Dealer Locator
Please enter a valid postcode
Home » Blog » Iconic Cars: Aston Martin DBS

Eventually every icon, no matter how influential, has to hang up their boots and make way for a new generation. At the time, the Aston Martin DB4, DB5 and DB6 - all cars which shared a similar style and influence- had been hugely successful luxury cars.

By 1971, the Aston Martin DB6 had become the highest-selling Aston Martin so far, and at the time endured one of the longest production runs of any Aston Martin, lasting from 1965 to 1971.

Meanwhile thanks to a reputation as the most comfortable and advanced Grand Tourer of the time, (and with help from screen time with a certain secret agent) the DB5 became one of the most recognisable cars the world over.

Stretching back to 1958, the Aston Martin DB4 was something of an enigma. It was the first car to be built at the new Aston Martin site in Newport Pagnell - yet borrowed heavily from Italian design, with a body sculpted by Carrozzeria Touring that gave it a unique continental flair.

All of these cars, for one reason or another, made a distinct impression on the legacy of Aston Martin. As well as their peerless driving dynamics, their timeless design is part of this legacy. As influential as these cars were, it was decided in 1966 that the legacy needed a new face to take Aston Martin forwards in to the latter stages of the 20th century. 

The DBS is born

Aston Martin DBS,

Clean, modern, forward-thinking. This was the design philosophy behind the new Aston Martin - which boasted clear cut lines and a fastback-style rear. A radical departure from those cars before it, the DBS retained the grille shape which is so emblematic of Aston Martin.

Other familiar features included the bonnet scoop and the side air vents - but largely this is where the similarities ended. In fact, it was so different that production of the DB6 ran concurrent to the new model for three years. The DBS was unveiled at a low-key launch at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, in 1967.

It was initially intended for a limited production run, but the DBS proved to be a favourite to those looking for practicality. The square-cut design lent itself to more interior space, and the DBS was a full four-seater. The interior was a cut above what had gone before, with the extra space going towards accommodating a more comfortable layout and intuitive design.

As with all new Aston Martin vehicles up until this point, every car was hand-built and it took 1200 man-hours to complete a DBS.

At its release in 1967, the Aston Martin DBS cost just £4,473 (adjusted for inflation, around £72,000) and featured the straight-six engine from the DB6 which produced 280bhp. It achieved a respectable 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 140mph - but the consumer demand was always for more power - leading to the development of the DBS V8 in 1969.

Aston Martin DBS V8

Aston Martin V8, Aston Martin DBS V8

Upon release, the V8 was the most powerful four-seater production car of all time. The V8 engine featured Bosch mechanical fuel injection and a top speed in excess of 160mph. So impressive was the engine that it formed the basis of all Aston Martin units for the next 20 years, finding a place in vehicles such as the V8 Vantage.

The V8 carried a £800 premium over the standard DBS, and aside from the engine had several other additions such as specially designed alloy wheels (as opposed to the wire wheels which had been used on Aston Martin cars up until this point) and ventilated brake discs for the first time on any Aston Martin.

Alongside the original DBS, the DBS V8 was produced up until 1972. After this date the V8 continued as the lone model with a single headlight fascia and was simply renamed the Aston Martin V8. This this car remained in production for a further 12 years until 1989.

The DBS name was revived in 2007 for the DBS V12: a flagship Grand Tourer with a 5.9 litre V12 engine producing a mighty 510bhp.

Popular Culture

Aston Martin DBS V8, The Persuaders DBS, History of Aston Martin DBS

Perhaps the most notable appearance of the Aston Martin DBS is in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The DBS, similar to George Lazenby, made only one starring appearance in a James Bond film, and featured only a rifle mounting in the glove compartment in the way of gadgets.

A notable 'Bahama Yellow' example also featured in the Rodger Moore's The Persuaders! between 1971 and 1972. This particular model hosted several visual additions such as alloy wheels and added badges to make it look like a DBS V8, as the car was in short supply at the time of production.

n 1971, the Persuaders had the most expensive production values of any TV show- and the car was accompanied by an engineer on set at all times.

The DBS used in the TV series, autographed by stars Tony Curtis and Rodger Moore, went up for auction in 2014 and sold for a record £533,500.

Barn Find DBS

Barn Find DBS, Barn Find Aston Martin

A car was recently discovered in a surrey barn - with suggestions it could have been sat there since 1980. After clearing away the hay and debris, it became clear that this was no ordinary barn find, but a 1972 Aston Martin DBS. Even rarer than that, it was the final standard specification DBS to roll off the production line with a flat-six engine.

Still relatively intact, the DBS evokes memories from an era gone by with a fantastic style and class that can only be matched by modern Aston Martin vehicles.

It appeared exclusively at Aston Martin W-One in Mayfair last week before it went to auction March 10th and fetched over £43,000. Read more about it here.