Aston Martin began the 1970s decade with a splendid looking new car, the DBS, with a body designed by William Towns. This big, sleek, low car was much better looking than the rather dumpy DB6 it replaced and was enthusiastically received by Aston Martin fanciers. The car featured a widened DB6 frame with the bodywork built up in aluminum on a tubular frame. In place of the rigid axle used on the DB6 a de Dion axle located by trailing arms and a Watt linkage were fitted. Front suspension retained the familiar wishbone and coil spring layout. An innovation was the use of Armstrong Selectaride dampers, which, as the name suggests, allowed the stiffness of the dampers to be varied while on the move.
Aston Martin DBS V8 1970-72 engine
Initially the car was fitted with the familiar straight-six twin overhead camshaft engine which was available in normal (282 bhp) or Vantage (325 bhp) trim, and although the latter gave the car a top speed of 145 mph and a 0-100 mph time of 18 seconds it was still not fast enough for the super-enthusiasts, so Aston Martin began work on converting their racing V8 engine into road-going form. This twin camshaft per bank engine had been designed for long distance sports car racing, but it had proved rather heavy and unreliable and the racing project was abandoned.
But it was very successfully converted into a road engine and although Aston Martin declined to give power outputs, this 5340cc (325 cu in) engine was obviously very powerful as Aston Martin claimed a top speed of 161 mph from a standing start! It also did a mile in 14 seconds and a 0-50 mph time of 4.5 seconds: all this from a 2 ton car!
Aston Martin Retro 1970 DBS V8
Drivers found the DBS V8 a difficult car to drive fast; it is heavy and the suspension is very firm for a luxury car, so it calls for quite a lot of effort to hold the car steady on bumpy roads. Its German ZF gearbox is not the most sophisticated unit and quick, quiet gear changes were not easy to make. However, it was very fast in a straight line and its gearbox made all the right noises.
New York Times: new co. owners
The next owners of the Aston Martin Company not only improved the V8 when they took over (the DB, standing for David Brown had been dropped) they began design work on a luxury four seater which was given the name Lagonda, like so many luxury versions of Aston Martin models in days gone by. Mechanically, it was very similar to the V8 Aston, with virtually the same chassis layout and power train, but the wheelbase was increased by nearly a foot to nine feet, six inches in order to make room for the four door, four seater body work.
Duke and Duchess of Tavistock
Prince Philip drives a prototype Aston Martin Lagonda
Aston Martin Lagonda interior
The bodywork was the most sensational aspect of the car for it was very angular and Fiat sided with a very shallow nose, allowing room only for a vestigial radiator grille like a cut down Rolls Royce radiator. The company had also tried to project themselves into the electronics age in a big way by eliminating conventional instrumentation and replacing it with a computer controlled electronic LED (light emitting diode) display system in which every piece of information about the performance of the car could be monitored. Many controls were activated by touch-buttons which use the conductivity of a person's skin to complete their electrical circuit. Unfortunately, the company paid the price of many pioneers because the electronics gave endless trouble during testing, and deliveries were held up for many months. Eventually, the first car was delivered to the Marchioness of Tavistock on a trailer, as the electronics were still not working! The company had then dropped many electronic components and its production cars were released to its customers who willingly paid £50 000 ($61,175 today) knowing they had to wait a couple of years for their car to arrive.
Aston Martin Lagonda 1976-90
1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante Short Chassis Convertible sports car
1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Volante Short Chassis Convertible
1970 Aston Martin interior of sports car
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