1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50

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Lot 284
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer

£ 150,000 - 170,000
US$ 180,000 - 210,000
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer
Registration no. GH 4093
Chassis no. S50
Engine no. S50
*One of 122 short-chassis Internationals
*Matching chassis and engine
*Known ownership history
*Fully restored in the 1990s
*Eligible for all VSCC and AMOC events

Footnotes

  • 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 immediate post-WWI years. 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 1.5-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. Aston Martin built 136 cars between 1927 and 1932: 14 on the long chassis and 122 on the short International chassis.

    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winning the Biennial Cup at Le Mans in 1932, one of many competition successes achieved before the International was superseded by the Le Mans and Ulster models.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.

    Short-chassis International 'S50' (the S stands for short) was laid down on 28th February 1930 and delivered on 17th July of that year to a Mr A Golden of London EC4. Mr Golden obviously used the Aston as its maker intended, for the factory records show that it returned to Feltham a year later for an engine rebuild at 18,000 miles.

    The car's next owner, from 1932, was one W H Ainsley of Huddersfield, who kept it until 1936 when ownership passed to Major G N Sheffield of the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. The accompanying old-style buff logbook (issued 1946) lists Major Sheffield and two subsequent owners: Peter White of Farnborough, Hampshire (1948); and Eric Richard Farmer of Bromley, Kent (from 1952; last date stamp 1955). The (copy) chassis build card on file is not very legible, but one can make out Mr White's name and those of two previous owners.

    'GH 4093' remained in Mr Farmer's possession for the next 40 years and was featured in Michael Worthington-Williams' 'Finds and Discoveries' column in 'The Automobile' magazine (February 1992 edition). It transpired that Mr Farmer had used the car until around 1956, at which time he laid it up in the garage adjoining his house and commenced restoration. (There are numerous old bills and invoices on file dating from the 1950s; for example: a new complete radiator for £38 15s 5d from Great Western Radiators in May 1955). For some reason the work was never completed and the 'S50' remained partly disassembled for many years.

    In 1991 the Aston was purchased from Mr Farmer's daughter by Thomas Lee of Virginia Water, Surrey, who was delighted to find that it had remained virtually complete despite all its dismantled. 'S50' was fully restored during Mr Lee's ownership. Works carried out included a full body restoration using the original frame, which was sound; gearbox and worm axle overhaul; comprehensive engine rebuild; and correct nickel plating throughout. The mechanical work was carried out by renowned Aston guru, Bill Elwell-Smith of Ruislip, Middlesex between 1992 and 1995, while other specialists involved include Chisholm Trimming of Milton Keynes (interior) and Vintage Restorations (instruments). Associated bills on file total some £60,000.

    Lee used the International sparingly until 2007 when it was purchased by motoring historian David Venables. In July 2007, 'S50' was a class winner at the Brighton & Hove Motor Club Concours and in 2009 won a major award: the Doris Smith Trophy at the B&HMC Concours. The car competed in the Brighton Speed Trials in 2007 when it recorded the same time over the standing-start quarter mile as achieved by 'The Autocar' when road testing an identical car in 1930. It ran again in the 2009 Speed Trials, taking 2nd place on handicap in the VSCC class.

    'S50' was featured on the front cover of 'The Automobile' magazine's February 2011 edition and in an accompanying four-page article (copy available). The car also comes with two history files containing all receipts and correspondence relating to its restoration, together with many pre-war documents, a VSCC Eligibility Document, and the aforementioned buff logbook.

    A remarkably original car with matching numbers, 'S50' is finished in Carver Blue with excellent dark blue hide interior, which is complemented by a matching top-quality double-duck tonneau, hood and hood cover. Eligible for all VSCC and AMOC events, this well documented, fast and highly desirable Vintage-era Aston Martin is one of the nicest examples of the International, which was undoubtedly one of the outstanding designs of its era.
Contacts
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
1930 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 'Short Chassis' Sports Tourer  Chassis no. S50 Engine no. S50
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