1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage SIII
8-cyl. 5340cc/403hp FI
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
By the time that the Aston Martin DB6 was introduced in late 1965, the buff books were getting pretty critical of Aston Martin’s formula of excruciatingly gradual evolution. In fact, Road & Track concluded its road test of the DB6 with the sentiment that “we look forward to the introduction of the DB7.” As it turned out, the immediate successor to the DB6 would be called the DBS and in many ways, it was not the clean break that the enthusiast publications had been hoping for.
Style-wise, the DBS was certainly different. Where the DB6 had looked very much like a DB5 with a more fashionable Kamm-tail grafted on, the DBS was a fresh William Towns effort that was a far more contemporary (if blander) design with a front end reminiscent of the Jensen Interceptor with four inline headlights (the DB6’s covered single units having been outlawed in the U.S.). The interior was wider with more shoulder room and more comfortable seats.
Carried over from the DB6 was the Tadek Marek dohc six-cylinder. In normal tune it produced around 280 hp and when the vantage option was selected, this figure was closer to 325 hp. Still, the notion of the same engine in a heavier car excited few people and the answer was the Marek-designed V8 engine that the car was intended to have from the start. Performance was impressive with a 160 mph top speed and 0-60 in less than six seconds.
Most six-cylinder DBSs came with 72-spoke chrome knock-off wire wheels while the V-8 cars had the alloy wheels of the later Aston Martin V8, which the V8 morphed into for 1973. The DBS V-8 is recognized as the last of the David Brown Astons and as such has become more interesting to collectors in the last several years. Like all Astons, parts and service can be quite dear and buying a questionable car is like playing Russian Roulette with five of six chambers loaded.