1957 Aston Martin DB Mark III Drophead Coupé Conversion Chassis no. AM/300/3/1361 1957 Aston Martin DB Mark III Drophead Coupé Conversion Registration no. SFO 914 Chassis no. AM/300/3/1361
The need to widen the appeal of the already-successful DB2 resulted in the launch in October 1953 of the 2+2 DB2/4. Extensive revisions to the car's rear end arrangements made room for two occasional seats and more luggage, the latter being accessed via a hatchback rear door - one of this now-common feature's earliest applications.
Two years after the introduction of the mildly restyled DB2/4 Mark II came the DB Mark III - the '2/4' suffix being dropped - 551 of which, mainly saloons, were made between March 1957 and July 1959, some 55% of which were exported. Externally the most obvious change was the adoption of a DB3S-style grille, establishing the 'hallmark' look of subsequent Aston Martins, which had been drawn up by Tickford designer, Bert Thickpenny. This restyled nose give the car a more imposing look, while the interior boasted a redesigned dashboard with instruments grouped in a cowled panel ahead of the driver.
The 3.0-litre engine benefited from an extensive redesign by Tadek Marek (newly arrived from Austin) and featured, among other improvements, a stiffer block, stronger crankshaft and a new cylinder head with bigger valves. A maximum output of 162bhp was available with the single-pipe exhaust system, 178bhp with the optional twin-pipe version. Elsewhere there were improvements to both clutch and gearbox; Laycock overdrive became available and front disc brakes were standard rather than optional after the first 100 cars had been built, commencing at chassis '1401'. Despite the inevitable weight increase, the Mark III was faster than any of its predecessors with a top speed of 120mph. Total DB Mark III production amounted to 551 cars, of which 85 were drophead coupés and four were fixed-head coupés.
Unbeknown to many, the DB Mark III is another 'James Bond' Aston Martin, appearing in Ian Fleming's novel 'Goldfinger', though by the time the book made it to the screen the DB5 was the current model so that was used instead.
A matching-numbers example, this DB Mark III was delivered new to Aston Martin's United States East Coast agent J S Inskip as a Tickford-bodied saloon in left-hand drive configuration. Originally finished in Storm Grey with red Connolly hide interior trim, '1361' was delivered on 4th November 1957 to its first owner, a Mr Charles Berrick of New York, USA.
Many years later, in 1988, the car found its way back to the UK, arriving in highly original but rather tired condition. Its new owner, a Mr Benson, then commissioned a full restoration, which was undertaken by well-known Aston Martin specialists Post-Vintage Engineers between 1989 and 1996 (see history file). It was decided that the original body was in such poor condition that a replacement would be required. Accordingly, an original Tickford body was sourced from Aston Service Dorset and then converted to the desirable drophead coupe configuration. At the same time the car was converted from left- to right-hand drive, and the colour scheme changed to dark blue with grey interior. Post-Vintage Engineers remembers this car well and has followed it for most of its life since the 1980s.
In 2006, the car was sold by Post-Vintage Engineers to a Mr B Halton. Further work was undertaken over the next five years, mainly servicing and maintenance, mostly by Aston Martin specialists Four Ashes Garage. In 2012, this DB Mark III participated in the AMOC's Windsor Concours of Elegance, and in 2014 was bought by the current owner to form part of his distinguished classic car collection. An older restoration showing virtually no signs of age, the car remains in lovely condition. We have had the pleasure of driving it a few miles and can report that it performed excellently.
A head-turner at any event and the ultimate evolution of the DB2/4 model, the car is offered with a copy guarantee form confirming the chassis and engine numbers; Post-Vintage Engineers' quote, correspondence, and invoices for the 1989-1996 restoration; invoices from Four Ashes Garage for work carried out; a quantity of expired MoTs; and old/current UK V5C Registration Certificates.