[An extract from my archives on classic automotive motoring.]
To drive it is exactly everything you’d hope for out of a classic grand tourer. Low-sporty seating position with perfect visibility over the long and curvaceous bonnet. The steering wheel is a mammoth wooden artifact, but it doesn’t matter. Because when you’re exercising the Aston through corners and rotating that giant wooden wheel running hand over hand until you have exhausted the roads chicanes, it all kind of makes sense and you wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t want the steering to be any tighter or quicker on the rack, it is second nature of the car and part of the driving experience.
The DB6’s acceleration has a hint of rear end weight. Not in the sense that it’s dragging its bottom along, but that when putting your foot down, the back digs in like a rugby player in scrimmage. Its not ever slipping or losing grip but you get this fantastic sensation of aggression from the inline six as the rear presses down like an athlete ready to bolt from the start line. It’s not neck breaking or whiplash inducing, it is very refined and straight to the point but further establishes the theatre when giving it a bit of a tickle. The ride of the car is soft and floaty. Not wayward enough that it feels like a cumbersome Rolls Royce, but it irons out the imperfections of the road and comfortably nestles you in the luxuriously fitted cabin. You can’t escape that the old brit is a tad heavy, and it won’t appreciate being thrown into corners with the courage to the likes of the Spitfire pilots at war.
It is much more rewarding extorting delicate precision from the cars engine and weight by giving a small tap of the brakes, a transfer of weight to the inside wheel and a delicate guide of the nose through the bend to clip the apex. Then you can bury your right foot, make the noise come on until your hair stands on end thanks to that straight-six’s howl as it resonates into the cabin and through every fibre of your being.
And what a dirty noise it is. It isn’t ear piercing like the V12s of today. It is just so visceral and alive as it sucks in air through the triple sidedraft Webers and dumps excess fuel into the extractors on the overrun. It is very calm and collected at the low end rev range and creates this beautiful hum from the inline six as every piston sings in perfect harmony. But when you give the engine a poking with the excitement stick, passed 3000rpm it all comes together, windows down and the Aston is belting along with a mix of deep baritones and high tenor notes like Barry White gargling bees. It is just an incredibly romantic and lovable piece of machinery and is the perfect example of what Aston can do with internal combustion.
The Garage Journal continues to poke a stick at modern motoring because we think that cars of today just don’t cut the mustard when it comes to the sensation of driving. There really is nothing like giving a classic Aston the full beans at 5am in an abandoned national park. It is this very experience that justifies why we love it so much. Sure a modern DB9 would probably make your heart rate spike to a dangerous level, but with a DB6, when it all comes together and you fire up that gorgeous straight six, put on some sunnies and go for a cruise. Nothing will put a bigger smile on your face.