Arizona | Lot 156
1965 Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante
$1,500,000 - $1,750,000 USD | Not Sold
| Scottsdale, Arizona
22 January 2021
- The first year of the celebrated Aston Martin Volante
- One of only 37 examples produced on the DB5 Short-Chassis
- Registered new by Sir George Burton
- Beautiful example, refinished in Gunmetal Grey; equipped with hardtop and soft top
- Restored and maintained by R.S. Williams
- Numbers-matching engine upgraded to 4.7-litre by R.S. Williams
At first glance, it would be easy to mistake this Aston Martin for just another convertible. But for those in the know, the chance to see this particular model in the flesh is a rare treat. One of just 37 ever produced, this rare beauty is the original Volante, the interim combination of the shorter, sportier DB5 chassis with all the luxurious advances of the DB6. Offered here, chassis 2305 is one of the very first Volantes to have rolled off the production line.
A serendipitous creation, the Short-Chassis Volante was made because of several leftover chassis. When DB5 production halted in the fall of 1965, it became apparent that 37 chassis were left over, and could not be used for the longer DB6. Tasked with finding a use for these chassis, Aston Martin management envisioned an “interim” convertible - essentially the last of the DB5 Convertibles with all of the DB6’s numerous refinements. When time came to name this new model, factory man Kent Monk dubbed it the Volante – the Italian for “flying”. The name stuck and has been used to distinguish every open production car since. To distinguish it from the longer DB6 and DB6 Mark II variants, the model is commonly called the Short Chassis Volante.
Like the DB5 Convertible, bodywork was produced using Touring’s patented Superleggera process, of wrapping handcrafted alloy panels around an open lattice of small-diameter steel tubing, for featherlight but rigid coachwork. The Volante was not a DB5 Convertible carbon copy, however, and details visible on chassis 2035 show how the Short Chassis Volante was visually distinct from the earlier DB5 convertible. All four corners feature DB6-specification quarter bumpers as opposed to the DB5 Convertible’s solid chrome bumper with overriders. A look to the rear of chassis 2035 reveals the unique taillight treatment that is neither DB5 nor DB6, and of course showcases the “Volante” logo on the rear deck lid. The interior, shown here in a beautifully patinaed grey leather, is stitched in the V-pattern introduced for the DB6. Completing the high level of comfort and finish, the lined convertible top was made of high-quality Everflex and pebble-grain vinyl, as was used by Rolls-Royce.
Performance-wise, the Volante originally featured the 4.0-liter race-proven all-alloy, twin-cam straight-six powerplant, equipped with triple SU carburetors. To improve modern handling and drivability, chassis 2035 was delivered to R.S. Williams in 2014 who carried out their highly desirable 4.7-liter conversion. The original matching number engine now produces an astounding 330 bhp – an incredible 50 bhp more than the standard 4.0-liter. Also, at this time work was completed on the brake servos, and changes made to ensure the Volante now runs on unleaded fuel. All told, the combination makes for a shining example of the lowest-production convertible Aston Martin ever – justifiably considered the most desirable of all touring Astons.
Originally delivered on the 29 December 1965 chassis number 2035 was just the fifth chassis made to Short Chassis Volante specification. It was produced early enough that it still retains its “DB5C” stamping – changed on later vehicles to “DBVC” - as shown on the corresponding build sheet. Sold through H.W. Motors, the Volante was ordered in Sierra Blue with a Grey Everflex roof to match the interior. In June of 1966, the car was returned to Aston Martin to procure a detachable hardtop in Sierra Blue; the following year repair works were done to the front end, including a complete dismantling of the nearside door. By 1971 the Volante had passed to a new owner and was showing just 28,235 km. Throughout the 1970s chassis 2035 would pass through several owners; in 1977 the Volante was refreshed with a respray in Sierra Blue, and in 1979 R.S. Williams fitted a new hood, carpets, and front seats.
Ronald H. Keeling purchased chassis 2305 in 1983 and retained the Volante for four years before selling it to Dr. Galleon Graetz, who exported the car to Zurich. Early in his ownership, the Short Chassis was resprayed Dark Peacock Blue. Dr. Graetz owned the Volante for nearly 30 years, ensuring the vehicle was kept in tune with yearly maintenance checks performed at Lukas Huni AG. In 2013, Dr. Graetz sold the vehicle through R.S. Williams & Lukas Huni to a private collection. It was while in this ownership that the engine upgrade was performed, and the Volante was also painted its current Gunmetal Grey.
In 2018, the most recent owner commissioned a pre-purchase inspection by R.S. Williams. At that time, it was confirmed that all the major components – chassis, engine, and gearbox – were original as per the build sheet. The car was found to be in good condition and was described as a “lovely original mechanically restored” vehicle with a wonderfully patinaed interior.
Now offered for public sale, this beautifully restored Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante showcases the best of Aston Martin engineering and design. Complete with original components, a 4.7-liter engine upgrade, and a matching hardtop this is a superb example of Aston Martin’s lowest-production convertible ever made.