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Royal wedding wheels for sale at Bonhams

Two Aston Martins nearly identical to Prince Charles' car used by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
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Two Aston Martins virtually identical to that owned by Prince Charles which was on view after the recent Royal Wedding as Prince William drove his new bride from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House, will be on sale at Bonhams auction of Aston Martins on Saturday, May 21, in Newport Pagnell, home of the marque.

If the idea of having a Royal look-alike Aston in the garage appeals, Bonhams offers two: lots 305 and 325. Prince Charles received his car as a 21st birthday present from the Queen. It started a love affair with Astons and in the 1980s. he specified a much more powerful car, a V8 Vantage Volante.

James Knight, Global Head of Collectors Motor Cars at Bonhams, says: “Aston Martins hold a position very close to the heart of Prince Charles. He received his first - the DB6 MKII Vantage Volante - as a 21st birthday present from the Queen. In the 1980s, the V8 model was being produced by Aston Martin and Prince Charles influenced the design by specifying a V8 Volante with Vantage power but without the aggressive looks of the Vantage. This 'wolf in sheep's clothing' spec was adopted by only a few other customers and a limited run of just 25 were built. These cars became known as the V8 Vantage Volante 'Prince of Wales'.”

Bonhams Lot 305, is a 1968 Aston Martin DB6 MkI Volante, Registration no. NEL 762F, estimated to sell for £210,000-240,000. The second is Lot 325, a 1968 Aston Martin DB6 MkI Volante Registration no. PRE 635F, estimated to sell for £200,000-250,000.

Considered by many to be the last "real" Aston Martin, the DB6 was launched in 1965, up-dating the DB5. Although Royal patronage of the marque undoubtedly helped DB6 sales, the car arrived at a difficult time for Aston Martin, with the home economy in a parlous state and the US market subject to ever-more restrictive legislation.

Though recognizably related to its Touring-styled DB4 ancestor, the DB6 abandoned the Superleggera body structure of its predecessors in favour of a conventional steel fabrication. The wheelbase was now 4" (100mm) longer than before, resulting in an extensive restyle with more-raked windscreen, raised roofline and re-shaped rear quarter windows. Opening front quarter lights made a re-appearance, but the major change was at the rear where a Kamm-style tail with spoiler improved the aerodynamics, greatly enhancing stability at high speeds. 'The tail lip halves the aerodynamic lift around maximum speed and brings in its train greater headroom and more luggage space,' declared Motor magazine, concluding that the DB6 was one of the finest sports cars it had tested.

The Tadek Marek-designed six-cylinder engine had been enlarged to 3,995cc for the preceding DB5 and remained unchanged. Power output on triple SU carburetors was 282bhp, rising to 325bhp in Vantage specification. Borg-Warner automatic transmission was offered alongside the standard ZF five-speed gearbox, and for the first time there was optional power-assisted steering.

Premiered at the 1965 London Motor Show, the convertible DB6 marked the first occasion the evocative "Volante" name had been applied to a soft-top Aston Martin. After 37 Volante convertibles had been completed on the DB5 short-wheelbase chassis, the model adopted the longer DB6 chassis in October 1966. The stylish Volante offered four-seat accommodation and was generously appointed with leather upholstery, deep-pile carpets, aircraft-style instrument cluster and an electrically operated hood. A total of 1,575 DB6s was made between 1965 and 1970, plus 140 of the long-wheelbase Volantes.

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