon DB5 chassis, suitably lengthened and titled MP 219, with rear lip-spoiler and abbreviated Kammback tail Aston Martin previously incorporated in sports-racing prototypes. The decision was made to produce MP 219 as the Aston Martin DB6 although the prototype de Dion rear axle was rejected, Aston's soldiering on with its well-located live-axle configuration reducing time to market, cost and complexity.

Introduced at the 1965 London Motor Show, the DB6 was already a dated design notable as the first model engineered following a factory relocate from Feltham to Newport Pagnell. The DB6 shares a large resemblance to its predecessor, the DB5; with the most noticeable differences being its wheelbase, side profile, split front and rear bumpers and rear panels incorporating the Kammback tail rear end. The tail, combined with the relocated rear-axle and the 3.75-inch (95 mm) lengthened wheelbase, provide more stability at high speed. Though fashionable-the rear-end Kamm-styled design was similar to the Ferrari 250-it did not prove popular with conservative, tradition oriented Aston clientele when the DB6 was introduced. Performance was satisfactory: road-tests of the day observed top speed of the Vantage model between 145 mph to 148 mph, with intrepid and fearless John Bolster aboard a Vantage spec DB6 reaching a two-way average of 152 mph.

The DB6 continued with then high-tech Armstrong Selecta ride cockpit-adjustable rear shock absorbers as available on the DB5. Other highlights include adopting front-door quarter windows, an oil-cooler air scoop low on the front valance, quarter-bumpers at each corner, revised tail-lamp clusters; additionally the spoiler with the luggage capacity affected overall proportions of the DB6, to an increased length approximately two inches. DB6 had in standard ZF five-speed manual unit and a BorgWarner or optional three-speed automatic gearbox available at no extra cost and optional Vantage specification retaining triple side-draft Weber 45DCOE carburettors.

Another major change from the DB5 to DB6 was abandonment of the full superleggera construction technique patented by coachbuilders/stylist Touring of Milan. For later DB6's construction, the more common body-on-platform technique was used; this was primarily due to the extended rear requiring a stronger and more rigid design using folding sheet metal frames. Surprisingly the modifications combined to add only seventeen pounds weight compared to the DB5.

The DB6 is powered by the 3,995 cc twin-overhead camshaft (DOHC), in-line six-cylinder Aston Martin engine designed by the legendary Tadek Marek. The engine, continued with its triple SU carb setup producing 282bhp (210 kW; 286 PS) at 5,500 rpm; the Vantage engine option is quoted at 325bhp (242 kW; 330 PS) against the 314bhp (234 kW; 318 PS) of the DB5. Although the weight of the DB6 was approximately 17 lb (7.7 kg) heavier than its predecessor, the stability at high speed, added luggage capacity and comforts for passengers in this grand tourer more than offset any imperceptible loss in performance caused by additional weight. The rear suspension used helical coil springs with ride control that was adjustable from inside the car.

As the story is told, one day David Brown, chairman of Aston Martin, entered a board meeting at which some of his engineers were in attendance, plunked his hunting dog down on the table, and said, “Build me something for him to sit in.”

The result was a DB5 built by the factory with an extended cargo compartment, converting it into a spacious “shooting brake” suitable for the hunt, which the Brown family used for many years. So popular was Brown’s Shooting Brake with his gentlemen friends that a limited run of the cars were produced by special customer order, with similar coachwork that cost more than 50 percent more than a factory DB5. It is believed that 12 were built on DB5 chassis, followed by another six, four by Radford and two by HLM Panelcraft, on DB6 chassis.

As with previous Aston Martin models, a high-power DB6 Vantage was offered. It was equipped with three Weber carburetors and higher compression ratio cylinder head.

A convertible body style was also offered, named the Volante. This was introduced at the 1966 London Motor Show. The DB6-based Volante succeeded the earlier (1965–1966) Volantes which were built on the last of the DB5 chassis' and were known as "short chassis" Volantes. Of the later DB6-based Volantes just 140 were built, including 29 high-output Vantage Volante versions, highly prized by collectors.

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