GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Aston Martin DB6

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STATS
Year: 1969 (Mark II)
Class: Gran Tourer
Type: Coupe
 
Country: England
Host: GT2
 
 
Price: 38,460

 
Length: 182" // Width: 65.98" // Height: 52"
Wheelbase: 101.7"
Overhang: @6' 7"
Track: 54" [F] 53.5" [R]
Ground Clearance: 6.29"
Weight: 3,417 lbs.
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Tires: 8.15x15" front & rear
F. Suspension: double wishbone / coils / anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: trailing arms / coils / live axle
Brakes: solid discs
 
 
Engine: 4.0 liter DOHC inline-6
Tested HP: 328 @ 6,100 rpms
Tstd Torque:
290 @ 4,500 rpms
 
Lbs. per HP: 10.4
HP per Liter: 82
Credits per HP: 117.25
 
Aspiration: Normal
Fuel System: 3 Webber carbs.
Valves per Cyl: 2
Compression: 9.4:1
Bore x Stroke: 3.78x3.62"
Redline: 6,500 // Rev Limit: 7,000
Transmission: 5-speed manual
 
0-60 mph: 6.072 seconds
0-100mph: 13.677 seconds
 
400 M: 14.780 @ 101 mph
1 KM:
25.675 @ 134 mph
 
Test Track: 1:41.850
 
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 47 mph @ 7,000 rpm
2nd: 67 mph
3rd: 98 mph
4th:121 mph
5th: 159.20 mph (7,000 rpm)
 

 

 

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--------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY------------------

It may be hard to find a single word online about some cars of GT2 (like the 1982 Toyota Starlet) but there's no lack of info on Aston Martins. To find some history, all you need is a search engine; it's simply overwhelming how much there is to learn.
 
Fortunately for your eyeballs, I won't go into early history, other than to say that the founder Lionel Martin started the company around the time of World War I and combined his last name with the Aston Hill Climb, where he sometimes raced. That's how he got the name of his company, but you probably already knew all that. And if you didn't, now you do.
 
For whatever reason, Lionel sold Aston Martin just a few years after starting it. In 1947, it was sold again to a dude named David Brown. Sir Brown was a wealthy 'components factory' owner. Believe it or not, he spotted Aston Martin for sale after reading the classified ads in the London Times!  After his purchase, he was on a bit of a roll and bought Lagonda as well. 2 for 1 special...I think last week I managed to buy groceries AND lunch in the same day. Both Lagonda and Aston Martin had a history of wins in early motorsport racing, I guess Sir Brown just couldn't resist. Good thing Rolls Royce or Bentley weren't on the block.
 
The first David Brown-produced car was the Aston Martin DB1. DB stands for David Brown, by the way...of course it does. How spiffy. The DB1 started production in 1948. A stripped-down version won the 1948 24-hour event at Spa, which was very prestigious. Only fifteen DB1s were built, however.
 
Next came the DB2, which debuted in 1950 with a 2.6 liter 6-cylinder engine that only produced 105 hp. This engine was derived from Lagonda, and a tweaked version of the DB2 called the Vantage was offered with 125 hp. This doesn't seem like much, but Aston Martin had yet to become a supercar maker…at least on the streets. The DB2 featured an independent trailing-link suspension and in its first year of production won the 3 Liter class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans!
 
During this time, (1953-1956) the DB3 was made, though production of the DB2 didn't stop. The 3 was strictly a racing car with a 3-liter engine. The same dude who made Auto Union so successful racing against Mercedes in the 40s designed the DB3 race car, and these became perhaps the most successful DB-produced Aston Martins at the tracks. Just 19 DB3s were made, all of which still exist.
 
Next came the DB4, in 1958. Finally, this hand-built coupe was on a new chassis. The DB4 Zagato was the racing version; it competed against rival Ferrari 250 GTs on tarmac, but wasn't as successful as earlier DBs, which was a shame because this signaled Aston Martin's decline as a race-leader. It takes money to make money, and at the time, Aston just couldn't keep up with Ferrari, Ford, Porsche, and other makes.
 
But fear not! The DB5, released in 1963 and produced for the next two years, became the most prolific (and famous) DB car…but not due to racing. It was featured in the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’, which in a way was the best form of advertizement the car-maker could ask for. 1,021 cars were sold, of which 65 were higher-powered Vantages, and 132 were convertibles. There were even a few (very vew) DB5 hatchbacks. Although 1,021 doesn't seem a high number, remember that these cars were being hand-built; and actually the DB5 was produced in a greater volume than the DB6 (of which 1,755 were sold over a 5-year period. 510.5 cars per year versus 351, basically.

 The DB5 got anywhere from 13 to 15 mpg and finally had some power: a regular DB5 had 285hp, but the Vantage, with its higher-compression pistons, was rated at 325.
 
The DB6 was next, and was produced from 1965 till 1970. The game car is actually a DB6 Vantage, not a regular DB6 as Gran Turismo 2's info page says. Early versions had a 4-speed transmission, but this was later replaced by a ZF 5-speed. Though the DB6 was similar to its predecessor, it was a bit heavier due to the air-conditioning, power steering, and other creature comforts that were standard in the latter car.
 
Aston autos were slowly becoming a high-bred luxury as the carmaker's previous racing glories faded, you see. Ultimately, it didn't matter. The DB6 was in such high demand that in 1971, people were still asking Aston Martin if there were any left at the factory that sat unsold after production ceased on this model. David Brown left the company in 1971, as well, though he remained on the Aston Martin / Lagonda board of directors and later became president.
 
Alright. So the game car looks great; one of the best-lookers of GT2 in my opinion. Let's just gawk at it for a moment!

The wire-spoke wheels on my car won't be replaced by any of the Gran Turismo after-market rims, which look cheap in comparison. The grille work, chrome detailing, and other exterior features are better-than-average looking when compared to many other cars in GT2, probably because Polyphony Digital spent a bit of extra time programming them to look better than average. The DB6 is available in twelve colors, too. Something for everyone.


Some problems? Let's start with 6+ feet of overhang, plus lots of weight…most of which is towards the rear. And we all know what that means! Even though the DB6 looks splendid with its Italian coachwork, it is obviously antiquated and not ready for Gran Turismo at all. So let's take it to the shop and see what we can do to help.
 

 

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----------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN------------------

Actually, there isn't much we can do here. Starting power of 328 @ 6,100 rpms is unusually high for a '60s era 6-cylinder; thanks to those three Weber carburetors and years of racing development. 1st gear is a stump-puller: 2.730 + a 3.730 final drive = a top speed of 47 mph. 2nd gear is shorter, and will redline at about 67, though it can be pushed it to about 71 or so if the driver's not using an auto-tranny. So, the bottom-line acceleration is sweet, though it could have been better had Aston Martin decided to put fatter tires on.
 
At the test track, the DB6 maxed out at 159.20 mph. Pretty healthy. During racing situations, a stock gearbox can safely be used at some tracks with long straights, while close gears are good for short-length tracks.
 
But unfortunately, there are no engine upgrades for the DB6, other than the usual "computer", port & polishing, air-filter & exhaust parts, and engine balancing. No cam & lifter kits, nor any forged, higher-compression pistons. No turbos, either. The parts & services we can tap from will only produce 394 horsepower @ 6,500 rpms at the most when they're all bolted in.


Though the car is ungainly, the car's engine is obviously race-bred. Peak torque is created at a flat band from about 4,000 rpms to the lower 5s, and maximum horsepower shows up just before the redline. Nice work.
 
Despite this, the DB6 Vantage simply falls short because of its lack of upgrades. But look at it this way: the DB6 is more of a novelty than something to rely on throughout GT2. There already are plenty of cars which will compete from the GT Nationals all the way to the World Cup, do we really need more? 

Still, the DB6 Vantage can be placed in plenty of scenarios (but not most of them), and it only costs $38,460. So it's no great loss that we can't win them all in this one.
 

 

---------------CHASSIS / HANDLING------------------

Did you think the lack of aftermarket power was a drawback? Well, here's where things REALLY start to suck.
 
Somehow, the Ai DB6 occasionally seen at the GT British Nationals of Trail Mountain (are really there any mountains in Great Britain?) manages to get around this twisty track without spinning. However, it DOES slide around alot! It does have grip and traction problems, and so will we until the wallet gets unloaded on some parts.
 
Sport tires, a sports or semi-racing suspension, brake controller, and any of the limited-slip differentials are good early buys. Some drivers may want slick tires, too, as well as better brakes, though these aren't quite as necessary for those more experienced.
 
You won't win any races in a stock DB6 Vantage, let's be honest (not without giving yourself an unfair advantage by entering one in the Sunday Cup or something!) The car understeers whether brakes are applied or not, and at times will fishtail and spin even with mild throttle. With a better suspension, alot of the front-end doofiness is stolen, but the coupe's bulky trunk remains an issue to keep under control.
 
But hey, if Sean Connery can look cool in a DB6, so can you!
 


 

PROS

1). You're racing the car driven by Bond... James Bond.
 
2). Classic hand-built coachwork with lots of trim. Polyphony Digital did a great job, the car looks sweet. Available in lots of colors, too.
 
3). Powerful engine. Decent acceleration & 159 mph top speed before upgrades. The engine sounds cool, too. Kind of like a grumble with a slight whistle mixed in.
 
4). Not a bad price for an antique.
 

CONS

1). Too much oversteer? Do ya think? The DB6 is very back-heavy, not much of a sports car.
 
2). The tires make no sense for what was considered to be something which should go on a vehicle which could go fast. They're too narrow ... making the DB6 Vantage hard to control.

...After a tough race, you'll feel like you've been shaken...not stirred. ;-)
 
3). Where are the engine upgrades?
 
4). 3,400 pound coupes have come a long way since the DB6, which needs as much weight removed as can be afforded...and then it STILL handles like a hog!
 
5). Understeer and slides are just as common as the oversteer.
 
6). The DB6 Vantage is too powerful for many races...but doesn't have the handling necessary for some of the more advanced series. Racing career will be short, in other words.
 
7). The brakes, limited-slip, suspension, and tires all need immediate attention even before the engine is touched, or the car races a single race. Might as well throw in a better clutch, too.
 
8). No racing kit. :grumpy:

 

Published: November 30, 2004

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