1958 Aston Martin DB MkIII Sports Saloon Coachwork by Tickford Registration no. NCH 888 Chassis no. AM300/3/1690 Engine no. DBA/1319
Although it never featured in a James Bond film, having ceased production years before the franchise commenced, the DB MkIII nevertheless was the Aston Martin driven by '007' in Ian Fleming's novel, 'Goldfinger'. It was also the last Aston Martin produced with the W O Bentley-designed six-cylinder engine. 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, 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. 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 MkIII was faster than any of its predecessors with a top speed of 120mph.
Between 2012 and 2014 this DB MkIII has belonged to film star Orlando Bloom, arguably best known for his role as Will Turner in the immensely successful 'Pirates of the Caribbean' series of motion pictures. Forever busy in the USA, Orlando found little time to visit the UK but enjoyed driving his DB MkIII whenever circumstances allowed.
Its accompanying copy guarantee form shows that chassis number '1690' was sold to Swift Motor Services of Derby for use as a demonstrator. Two subsequent owners are recorded: Mr Norman Jordan of Wirksworth, Derbyshire and one J L Bostock of Darton, Yorkshire, though neither change of ownership is dated. The original colour scheme was Deep Carriage Green with matching interior trim, while an overdrive unit is the only item of non-standard equipment listed. In August 1971 the Aston passed from one D C Fieldhouse of Bradford to the immediately preceding owner, the late Sydney Benson, and was cherished as part of his private collection for the next 40 years.
Accompanying documentation consists of a V5C registration document, old-style continuation logbook (issued 1971), a quantity of expired MoT certificates, current MoT and a file of bills, mostly from marque specialists Post Vintage Engineers of Otley, West Yorkshire.
Produced for only two years, the DB MkIII represents the culmination of Aston Martin's first post-war design, which had succeeded in establishing the British company as one of the world's foremost producers of fine GT cars. 'NCH 888' is an exceptionally original example of this rare landmark model and one which will any serious collector would be proud to own.