Aston Martin DB3S Comes to Market

Yorkshire-based Aston Martin specialists Post Vintage Engineers are selling DB3S/116, a car used in one of the most famous 1950s motor racing films, The Rank Organisation’s thriller Checkpoint.

As a successor to the Eberan Eberhorst-designed DB3, the DB3S was an altogether better-looking racing car, with all-new chassis and rear suspension but retaining the successful 2922cc, six-cylinder engine and David Brown gearbox. It was senior design engineer Willie Watson’s project and in its first year of works competition, 1953, won every race it entered – bar one, sadly, the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In 1954, Aston's stylist Frank Feeley came up with the timeless ‘gothic arch’ bodywork. Although the factory was to be somewhat distracted by the V12 Lagonda project that year, and had generally poor results, it was felt there was enough privateer demand to offer the DB3S to wealthy amateur racers.

The car was launched at the London Motor Show in October 1954, priced at £3684.00.

Chassis DB3S/116 was one of the limited run of production cars and was delivered new to Pinewood Studios in April 1956. Purchased by The Rank Organisation, it was to feature in the movie Checkpoint (premiered later that year), a tale of industrial espionage and derring-do based on the Mille Miglia road race. As an aside, a few years later, an ex-works DB3S was to star in another black and white classic of the period, Associated British Picture Corporation’s School for Scoundrels.

The film company disposed of the car in 1961 and from then until 2000 it was driven on the road, raced and hillclimbed (mainly in Scotland, in Tim Henderson’s 33-year-long ownership). When the well-known British racing driver, car dealer and collector Frank Sytner bought the car in 2000, it had already been the subject of extensive restoration by experts including Rod Jolley Coachworks.

Sytner continued this meticulous race-preparation, entrusting Jim Stokes with the task of making the car race-ready. As a result of Stokes’ expert attention, in 2002 the car won the Freddie March Memorial Trophy at the Goodwood Revival, a 90-minute ‘twilight’ race.

At the following year's Revival, Sir Stirling Moss (an original works Aston driver) took the wheel of DB3S/116 for another run in the Goodwood Nine Hours-inspired race.

An ideal mount for the Mille Miglia retrospective, the Le Mans Classic and any number of other top-flight events worldwide, DB3S/116 comes complete with FIA papers and is ready to race.

For further information, contact Adrian Johnson of Post Vintage Engineers on +44 (0)1132 843666 or email [email protected].

Click HERE to see all the cars for sale offered by Post Vintage Engineers in the Classic Driver car database.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Post Vintage Engineers

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