1959 Aston Martin DB MkIII Drophead Coupé Coachwork by Tickford Registration no. 303 EXT Chassis no. AM300/3/1842 Engine no. DBA/1481
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 MkII came the DB MkIII - 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 MkIII was faster than any of its predecessors with a top speed of 120mph. Unbeknown to many, the DB MkIII 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. Chassis number '1842' is one of only 85 DB MkIII drophead coupés made and retains its original engine, '1481'. The car was acquired by the present owner - a major collector and owner of many Aston Martins - in 2005, since when it has been maintained by the resident engineer. '303 EXT' was purchased from a Mr P Patten of London, who had owned the Aston since 1970. The car has been the subject of a past restoration to a high standard and although aged a little is still very presentable, even under close scrutiny, its engine healthy and running well. It should be noted that the odometer reading of 07486 represents a distance of 107,486 miles covered from new. Its owner's collection having grown and evolved, the MkIII is now available to another collector who will no doubt use and enjoy the car as much as the present owner has. Finished in Gunmetal Grey with red leather interior, the latter in very good condition, this very well presented example comes complete with hood bag and tonneau and is offered with fresh MoT/tax, Swansea V5 document, old-style logbook and a large file containing correspondence and bills for work carried out dating back to 1969.