A near two-ton Goliath powered by an outrageous handmade 5.3-liter engine, the DBS V8 was meant to be Aston’s money-earner for the 1970s. Based on the six-cylinder DBS of 1967, the V8 did not appear until April 1970. With a thundering 160 mph (257 km/h) top speed and incredible sub seven second 0–60 time, Aston’s new bulldog instantly earned a place on every millionaire’s shopping list.
The trouble was that it drove into a worldwide recession—in 1975 the Newport Pagnell factory produced just 19 cars. Aston’s bank managers were worried men, but the company pulled through. The DBS became the Aston Martin V8 in 1972 and continued until 1989, giving birth to the legendary 400 bhp Vantage and gorgeous Volante Convertible. Excessive, expensive, impractical, and impossibly thirsty, the DBS V8 and AM V8 are wonderful relics from a time when environmentalism was just another word in the dictionary.
DBS was one of the first Astons with a chassis and departed from the traditional Superleggera tubular superstructure of the DB4, 5, and 6. Like Ferraris and Maseratis, Aston prices were ballyhooed up to stratospheric levels in the Eighties.
Smooth tapering cockpit line is an Aston hallmark echoed in the current DB7.
Massive hood power bulge was to clear four carburetors.
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Cars with incredible presence, Astons were good enough for James Bond, King Hussein of Jordan, Peter Sellers, and even the Prince of Wales—who has owned a DB6 Volante from new.
Prodigious rear overhang makes the rear aspect look cluttered.
Discreet rear spoiler was part of the gently sweeping fender line.
Handmad e bumpers covered huge twin exhausts —a gentle reminder of this Aston’s epic V8 grunt.
Thin rear window gave the driver limited rearward vision.
The alloy V8 was first seen in Lola sports-racing cars. The massive air-filter box covers a quartet of twin-choke Weber carbs, which guzzle one gallon of fuel for every 13 miles (4.6 km/l), and much less if you enjoy yourself.
V8’s engine churned out over 300 bhp, but later models could boast 400 bhp.
A 1984 AM V8 Volante featured in the James Bond film The Living Daylights, with Timothy Dalton. In 1964 a DB5 was the first Aston to star alongside James Bond in the film Goldfinger, this time with Sean Connery.
Shapely “cliff-hanger” nose was always a DBS trademark.
Chin spoiler and undertray helped reduce front-end lift at higher speeds.
Over the years the DBS was skillfully updated, without losing its traditional ambience. Features included leather and wood surroundings, air-conditioning, electric windows, and radio cassette. Nearly all V8s were ordered with Chrysler TorqueFlite auto transmission.
V8’s aluminum body was hand smoothed and lovingly finished.
As with most Astons, the interior was decked out in the finest quality leather and wood.
S P E C I F I C A T I O N S
MODEL Aston Martin V8 (1972–89)
PRODUCTION 2,842 (including Volante and Vantage)
BODY STYLE Four-seater coupe.
CONSTRUCTION Aluminum body, steel platform chassis.
ENGINE Twin OHC alloy 5340cc V8.
POWER OUTPUT Never released but approx 345 bhp (Vantage 400 bhp).
TRANSMISSION Three-speed auto or five-speed manual.
SUSPENSION Independent front, De Dion rear.
BRAKES Four-wheel disc.
MAXIMUM SPEED 161 mph (259 km/h); 173 mph (278 km/h) (Vantage)
0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 6.2 sec (Vantage 5.4 sec)
0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 14.2 sec (Vantage 13 sec)
A.F.C. 13 mpg (4.6 km/l)