Held at Aston Martin’s former base in Newport Pagnell, now home to the Aston Martin Works division, the Bonhams sale saw a capacity crowd pack out the restoration workshops with the DB3S being the flagship sale of the 250-lot May auction.
Estimated to sell for between £6 million and £7 million, the legendary racer didn’t quite pull in the bids on the day – but it wasn’t through any lack of provenance from the car.
The Aston Martin DB3S even carries Sir Stirling Moss’ signature on the rear racing number roundel – and was offered for sale with an array of period images showing it in action during the 1950s.
An Aston Martin Works heritage certificate was also included in the sale: this was displayed in a cabined next to the car during the Works auction.
The former car of Aston Martin’s famous owner David Brown, it was built using an experimental glass fibre body in early 1953. The road car was later commandeered by the factory to go racing though, after it lost a number of cars in the 1954 Le Mans race: and so began another of many chapters in this storied cars’ life.
The seasoned racing car was driven by a range of stars in the 1950s, including Peter Collins, Tony Brookes, Roy Salvadori, Reg Parnell and F1 champ Graham Hill. It was a serial winner throughout the 1950s, until crashing in 1958.
So serious was the damage, the car was rebuilt with a new body – which saw it take on a second life as a film star. The restyled Aston was driven by Terry Thomas’ character Raymond Delauney in School for Scoundrels. It was then sold again and, fittingly, began racing again, including in the Le Mans Historic events which began in the 1970s.
Fully restored by Aston Martin Works in 2014 (work costing more than £300,000), the DB3S’ appeal was further enhanced by its eligibility for the Mille Miglia, which ran on the same weekend. That and the fact it’s one of only 30 cars.
But although it didn’t sell in the 2016 Aston Martin Works sale, plenty of other cars and automobilia did. Come back later for Motoring Research’s rundown of the 25 cars that made almost £4 million on the day…