2020 Shannons Sydney Summer Classic Auction & Rare Number Plates

1968 Aston Martin DBS Coupe (Project)

$35,000 - $45,000

No Reserve


Engine In-line 6-cylinder, 3995cc
Gearbox 3-speed automatic
Engine No. 400/3873/S
Chassis No. DBS/5178/R
Body Work Coupe
Colour Light Blue
Interior Black
Trim Vinyl (see text)
Wheels Wire-spoked
Brakes Discs

Vehicle Report

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With the DB6 getting long in the tooth, Aston Martin set about building a much-needed replacement and work on the DBS, as it was known, began in 1966.  Styled by William Towns, the new car was a handsome GT, with modern ‘coke-bottle’ styling that has aged beautifully and still looks fresh today.    Although it had been intended from the outset to have a V8 engine designed by Tadek Marek, development soon fell behind schedule and the earliest DBS were instead powered by his venerable straight-six.  The DBS featured a de Dion rear end, Girling disc brakes all round and the option of a ZF five-speed manual or Torqueflite three-speed automatic transmission.  Boasting twin overhead camshafts and triple SU carburettors, the 4-litre straight six developed around 280 bhp at 5500rpm, while the optional Vantage specification specified Weber carburettors and was rated at 325 bhp.  A handful of cars were also equipped with AE Brico electronic fuel injection.  Produced from September 1967 until April 1972, Aston Martin made 802 examples of the DBS according to the informative website www.dbsvantage.com, with the breakdown being 130 left-hand drive manuals, 51 left-hand drive automatics, 317 right-hand drive manuals and 304 right-hand drive autos.  Contemporary road tests confirmed the DBS was one of the quickest cars on the market, with a top speed of 140 mph and the quarter mile in 15.3 seconds recorded by Motor magazine.  Of course one simply can’t discuss Aston Martin without at least one reference to 007 – as all Bond aficionados know, an early DBS was his preferred mode of transport in "On Her Majesty’s Secret Service" and, equally famously, Roger Moore drove one in "The Persuaders".  Regarded as something of an orphan for decades, the DBS has enjoyed a resurgance in both popularity and consequently values in recent years.  As the last David Brown Aston Martin and straddling the ‘60s DB4/5/6 and ‘70s V8 eras, the handsome DBS is finally getting the appreciation it always deserved. 


  • Exciting ‘barn find’ Aston Martin
  • Hidden from sight for many years
  • Offered at No Reserve
As confirmed by Aston Martin’s production records and the British Motor Museum Heritage Certificate supplied with the car, chassis DBS/5178/R was completed at Newport Pagnell on November 7, 1968 with carburettor-equipped engine number 400/3873/S, automatic transmission, finished in the attractive colour combination of Pacific Blue with black leather upholstery.  Options included power steering, a Motorola radio, Fiamm horn, Avon Blackwall tyres and a Powr-Lok limited slip diff.  Little is known of the DBS’s early history but the car wears a kick plate indicating it was delivered through London dealer H R Owen, making its way to Australia many years ago.  The current long-term owner, based on the NSW Central Coast, carried out some refurbishment including – we are advised – an engine rebuild.  Now painted a French Blue, the car has undergone a number of colour changes over the years and the interior re-upholstered in black vinyl.  It’s important to note that although the engine number clearly matches the Heritage Certificate, no build plate is attached to the car and no chassis number stamping has been found to date – but the number 5178 is still chalked inside the driver’s side door trim.  An exciting barn find that has been off the radar for decades, the DBS runs and drives and could either be tidied up and used as it stands or restored to its former glory.  Now being offered for sale due to failing health, the Aston will be sold unregistered, without reserve and comes with a factory workshop manual.
Note: Shannons advise that all potential buyers research all vehicles before purchase to authenticate originality.  

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