by James Kraus
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service presented quite a challenge to loyal Bond moviegoers. Not only was Sean Connery replaced, so was the legendary Aston Martin of Goldfinger and Thunderball; the M-enhanced DB5 incorporating the “usual refinements” that had become integral to Bond mythology. In its place was a new Aston, the DBS.
The first real 1960s Aston, the DBS debuted in September of 1967 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Unlike its two predecessors, it was a clean-sheet design with crisper, trimmer lines and a widened grill incorporating quad headlights fitted with quartz-iodine lamp units. It’s new aluminium new body was the first Aston styled by in-house designer William Towns. The crisp, planer lines and fastback roofline were a dramatic departure from the designs of the earlier Touring-bodied Astons, echoing styling cues from the Maserati Ghibli and Fiat Dino Coupé.
The DBS retained the 4-litre twin-cam six in both standard and higher-output Vantage versions along with the 5-speed gearbox of the DB6, but at the rear was a new De Dion rear suspension, the first IRS on an Aston Martin. Bond’s DBS was a Series I finished in Metalichrome Olive with black leather interior. The DBS was the last Aston to be fitted with spoke wheels and the last Aston Martin developed under the stewardship of Aston’s most illustrious owner; David Brown, the man who put the DB in the DB series.
In 1970, fifteen DBS models were equipped with a British-built AE-Brico electronic fuel injection system, identified on the wing vent trim with DBS F.I. badges. The system had its problems, and similar to the fate of Chrysler products fitted with the Bendix Electrojector system a decade earlier, most of the injected DBS’s were later retrofitted by Aston with Weber carburettors.
While Bond aficionados associate the DBS with George Lazenby, a DBS also provided transport for a future James Bond: Roger Moore. As Lord Brent Sinclair in the 1971-72 TV show The Persuaders! Roger piloted a Bahama Yellow DBS. Ironically, despite his unprecedented thirteen-year, seven-film stint as Agent 007; Moore’s character would be the only James Bond never to drive an Aston Martin.