1958 Aston Martin DB MkIII Sports Saloon Coachwork by Tickford Registration no. 631 EUT Chassis no. AM300/3/1704 Engine no. DBA/1345
Although it never featured in a James Bond film, having ceased production years before the franchise commenced, the DB MkIII nevertheless was the Aston Martin driven by '007' in Ian Fleming's novel, 'Goldfinger'. It was the last Aston Martin produced with the W O Bentley-designed six-cylinder engine, which by the time of its introduction had been enlarged to 3.0litres and extensively revised by Tadek Marek. In total, 851 chassis were completed between March 1957 and July 1959, some 310 being exported to the USA.
Chassis number '1704' was purchased new by Cyril Williams Motors of Wolverhampton as a demonstrator. The accompanying copy build sheet shows that the car was equipped with disc front brakes and Alfin rear drums, and was finished in Elusive Blue with blue grey Connolly leather trim. Overdrive, a twin exhaust system, chromed road wheels, Bosch fog and spot lamps, a large heater and a lower (4.09:1) rear axle ratio are recorded as items of non-standard equipment.
Additional owners listed are one E N B Carmichael of Hereford, who acquired the Aston in April 1959 and presumably was its first private owner, and the current vendor. The latter had bought the Aston in 1980 from Mike Moss who had discovered the car in a chicken shed earlier that year; it had been in an accident and the bonnet was damaged. '631 EUT' was nevertheless delivered in running condition.
An accomplished mechanical engineer with a lifetime's experience, the vendor replaced the original, cracked cylinder head with the more reliable 'VB6J' type, which has hard valve seats. The replacement head was X-rayed as a precaution (films on file). Using concealed aluminium adaptor plates, the original inlet manifolds were retained to preserve the correct 'DBA' appearance while the water circulation to the manifolds was blanked off as bimetallic corrosion was starting to occur. The original head was donated, as a model, for the newly produced aluminium type available today.
The damaged bonnet's internal steel structure was replaced (photographs on file) and the Aston used as exhilirating transport for some 12 years before it was decided to have it professionally restored. However, little progress was made and the car was stored in a heated and dehumidified garage for the next 20-or-so years. By this time the owner had had a new front windscreen made by Triplex and this item, still plastic wrapped, goes with car together with a new rubber seal.
While '631 EUT' was on the road, the owner had replaced the gearbox lay-shaft and the kingpins, and altered the blind Dowty seals to allow grease to pass the bearings rather than enter a blind cavity. Other parts renewed include the ball joints, trailing link suspension arm seals and a rear brake cylinder, while the heater fan was modified with a centrifugal blade arrangement. The original fan is included in the sale together with a specially made brass front grille and perimeter wire, yet to be brazed and plated.
The shock absorbers were calibrated (results available) and new road springs fitted. The vendor also hand scraped the cylinder block in situ with reference to a surface plate to achieve a perfect fit, which successfully cured the wet liners' top seating problem. A specialist firm rebuilt the wheels, spare included.
Its owner having inherited a large Vintage-era Vauxhall, the Aston, although cosseted, was rather neglected, though the cylinder bores were lubricated and the engine turned over on the starter every so often. It last ran 15 years ago. We are advised that oil pressure was always very good and that a recent compression test produced encouraging readings of 100psi in all cylinders. Having reached retirement age and finding himself busier than ever, the vendor has reluctantly decided that the Aston would be best served in the hands of a new owner.
Offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed, the car is believed - though not guaranteed - complete apart from the windscreen's chromed surround, one 'Tickford' badge and the front numberplate box, while the toolbox is empty. Accompanying documentation consists of the aforementioned copy build sheet, sundry bills, old-style logbook and Swansea V5. A most worthwhile project for the dedicated Aston Martin enthusiast.