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A missing link towards the new era, Aston Martin DB5 V8

In the mid-sixties Aston Martin wanted to surpass the inline six engines mounted on its DBs. For this reason, he commissioned Tadek Marek to develop a V8 that would be the mechanical foundation for the brand for two decades. A great job in which this DB5 acted as a test mule.

In the mid-sixties Aston Martin was a fully established company in the world of GTs. However, it also needed a profound renovation in order to continue in that position. Threat, without going any further, by the successful E-Type presented by Jaguar in 1961. Thus, after getting its finances back on track - the mess represented by the two seasons in F1 with the DBR4 and its unsuccessful participation - the British house put all its efforts into surpassing its already classic DB saga.

What's more, although in 1965 it had presented the DB6, it was not an evolution of the designs signed by Touring in previous generations. In addition, Its inline six-cylinder engine was as efficient as it was continuous.. Something to which the absence of an improved rear axle had to be added since, after all, the rigid axle system was still chosen. With all this, although the DB6 was a sensational car in many aspects - reading any proof of the time is a true delight - it was also a twilight manifestation, it obviously needed a replacement.

At this point, Aston Martin management decided to work in three areas in order to present a completely new GT as soon as possible. In this sense, Regarding the bodywork, everything was a surprise. Not in vain, although theoretically Touring was already working on the lines of what would replace the DB, the young designer William Towns presented “Motu Proprio” some drawings in which the future DBS was outlined. What's more, Aston Martin's management was so impressed that he closed all deals with the Italians; thus giving wings to who, in the end, would command the greatest stylistic revolution experienced by the British house.

Likewise, on the technical side it was decided to insist on two aspects. On the one hand, the development of a new V8 engine and, on the other, that of a De Dion axle. All of this entrusted to the historic Tadek Marek. Possibly the most iconic engineer in the entire history of the British house and that, even though he was already in the last stage of his professional career, he took on the challenge ready to establish the mechanical foundation of Aston Martin for at least the next two decades.

However, although William Towns moved quickly - borrowing some elements from existing designs, it must be said - Tadek Marek and his technicians seemed to need more time in order to fine-tune their work. Because of that, In 1967 the DBS saw the light, still mounting the inline six engine typical of the DB6.. In short, a kind of advance while waiting for the long-awaited appearance of the new V8. Of course, what vehicle was this being developed in? What was the callmula"?


In the world of motorsports, few units are as suffered as the so-called “mules”. Conceived for the design, development and fine-tuning process, they cover tens of thousands of kilometers in the most demanding conditions, subjecting themselves to all types of analysis. Furthermore, most of the time they end their days abandoned in some corner of the factory and, in the end, scrapped. However, those that survive usually represent - over time - bitter fights for their property.

And, not in vain, these contain an evident historical significance, being the machines that made it possible to finalize what would end up going to series. Thus, the importance of the Aston Martin DB5 V8 is key, acting as the vehicle capable of uniting two very different eras in itself: the one from the last DB and the one corresponding to the first V8.

Presiding over the whole, its most important piece is, precisely, its engine. Large in size, this can be seen thanks to the generous air intake on the hood, which is not common in standard DBs. Under it, the 5,3 liters of displacement could produce up to about 352 HP.

Approximately 70 HP more than those offered by a DB6. Furthermore, its push from low laps was clearly overwhelming, being, in short, the finishing touch to Tadek Marek's career by managing to lay the foundation on which the Aston Martin range would be based throughout the following decade. What's more, he even reached the nineties with the Virage.

Likewise, the fine-tuning of the De Dion axis was only possible thanks to this “mula” of tests. Subjected to incredible days of work, the DB5 V8 was driven more than 300 miles a day during almost three years of development according to the testimony of testers and technicians of the time. What's more, since these They had to be carried out without moving too far from the factory, Aston Martin employees end up playing cat and mouse with the police on the area's roads, converted into an improvised circuit for high-end cars like this one.

After all that, the experience accumulated over marathon days was used to present, already in 1969, the DBS V8 or, directly, Aston Martin V8. Finally, the GT responsible for launching the brand with guarantees into the next decade. However, despite its incredible history The DB5 V8 only managed to be saved from scrapping thanks to being sold to an enthusiast of the brand. In short, a real luck because, after all, looking at this car is coming face to face with one of the most exciting moments in the history of the British brand. Truly magnificent.

Photographs: Nicholas Mee & Company Ltd

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Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.

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