The Aston Martin DBS is a grand tourer produced by the British manufacturer Aston Martin Lagonda Limited from 1967 to 1972.
The DBS was featured in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and in the 1970s TV show The Persuaders! as Lord Brett Sinclair’s car.
A completely new model also using the DBS name, the Aston Martin DBS V12, was released by Aston Martin in 2007.
The DBS was intended as the successor to the Aston Martin DB6, although the two ran concurrently for three years. Powered by a straight-six engine, it was produced from 1967 until 1972, eventually being phased out in favour of the Aston Martin V8.
It was a larger coupé than the DB6, with four full sized seats, but was powered by the same 4.0 L engine as the previous car. Claimed engine output was 282 bhp (210 kW; 286 PS), but a vantage engine option used Italian made Weber carburettors, increasing output to an advertised 325 bhp (242 kW; 330 PS).
The DBS was intended to have a more “modern” look than the previous series of Aston models (the DB4 through DB6), and it incorporated a fastback style rear end and squared off front grille, atypical of Astons at the time, but very much then in vogue in automotive design circles of the late sixties. Trademark Aston design features, such as a bonnet scoop, knock off wire wheels, and side air vents with stainless steel brightwork were however retained. The DBS was the last Aston Martin to be built under David Brown’s control.
Weight: 3,760 lb (1,706 kg)
Engine: 4.0L DOHC straight-6
Power: 283 bhp (211 kW; 287 PS) at 5500 rpm
Torque: 390.5 N·m (288.0 lb·ft) at 3850 rpm
DBS V8 (1969 to 1972)
In September 1969, the DBS was made available with a 5340cc V8 engine, this variant being known as the DBS V8. At the time, it was the fastest four-seater production car in the world. The new model was fitted with light alloy wheels (as opposed to wire wheels on the DBS) and ventilated brake discs. Automatic transmission was offered as an alternative to the ZF 5 speed manual gearbox. The DBS V8 was produced until May 1972, after which it was given a single headlamp front end and was renamed simply the Aston Martin V8.
DBS V12 (2007–2012)
The new Aston Martin DBS V12 is based on the DB9. Built on the VH Platform the car shares its roof, sidescreens and wheelbase with the DB9, but sits lower (by 25 mm) and wider (by 40 mm) than the DB9. The six-litre V12 engine which has reportedly been uprated to produce 510 bhp (380 kW; 517 PS), 420 lb·ft (569 N·m) of torque and a top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h). The rear is equipped with a carbon fibre diffuser and an integrated rear lip spoiler. Other details include a six-speed manual transmission and a removable stopwatch. A special helmet pod behind the driver’s seat is present for Casino Royale but did feature in the production version.
The DBS was used by George Lazenby’s James Bond in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unlike Bond’s previous car, the Aston Martin DB5, no gadgets were seen in this car, other than a mounting for a telescopic-sight rifle in the glove compartment. In the final scenes of the film, Bond’s wife, Tracy, is shot and killed whilst sitting in the car.
Another DBS also appears in a brief single scene in the next Bond film, Diamonds are Forever. It can be seen in the background (being fitted with small missiles) when Bond is talking to Q on the telephone.
An Aston Martin DBS was later used in the TV series The Persuaders! (1971–1972), in which Roger Moore’s character Lord Brett Sinclair drove a distinctive “Bahama Yellow” (orange/gold) 6-cylinder DBS (chassis number DBS/5636/R) that, through the use of alloy wheels and different badges, had been made to look like the DBS V8 model. Supplied by Aston Martin to the show’s producers, the car used the personalised number plate “BS 1” (except for one scene in the episode “The Gold Napoleon,” where the car has its original UK registration number PPP 6H instead), courtesy of the plates real owner Billy Smart, Jr. Sold by the factory after filming ended, via HR Owen in London, to its first private owner. It was restored to a very high standard in recent years by the Aston Martin factory, and is presently owned by divorce lawyer and noted art collector Jeremy Levison. Both Moore and co-star Tony Curtis have signed the underside of the car’s boot (rear luggage compartment): Moore at Pinewood Studios in May 2003; Curtis at Cheltenham Racecourse in October 2008. In 2013 the Aston Martin DBS was an invited participant at two of Europe’s most exclusive motoring concours, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at Lake Como, and the Salon Privé Concours in London.
The restoration of an original DBS, registration JRA615H was featured in the first episode of series 2 of the Channel 4 series For the Love of Cars, screened in April 2015. The process took over 6,000 man-hours. During restoration, it was upgraded to Vantage specification which included conversion from an automatic to manual gearbox. It sold at auction for £150,000.