1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 2/4 Sports Tourer Registration no. GO 1025 (see text) Chassis no. LO 76 Engine no. LO 76
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 years immediately following The Great War. 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 1½-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winning the Biennial Cup at Le Mans in 1932, one of many competition successes achieved before the International was superseded by the Le Mans and Ulster models.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 76th of the 1st Series built. Correspondence on file reveals that a little is known of this International, which was first registered 'GO 1025', other than that the first owner was one B M Cook, who competed with the car in various events in 1932 including the JCC Members' Day at Brooklands where he gained a Silver Medal in the High Speed Trial.
Described as an 'older restoration', the car was purchased by the owner from the Bonhams Goodwood Festival off Speed Sale in July 2009. It joined a large stable of pre and post-war motor cars, with a leaning towards the Aston Martin marque. The acquisition of a 15/98 Speed Model last year for light competition the reason for this charming International to pass onto a new owner. The previous owner - a German national - acquired LO 76 in England in the 1970s and it remained in Germany until its sale at Goodwood in 2009, spending most of its time on museum display and seeing very little use. (It should be noted that the UK logbook was surrendered to the German authorities and it is not known whether the original registration is retrievable). In 2004 LO 76 was sent to marque specialists Ecurie Bertelli in Olney, Bucks for road testing and an extensive service, which included re-bushing the shock absorbers and fitting new front hub bearings (see invoice on file). The 1.5-Litre is the most collectible of the pre-war Astons and this lovely example is eligible for all VSCC and AMOC events.