The factory Vantage prototype, 'DP217' 1963 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon Project Registration no. DMM 3A Chassis no. DB5/1451/R Engine no. 400/1738
'Like all classic GT cars, it combines enormous speed with comfort and the more you put into your driving, the more the car returns for your entertainment. And the DB5 really is entertaining to anyone who can exploit its outstanding performance, handling and brakes. It will also carry four people (just) and a fair amount of luggage so the merits of family transport (if need be) have not been entirely sacrificed to speed and elegant looks.' Motor.
The car offered here, chassis number 'DB5/1451/R', is recorded in the AMOC Register as 'DP217' (Development Project 217), the prototype of the high performance Vantage model, which was fitted in 1963 with what was described as a 'GT engine'. Significantly, the copy guarantee form records the 'purchaser' as Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd and the engine number as '406/AMP/R', a non-production designation, while the accompanying old-style continuation logbook (issued June 1966) lists the model as 'DP217'. The engine number is recorded as '400/1738', so presumably the car had been fitted with a standard production engine prior to its sale by the factory. This logbook further states that it has been 'certified that chassis no. DB5/1451/R is original chassis renumbered but not changed' and it should be noted that the logbook has been stamped 'seriously damaged vehicle insurance total loss payment.' The last owner recorded in the logbook is Dr Raymond Arthur Cocks of Highworth, Wiltshire, who appears to have acquired the DB5 in 1976 (stamp smudged and indistinct). Once its prototype duties were over, this car, registered 'DMM 3A', formed part of Aston Martin's press fleet and was road tested by Autocar magazine in 1964 (18th September edition). The only owner listed on the guarantee form is Mr Charles Baldwin of 'Charles of Mayfair', Bristol.
At some time in the late 1970s the Aston was acquired by the late owner, proprietor of the specialist motor body repair business Auto Clinic in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. It is worthwhile noting that Trowbridge is only some 45 miles by road from Dr Cocks' home at Highworth. On file is a list (on Auto Clinic headed notepaper) detailing the parts required to repair frontal damage, so it seems likely that, following its accident, 'DMM 3A' was purchased as a write off by Auto Clinic with a view to eventual restoration. However, the owner postponed the rebuild, intending that it should be his 'last job', but sadly his health deteriorated and it was never proceeded with after the engine and gearbox had been removed. Both these items are with car, which also comes with the numberplate, ignition key, correctly stamped chassis plate and the aforementioned continuation logbook. Offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed, this 'barn find' DB5 represents a wonderful opportunity for the dedicated Aston Martin enthusiast to bring one of the marque's historic 'DP' prototypes back to life.