By order of the executors of David Francis Ettridge deceased Barn Discovery, 47,226 miles, last MoT 1979 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon Registration no. CNH 20 Chassis no. DB5/1760R Engine no. 400/1749
Original-condition 'barn discoveries' in need of restoration continue to fascinate the true enthusiast for whom there can be no greater satisfaction than returning a once-great thoroughbred motor car to its former glory. For aficionados of Aston Martin, the DB5 offered here represents a wonderful opportunity to engage in a thoroughly rewarding project.
Chassis number '1760/R' was sold new in December 1964 via Cyril Williams Motors Ltd of Wolverhampton and first registered 'CJW 606B'. It was delivered finished in Sierra Blue metallic and equipped with the ZF five-speed gearbox, 3.37:1 final drive ratio, adjustable rear shock absorbers, heated rear window and a radio. The original owner was one W E Douglas-Osborn of Stourbridge, Worcester, who took delivery on 5th December 1964 but kept the car for only three months. On 5th March 1965, Terence Warren-Green of Charlton Kings, Gloucester acquired the DB5, keeping the car until June 1966 when Charles N Hill of Sidmouth, Devon became the third owner. Shortly thereafter the registration was changed to 'CNH 20', which was still on the car when the deceased owner, David Ettridge, purchased it from Mr Hill in February 1972. Sadly, David Ettridge passed away in March 2011 and his executors have now instructed Bonhams to sell the car.
Its late owner had first seen the Aston outside Deans Station Road Garage in Sidmouth. He telephoned Mr Hill and the checklist from that 'phone conversation is on file together with his comments on viewing the car, dictated to his wife! These reveal that there appeared to be no trace of under-body corrosion, although there were superficial marks on the right and left side door/wing and the car obviously needed a service. It would appear that no service history was available, only the original logbook, a DB5 Instruction Manual and an MoT certificate.
Mr Ettridge agreed to buy the Aston for £1,500 (approximately £14,000 in today's money) subject to the results of a detailed inspection by Brixham's Central Garage, whose proprietor was an Aston Martin owner. 'CNH 20' was handed over with 37,282 miles recorded on the odometer. David Ettridge's notes on driving the DB5 are on file together with the condition report compiled by Central Garage, which carried out the badly needed service and gave the car a thorough 'going over', drawing up an action list of works required. Accompanying detailed service records and invoices list the works carried out and parts replaced, together with dates and mileage (inspection recommended). Although the most recent tax disc on file is 1977, we feel the DB5 was last taxed in 1979 to correspond with the last MoT on file of September 1979 (at 47,190 miles). 'CNH 20' was then laid up, the current odometer reading being 47,226 miles, an increase of only 36 miles in some 30-plus years.
There were various periods during the 1970s - fuel crisis, economic downturns, reduced need to do longer trips, etc - where the car effectively had been laid up and off the road. During these periods it was routinely taken out for an up-to-temperature run, or at the least pushed in/out of the garage to ensure the brakes were free. From 1980 onwards the Aston was not started, remaining parked sardine-like with the owner's collection of other cars.
David Ettridge was an active member of the Aston Martin Owners Club, becoming the Area Representative for Devon and Cornwall and serving as Fire Marshall at the AMOC's Wiscombe Park hill climb for several years, which gave him the opportunity to drive the DB5 up the hill at the end of each day, which he greatly enjoyed. Correspondence on file, including a letter from then AML Chairman, Victor Gauntlett, seems to indicate that David was trying to establish a 'spares register' within the AMOC to help members retain access to parts for their cars following the factory's announcement that it was selling a schedule of 'redundant' parts for models DB4-DB6. There is also correspondence from members rebuilding their Astons, including one from the USA and another from Nigeria.
Given that the DB5 has been in active use for less than a third of its 48 years, covering fewer than 48,000 miles in the process, it is not surprising that its condition appears generally very good. The body is straight and appears solid, with very good panel fit, while the glass is similarly good, displaying no visible cracks or chips. An older and quite possibly original application, the paint adheres very well, with no noticeable blistering or bubbling, although it has been over-polished in places, most noticeably the passenger door and near-side sidelight area.
Surface pitting is evident on the chromed trim (multiple pinpricks as opposed to flaking) while the other brightwork the polished bare metal trim, etc is good. The painted wheels have surface corrosion, and the tyres although with good tread and holding air would need replacing due to age.
Inside, the carpets are generally good, as is the headlining, sun visors and door trim. The leather upholstery naturally shows creasing and gentle rubbing to beaded areas, although in a charming (as opposed to worn) way. Looking all present and correct, the engine bay appears typical of a car that has been in long-term storage and not used. Surface corrosion is evident but of little consequence. A mouse's nest (made of shredded newspaper) is still in place. As the car appeared to have been in full working order when laid up in the late 1970s, we assessed the possibility of firing the engine. After the normal preliminary procedures, we are pleased to report that the car has been started and taken to operating temperatures, initially using an auxiliary fuel supply, and now via the main tank. Water temperature and oil pressure readings were normal, although as one would expect it is in dire need of tuning. We will not start the car again, the project was to establish whether the engine ran and we appreciate the new owner may wish to strip and assess the engine themselves. We can also confirm that it has a badly worn exhaust.....
The history file contains the aforementioned correspondence, notes and receipts; a DB5 instruction book and sales brochure/specification sheet; five expired MoTs (including pre- and post-purchase certificates); a 1977 tax disc; the original logbook; and Swansea V5 registration document. The car also comes with a tool roll and the original leather/copper wheel nut hammer.
Bonhams has handled many barn-discovery Aston Martins in the past and none of them has been in as good a condition as this example. It requires restoration in the true sense of the word: refurbishing existing components and preserving as much of the original integrity as possible.
We very much doubt we will offer another DB5 like CNH 20 again.