The works demonstrator,1930 Aston Martin International 2/4 1½-Litre Sports Tourer  Chassis no. L0 94 Engine no. L0 94
Lot 376
The works demonstrator,1930 Aston Martin International 2/4 1½-Litre Sports Tourer Chassis no. L0 94 Engine no. L0 94
Sold for £89,500 (US$ 148,968) inc. premium
Lot Details
The works demonstrator
1930 Aston Martin International 2/4 1½-Litre Sports Tourer
Registration no. HX 3848
Chassis no. L0 94
Engine no. L0 94


  • Manufactured by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, the first Aston-Martins (the hyphen is correct for the period) rapidly established a reputation for high performance and sporting prowess in the immediate post-WWI years. Unfortunately, the management’s concentration on motor sport, while accruing invaluable publicity, distracted it from the business of manufacturing cars for sale, the result being just 50-or-so sold by 1925 when the company underwent the first of what would be many changes of ownership.
    The foundations were laid for the commencement of proper series production with the formation of Aston Martin Motors Ltd in 1926 under the stewardship of Augustus ‘Bert’ Bertelli and William Renwick. Built at the firm’s new Feltham works, the first ‘new generation’ Aston Martins were displayed at the 1927 London Motor Show at Olympia. Like his predecessors, ‘Bert’ Bertelli understood the effect of competition success on Aston Martin sales and sanctioned the construction of two works racers for the 1928 season. Based on the 1.5-litre, overhead-camshaft road car, the duo featured dry-sump lubrication and this feature was carried over to the International sports model, newly introduced for 1929. Built in two wheelbase lengths (102” and 118”), the International was manufactured between 1929 and 1932, mostly with bodies by Augustus’s brother Enrico ‘Harry’ Bertelli.
    A contemporary road test of an International recorded a top speed of 81mph with up to 90mph attainable, depending on the back-axle ratio. The new Aston was soon making its mark on the racetrack, ‘Bert’ Bertelli and Pat Driscoll winning the Biennial Cup at Le Mans in 1932, one of many competition successes achieved before the International was superseded by the Le Mans and Ulster models. Private owners entered all kinds of competitions, while team drivers included Sammy Davis, Eddie Hall, Cyril Paul and George Eyston.
    This particular car’s chassis number indicates that it was manufactured in December 1930 and is the 94th of the 1st Series built. First registered in April 1931, ‘HX 3848’ was retained as a works demonstrator by Major Charles Harvey, Aston Martin’s Sales Manager and occasional team driver. The car subsequently spent a remarkable 66 years in the hands of the immediately preceding owner’s family, coming into the latter’s possession on the 10th December 1935 when it was purchased from Rowland Smith Motors, of Hampstead, London NW3. All significant correspondence relating to the car’s life over the subsequent seven decades of ownership are contained within the accompanying and most extensive history files, including the original sales invoice (for £150) and a letter from Aston Martin Ltd responding to an enquiry about its condition. This correspondence states that ‘HX 3848’ had covered 24,000 miles at the time of its last visit to the works in February 1935.
    For the next 19 years the International was used as everyday family transport and had covered 117,606 miles by the time it was taken off the road in December 1954 and placed in storage. In 1962, the car’s restoration was commenced using original parts wherever possible, the most significant deviations being a new block and the conversion of the engine to shell bearings and up-rated pre-war specification (see photographs, bills and other paperwork on file).
    This most meticulous and sympathetic restoration proceeded steadily for the next 30-or-so years, and was finally completed on Good Friday 1995. Almost every significant feature revealed during the rebuild was faithfully recorded and this remarkable attention to detail has ensured that ‘HX 3848’ remains outstandingly original. One of the finest examples of the International series to survive, the car has an enviable tally of concours awards to its credit, the first of which was gained in the summer of 1995 at the AMOC’s Diamond Jubilee St John Horsfall meeting at Silverstone where it was judged ‘Best Newcomer’. Over the succeeding five seasons the International won its class at every club concours event entered and is very well known in AMOC circles.
    ‘HX 3848’ was purchased at auction by the current owner in March 2001, since when it has formed part of his important historic collection and been maintained regardless of cost. Driven by the vendor, it has competed at the Wiscombe Park Hill Climb and AMOC Goodwood Sprint and remains in excellent condition, a credit to its original restorers’ efforts and the vendor’s careful stewardship.
    Beautifully finished in black with dark red wings and matching leather upholstery, ‘HX 3848’ is one of the most well documented Internationals to be offered in recent years. The accompany files encompass every aspect of its life: restoration bills and receipts, concours win reports, assorted correspondence, the original buff log books, 1935 sales receipt, all are contained within. Eligible for all VSCC and AMOC events, ‘HX 3484’ is ‘on the button’, driving without fault and ready to grace any concours lawn.
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