The unique DBS prototype offered here represents one of the most important milestones in Aston Martin history: the coming of the V8 generation. Not only that, but '5002/R' started life in the autumn of 1967 as the second production six-cylinder DBS before going on to spearhead development of the V8-engined version.
Although always intended to house the new Tadek Marek-designed V8, the DBS first appeared with the 4.0-litre six of the concurrently produced DB6. Styled in-house by Bill Towns, the four-seater DBS abandoned the curvy lines of the earlier Touring-styled DB models in favour of a sharper, hard-edged look in the modern idiom. The new car employed a platform-type chassis with independent suspension all round: wishbone and coil-spring at the front, De Dion with Watts linkage at the rear. Bigger and more luxuriously appointed than the DB6, the heavier DBS disappointed some by virtue of its slightly reduced performance, but there were no complaints when the V8 arrived in 1969. With an estimated 345bhp available from its 5,340cc, Bosch fuel-injected, four-cam motor, the DBS V8 could reach 100mph in under 14 seconds, running on to a top speed of 160mph - a staggering performance in those days and one which fully justified the claim that it was the fastest production car in the world. Even in automatic transmission form the V8 could reach 100mph in around 15 seconds and better 145mph flat-out.
Retained by the factory for development purposes, '5002/R' was originally fitted with six-cylinder engine number '400/3269/SVC' (a Vantage unit) and first registered as 'BPP 6F', as seen in many press articles at the time. The original colour scheme was Dubonnet with natural hide interior, the exterior colour being changed to yellow at a later date. Aston Martin's first attempt at a V8 was a 5.0-litre unit, as raced by Lola at Le Mans, and '5002/R' was initially fitted with one of these before it was replaced with one of the more reliable 5.3-litre production engines: 'V/540/278', which had been taken from another of the development cars.
High-speed testing on the Continent was undertaken to improve stability at the higher speeds the V8 was capable of, during which it was found that wire wheels were not up to the task, hence the switch to alloy wheels for the production DBS V8. In its edition of 2nd October 1969, Autocar published a technical analysis of the new DBS V8, headed by a photograph of 'BPP 6F', probably supplied by the factory.
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