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The Aston Martin brand carries weight beyond just the cars. The James Bond franchise has set the marque aside as the one of the top-shelf luxury brands for those with taste and discernment. Even when we find a paintless hull of a 1968 Aston Martin DBS barn find, that legacy carries through. Although it may not look like much in the shape it’s in, there is still a sense of class. However, this particular find gives custom car builders a unique opportunity.

1968 Aston Martin DBS parked at a car show
1968 Aston Martin DBS | Wikimedia Commons

Aston Martin DBS project discovered

This enticing project car was discovered in a barn in the U.K. in a rough shape. It is only a shell with a few various body panels. There is no engine, transmission, interior, wiring, or any other bits you might want if you were going to drive it. To many, this might feel like a shame to have such a lovely and rare car missing so many parts, and I get that. The owner certainly gets that, given that the car would command a fair bit more money if it were complete. However, if you look at it through the right lens, its condition is an opportunity. 

According to Silodrome, if it had all the right bits, you’d expect to see the same 4.0-liter version of the earlier DOHC Tadek Marek-designed straight-six that powered the previous models you might have heard of, the DB4, DB5, and DB6. While this engine is plenty cool, the remains of the ’68 Aston Martin DBS we see here came months too early and missed the iconic Tadek Marek-designed Aston Martin V8, debuting in 1969.

The inline-six was no slouch at 289 hp. However, it really couldn’t compete with the 320-hp 5.4-liter that would soon replace it in the DBS. 

Roached project cars can be cool too

A silver 1968 Aston Martin DBS
1968 Aston Martin DBS | Wikimedia Commons

The trouble with rare vintage cars is that there is a lot of judgment and shame surrounding how they get restored. On the one hand, I get it. It would be a shame to see someone mar an original Porsche 356 unnecessarily. On the other hand, it’s a shame to limit the creativity of custom car builders. That’s why cars like this Aston are so fun. 

It’s a cool and interesting vintage car that can never be put right again, seeing as how it’s just a hull. That’s not to say that a collector working on a proper restoration wouldn’t want the body to complete an original project. Still, it’s also open to the custom builders without too much fear of fussing from the original car peeps. 

Silodrome also highlights the fact that because most of the parts are missing, this car is most likely headed for a restomod of some kind. In fact, the trend of replacing vintage car engines with electric motors is gaining momentum. This is especially true in certain European countries and even U.S. states where internal combustion engines might get highly regulated in the near future. 

Is it best to keep a vintage car original?

This is simply a case-by-case thing to consider. If a vintage car is mostly original and can be brought back to its factory spec, most people would suggest you do that. Original cars are almost always more valuable to collectors than custom cars. However, there are exceptions to that rule, of course. 

This Aston Martin DBS barn find is a perfect candidate for someone with the skills and imagination to build a DBS unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The potential of breathing new life and function into a masterful vintage design is pretty dang exciting.