1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH
Lot 343
1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER
Registration no. 866 XUM Engine no. LB6V50507 Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH
£ 150,000 - 200,000
US$ 200,000 - 260,000

Lot Details
1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH 1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER  Engine no. LB6V50507  Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH
1953 ASTON MARTIN SPECIAL SPORTING TWO-SEATER
Registration no. 866 XUM
Engine no. LB6V50507 Gearbox no. DBRW/152/RH
This most interesting and well-finished sporting two-seater is based upon an Aston Martin DB3S-type chassis frame, and is equipped with a 2.6-litre Aston Martin 6-cylinder double-overhead camshaft engine, driving via a David Brown Aston Martin racing gearbox to the rear wheels.

This is a well-known car which has been campaigned in recent years. Its origins date back to the early-1950s when Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd first contemplated manufacture of a single-seat Grand Prix racing Formula 2 car. An early prototype was assembled, using a mildly-developed 2-litre version of the company’s familiar 2.6-litre engine, mounted in a modified DB3-type chassis. However, contemporary Technical Director Prof Dr Robert Eberan von Eberhorst rejected the notion and the car was quickly dismantled and forgotten.

However, soon afterwards the International governing body, the Commission Sportive of the FIA global authority, announced a new 2½-litre Formula 1 to which World Championship Grand Prix races would be run from January 1, 1954 forward. Late in 1953, Aston Martin contemplated the category once more, but on a very low priority. The project was given the classification DP155, the car comprising an un-numbered DB3S sports car-type chassis frame powered by a 2½-litre version of the Willie Watson-designed 2.9-litre Aston Martin power unit. The 2½-litre engine was subsequently installed in works Aston Martin DB3S sports-racing car chassis No 5, which Reg Parnell drove to good effect in that year’s British Empire Trophy race. This prompted contemporary rumours that Aston Martin was considering an entry into Grand Prix competition. Such stories were denied but the belief that this was the case intensified when the Feltham factory confirmed that Reg Parnell would be racing a DB3S-based single-seater car in New Zealand during the opening weeks of 1956.

In fact ‘Uncle Reg’ had identified the far-away New Zealand races as offering very useful motor racing earnings during the northern hemisphere winter. The prototype DP155 was dusted off with its original drum-braked 1953 chassis, and it was fitted with the supercharged 3-litre engine which Parnell had used with co-driver Roy Salvadori at Le Mans in 1954. Aston Martin’s legendary stylist Frank Feeley designed the single-seater DP155’s bodywork, hampered by the high-set drivers’ seat which was perched above the propeller shaft. The supercharged engine then exploded while being tested by Parnell at Silverstone so DP155 was shipped ‘down under’ with the 2½-litre unit installed.

It promptly threw a connecting rod during practice for the first race of the series – the New Zealand Grand Prix at Ardmore Aerodrome – denying Parnell a race start. A new 3-litre power unit was then flown out and installed in time for the Lady Wigram Trophy race at Christchurch, South Island, where Reg Parnell finished fourth. In the subsequent Dunedin Road Race, Uncle Reg finished second in DP155, and he placed second again in the final round of the New Zealand tour, at Invercargill.

The car offered here effectively pays homage to that New Zealand tour Aston Martin DP155, after which it has been modelled, and whose basic appearance it resembles, for good reason. It is believed that the bodywork fitted to the car is that from DP155 following a rebuild in the 1960s by the inveterate special builder Geoff Richardson of RRA racing car fame where the original car was converted to two-seater specification.
Upon the return to the UK of the original Aston Martin DP155 works car in 1956, it was sold to Geoff Richardson who considered the original Aston Martin engine to be under-powered, and so he fitted instead a larger 3.4-litre Jaguar XK engine. He then raced the car briefly as another of his RRA series of specially-built one-off cars.
He subsequently modified it very extensively, ultimately converting it into a sports car with modified body from the genuine Aston Martin DB3S chassis 105, plus disc brakes and coil spring suspension. That car was then raced in UK Club events in the 1960s and on to a sprint at Curborough in 1972. In 1973 it was rebuilt with twin-plug Aston Martin engine and its body restored to true DB3S shape. That much-modified car had been road-registered ‘UUY 504’ and it had certainly experienced a torrid history before passing into caring American ownership many years ago.
It was believed at one stage by the current vendor of the machine offered here that this car embodied the mortal remains of DP155 ‘UUY 504’ but this has now proved not to be the case.
The car offered here is, however, believed to carry the original Aston Martin New Zealand-series single-seater body, which Geoff Richardson is understood to have sold into Ireland after fitting the DB3S shell to DP155’s surviving and much-modified chassis frame.
When initially retrieved for restoration in recent years, the chassis frame of the car now offered here was initially suspected as being of HWM manufacture. A 1950 ex-A.A.Baring, ex-Brown HWM ‘1½-seater’ was rebodied by VSCC luminary Ray Fielding of Forres, Inverness, with a Rochdale fibreglass shell. That body had the same shape as contemporary Connaught sports-racing cars - and, still with its 2-litre Alta engine, the HWM special later found its way to Ireland. The car was raced there in that form but subsequently disappeared.
There is a very faint possibility that the owner of that car replaced it with a new special and that this may be the basis of the car offered here today.
Regardless of its actual provenance the car now offered has been painstakingly finished to a high standard throughout. It has the appearance of the now long-gone Aston Martin DP155 New Zealand-series single-seater racing car. It is powered by a genuine Aston Martin 2.6-litre engine, driving through a genuine Aston Martin David Brown racing gearbox, and it plainly offers any new owner tremendous open-air motoring enjoyment, with the extra cachet of a suitably mysterious and complicated background history, related to – though not masquerading as – ‘Uncle Reg’s second-placed Aston Martin works car from those far-off races at Dunedin and Invercargill in 1956
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