Year of manufacture1957
Number of seats2
The first disc-braked production chassis
1957 Aston Martin DB MkIII Sports Saloon Project
Registration no. 147 MMC
Chassis no. AM300/3B/1401
Engine no. DBD/1099
Two years after the introduction of the DB2/4 MkII came the DB MkIII - the '2/4' suffix being dropped - 551 of which, mainly saloons, were made between March 1957 and July 1959. Externally the most obvious change was the adoption of a DB3S-style grille, establishing the 'hallmark' look of subsequent Aston Martins. This restyled nose gave 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 had benefited from an extensive redesign by Tadek Marek. 162bhp was available with the single-pipe exhaust system, 178bhp with the optional twin-pipe version. If that still was not enough, customers could opt for more a powerful DBB and (later) DBD 'Special Series' engine. Introduced as an option at the 1958 London Motor Show, the DBD came with triple (sometimes twin) SU carburettors and produced 180bhp or 195 with the twin exhausts. This engine was fitted to 47 cars.
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 MkIII was faster than any of its predecessors with a top speed of 120mph.
Chassis number '1401' is the first of the upgraded production chassis incorporating disc front brakes as standard (hitherto they had been an option) and Alfin rear drums. The accompanying copy build sheet refers to the car as a 'Prototype', lists overdrive transmission as a non-standard feature and records an engine change in November 1959 from 'DBA/997' to 'DBA/1099', though the engine itself is clearly stamped 'DBD/1099'. The original colour scheme was Moonbeam Grey with red interior and the only owner listed is Daily Herald Newspapers (from 18th December 1959).
'1401' had been stored since 1971 when it was offered for sale at Bonhams' auction at Aston Martin Works in May 2011 (Lot 301). Purchased there by the current vendor, the car is in need of full restoration and is sold strictly as viewed. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned copy build sheet, an old-style logbook and a V5 registration document.