1958 Aston Martin DB2/4
- Year of manufacture1958
- Chassis numberAM300/3/1522
- Engine numberDBA/1138
- Lot number130
- Exterior colourOther
1958 Aston Martin DB Mark III DHC
Coachwork by Tickford
Chassis no. AM300/3/1522
Engine no. DBA/1138
"Many Aston Martin enthusiasts regard the DB Mark III as the most desirable of the early Feltham cars." - Paul R Woudenberg, Aston Martin Buyers' Guide.
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.
Its accompanying copy guarantee form reveals that this DB Mark III drophead coupé was built in left-hand drive configuration and delivered new to Hans Baruch of Berkeley, California. Although far from a household name, inventor Hans Baruch (1925-2013) is noted for his contributions to the development of scientific apparatus and instruments that revolutionised the fields of clinical chemistry and the practice of medicine. Delivered on 2nd July 1958, '1522' was originally finished in Deep Carriage Green with light cream Connolly leather interior trim and a black Everflex roof. Only one subsequent owner is listed: Ken Lawrence of Pleasant Hill, California (from 1983).
The Aston Martin Owners Club Register lists a number of events entered by '1522', commencing in 1989 when the car was owned by one S T Hamilton. That same year the car received a 1st in class award at the Monterey Festival Concours d'Elegance and was displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours. In 1998, by which time it had been acquired by one J F Rosenstock, '1522' was displayed at the Rodeo Drive Concours and the following year was displayed again at Pebble Beach. Also in 1999, the DB Mark III featured in Sports Car International and Sports Cars Illustrated magazines, and achieved a 1st in class award at the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance.
It is understood that the Aston was restored, incorporating various engine upgrades, while belonging to R F Rosenstock, though, sadly, some of the original historical documents have been lost over the years. In April 2021 the engine was fully rebuilt by Aston Martin Works, who have also repainted and re-trimmed the dashboard. Ready to be enjoyed, this handsome DB Mark III drophead coupé typifies the most attractive of all the Feltham-based company's models of the 1950s.