1958 Aston Martin DB MkIII Drophead Coupé Registration no. NMY 486 Chassis no. AM300/3/1759 Engine no. DBD/1412
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 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. 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. Chassis number '1759' is one of 85 DB MkIII drophead coupés made and has the DBD 'Special Series' engine, which was fitted to only 14 examples. Sold new by Brooklands of Bond Street, London, the car was first registered on 24th December 1958 to Commander Kenneth John Douglas-Morris RN of Northwood, Middlesex with his personal cherished number 'RN 70'. Its second owner was another military man, Lt Col Pat Carmichael of Tiverton, Devon, who competed successfully with it at Wiscombe Park in 1964 and 1965. In November 1983 the car passed into the ownership of Ms Audrey Slaughter, editor of 'Honey' magazine, who was then secretary to Dudley Coram at the Mirror Group. In the following June '1759' was acquired by David R Holland, AMOC Public Relations Officer (1974-79), winner of the Bertelli Trophy (1976) and AMOC Secretary (1978). David went on to campaign the DB MkIII with some distinction at Wiscombe, Silverstone, Goodwood and Boreham, as its entry in the AMOC Register testifies. Between 1979 and 1981 the Aston was rebuilt to original specification. In 1991/92 the car featured in the Summer, Autumn and Spring editions of the Aston Martin Magazine and in 1993 featured on the central display at the Stuttgart Motor Show. Four Ashes Garage completely rebuilt the engine in 1994 (at 42,474 miles) while further works undertaken over the next six years included replacing the dynamo and overhauling the brakes (1997); rebuilding the front suspension, fitting a diaphragm clutch and balancing the engine (1998); rebuilding the rear axle with 3.54:1 drive ratio; and overhauling the rear suspension and brakes (2000). Becoming quite a celebrity, 'NMY 486' featured as 'February' in the Aston Martin 2000 Calendar and arrangements got underway the following year's Le Mans Classic for Victor Gauntlet and HRH Prince Michael of Kent to 'borrow' the car to participate in the London to Moscow Rally in 2002. The Aston was extensively prepared by marque specialists R S Williams in anticipation of the trip, which subsequently was cancelled due to the death of HM The Queen Mother. In 2006 the car was acquired by the current owner and immediately despatched to Four Ashes Garage, Stratford-upon-Avon for a complete bare-metal chassis/body refurbishment and conversion of the engine to unleaded compatibility. Everything electrical or mechanical was checked and all items requiring attention were either replaced or updated. The following year (at 54,588 miles) the interior leather upholstery, carpets, hood, hood cover and tonneau were all replaced by The Fullbridge Carriage Restoration Company of Maldon, Essex. In 2010 HRH Price Michael of Kent at last got to borrow the Aston, which he and his party used to visit the Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. His letter of thanks states: 'She turned heads all the way there and back and showed a clean pair of heels to anyone who got too close.' Described by the vendor as in generally excellent condition, 'NMY 486' comes complete with its original instruction and workshop manuals, factory build sheet (copy), current road fund licence, MoT to March 2012, Swansea V5 and a large quantity of historical notes, invoices, photographs and correspondence.