1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300
Lot 224* N
1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)
Sold for £337,500 (US$ 436,911) inc. premium

Lot Details
1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300 1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)  Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300
1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé DESIGN PROJECT 193 (DBMkIII PROTOTYPE)
Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. AM300/3A/1300
*Aston Martin Design Project example
*1958 Monte Carlo Rally entrant
*Driven by Raymond Baxter and Jack Reese
*In current ownership for 33 years

Footnotes

  • When Aston Martin launched the DB2 in 1950 it marked the first in a long line of DB grand tourers that could compete on equal terms with the most exotic and exclusive high performance sports cars.

    In a DB2 prototype, Lagonda's straight-six engine – the main reason David Brown had acquired Lagonda alongside Aston in 1948 – had powered the new model to third in 1949's Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours. With its beautiful, Frank Feeley-designed sports saloon coachwork, the svelte two seater body differed considerably from any previous Aston with curvaceous lines that were notably modern in contemporary company, the whole front of which hinged forward. Reworked by gifted young racing designer Ted Cutting, Claude Hill's revolutionary Atom chassis complemented the performance of its LB6-designated 2,580cc twin-cam, providing agile handling and strong roadholding to match.

    Substituting a cruciform structure for Hill's cross-members, Cutting both reduced ground clearance and weight as well as increasing torsional rigidity. Via coils springs and transverse torsion bar, front suspension was independent while the mounting of the coil-sprung live rear axle, located by parallel arms and Panhard rod, incorporated additional strengthening. Drum brakes were hydraulically power 105bhp at 5,000rpm, transmitted through a four speed David Brown gearbox, good for 110mph and 0-60mph in 12.4 seconds; there was also an optional 125bhp Vantage engine.

    With DB2 sales affected by the limitations of two seats and minimal luggage space. Feeley redesigned the car's rear to include an occasional double bench which folded down to increase carrying capacity, at the same time raising the roof line slightly to increase headroom and fitting a larger rear window in an opening lid; as such the appropriately named, 1953 DB2/4 was the world's first genuine GT hatchback. The windscreen comprised a one rather than two-piece moulding, the quarterlight windows were reshaped, the headlights repositioned higher in the bonnet and the car's overall length increased by six inches; bumpers were more substantial and incorporated over-riders. The DB2/4 was an extremely good-looking machine despite the increased height, albeit slightly less graceful than the beautiful DB2.

    As first seen in the DB3 sport-racer, its VB6 engine had a capacity of 2,992c and, tuned to 125bhp Vantage specification, power rose to 140bhp and top speed to 120mph with 0-60mph reduced to 10.5 seconds. Visually similar, a DB2/4 Mark II followed in October 1955 but with notable detail styling changes. These included squared-off and raised rear wing ends with the sidelights now mounted on their top rear edge, a chromium-plated front wing strip to conceal the line of the one-piece bonnet that had been moved to the top of the wheel arches, and a similar strip across the windscreen top indicating a modest three quarters of an inch increase in height and headroom.

    The Mark II also marked a move to in-house body production at Aston Martin's recently acquired Tickford coachbuilding concern in Newport Pagnell; this was the first Aston Martin body built there, acknowledged by small Tickford badges fitted below the front wing chrome strips, previously DB2/4 bodies having been made by Mulliner. Like its predecessors, the DB2/4 Mark II was available with Saloon and Drop-head Coupe bodies; a new 165bhp Special Series engine was also available.

    In late 1956 (records show it was up and running by October 8th) a much modified DB2/4 Mark II, chassis AM300/3A/1300, codenamed Design Project 193, formed the basis of the DB2/4 Mark III – or DB Mark III, as it would become more commonly known – that would succeed the Mark II the following year. The major change was the adoption of an elegant and more modern-looking radiator grille similar to that of the production DB3S sports-racing model, together with a sculpted bonnet with which it curved in harmony. Detail coachwork changes comprised deletion of the Mark II's chrome strip above the windscreen and rear quarter-light windows could now be opened (all but the earliest production models, however, feature re-contoured wing ends incorporating new lamp clusters in place of the DB2/4's small single rear lights). Inside, instrumentation, previously at the dashboard's centre, was now within a hooded binnacle behind the steering wheel, its shape resembling that of the radiator grille, which would feature on Aston road models right up to the DB6.

    Underneath the 2,922cc, VB6 twin-cam had been completely redesigned by Aston's chief designer, Tadek Marek, with a new and strengthened cylinder block, new crankshaft and cylinder head modifications inspired by the DB3S power plant. Renamed the DBA engine, it resulted in 162bhp at 5,500rpm and 180lb/ft at 4,000rpm – reducing, despite the Mark III being the heaviest Feltham-built model, to 0-60mph in an impressive 9.3 seconds, with a 120mph top speed (and better still in optional 178bhp, twin exhaust pipe form) marking it as the first DB2/4 model to outpace the original DB2. Disc brakes were fitted all round – although production cars would feature only front discs as standard, after 100 had been built – and otherwise the DB Mark III remained mechanically similar to previous DB2/4s.

    Painted Moonbeam Grey, with green leather interior, DP193 wasn't officially road-registered, as 63 KMY, until the 11th of March 1957, during the same month that DB Mark III production began. A few days later DP193 would be on hand as the Mk III demonstrator for the model's public launch at the Geneva Motor Show; records state it had also acted as a demonstrator at the Brussels' Motor Show in January, although this was two months before the Geneva launch. While continuing to double up as the MK III prototype/development hack, DP193 made its competition debut in January 1958 when it was entered in the Monte Carlo Rally for BBC broadcaster, Spitfire ace and rally driver Raymond Baxter as one of three Works-entered cars, alongside Aston factory race drivers Reg Parnell and Geoff Duke. In some of the worst weather in Monte history, a blizzard having engulfed much of Europe, with veteran driver and Aston dealer Jack Reece co-driving, the pair battled through dreadful conditions to bring DP193 to the finish – one of just 59 to do so from 302 starters – albeit unclassified after running over time on the final leg.

    They would no doubt have been well up the rankings but for the combination of failing headlights, near Grenoble, and overlooking an easy fix – "We made the next control", recalled Raymond in his biography Tales of My Time, "and should have realised that our problem could have been a slipping drive belt, which it was. When the Lucas service team fixed it in about three minutes, I was ashamed." He made some amends by winning the high speed manoeuvrability test on Monte Carlo's harbour, but after the rally his sense of shame led him to write "a profuse apology to John Wyer, the celebrated competitions manager of Aston Martin." The following year a Mark III won its class on the Monte.

    There are suggestions the Aston also took part in the 1958 Tulip Rally the following May – no record has yet been found though is known that Jack Reece's DB Mark III finished third – and evidence that DP193 was used as a general crew/support vehicle for Aston's DBR1 entries at Le Mans in 1957 and/or 1958. Although its rigorous development duties ended in early July 1958 (chassis AM300/3B, the first production Mark III with standard front discs, rear drums and optional overdrive, having taken over), the factory retained DP193 until June 17th 1959. It was acquired by Bockholes Motor Company near Huddersfield (with 20,000 miles recorded), after which it passed through nine owners, including Aston specialist Four Ashes Garage between 1970 and 1974 when it was used in competition by both Simon Moss and Stephen Bamford, results including Moss taking a win at the AMOC's Wiscombe Park Hillclimb and third at the club's Curborough Sprint in 1970, and Bamford another Wiscombe' victory in 1974; the latter also raced DP193 at least once, at Silverstone. By 1975 the prototype had been bought by a Switzerland-based owner who had it resprayed its current French Blue and the interior leather re-Connollised in black by Aston specialist RS Williams; in 1979 the car took a third place at the AMOC's Birtsmorton Court Concours d'Elegance when owned by Douglas Wilson.

    The Oregon, USA-based vendor, a specialist classic car restorer and dealer, bought DP193 from Derek Green Sports Cars at Hampton Court, Surrey, in 1984 as part of his inventory. Very soon, however, he became totally enamoured, using it for local rallies and shows and enjoyment – two years ago it spent six months on display at Oregon's World of Speed Museum – to the extent that only some 6,000 miles has been covered during his 33 years of ownership; there's little reason to doubt the mileage of 108,500 is genuine. "It's always a universal response", says the vendor, "people find it so charming and endearing that there's something that looks like a used old sports car."

    With its well-used but obviously sound condition, complete with minor body blemishes, the odd bit of cracked paintwork, sagging headlining, crumpled carpets and much of the lettering on the control knobs worn away, DP193 oozes character inside and out, with an appealing charm in every detail, each little patination hiding its own tale. The reclining navigator's bucket seat, fitted before the Monte remains, as do the auxiliary Marchal air horns operated by a dashboard-mounted push button in front of the seat, the unique chrome trim running round the car's rear, the one-off louvres at the bonnet's rear edge to direct engine heat onto the windscreen and, although long removed, visible under the roof headlining is where an auxiliary wiper was mounted at the top of the screen; inside evidence of the original grey paint can be found, while the original green leather is visible under cracks in the leather.

    DP193 is a unique Aston Martin, a remarkable survivor that, incredibly, retains all its original components – including the matching numbers engine and gearbox – from its days as an important link in DB2 lineage in its final form. And with exclusive all-round discs – the sole series production Aston so-equipped until the DB4 – DP193 is endowed with notably superior braking than with the normal DB Mark III's front-only discs.

    Unusually, too, the large history file which comes with the car even contains 21 Experimental Department report sheets still in the original factory folder. These important records include from how DP193's engine underwent several rebuilds to resolve customer complaints about excessive oil consumption to fuel starvation under acceleration with under half a tank of fuel. Featured in the current issue of Classic Cars, which tested this first of the DB Mark IIIs at the Chobham Proving Ground where much of DP193's testing was carried out, author Paul Chudecki noted: "It's a car which feels dependable, impressively engineered and built – although weathered with use and time, all is quite serviceable."

    Importantly, this significant part of Aston Martin history, extensively documented, and featured in period broadcasts, does not require total restoration, rather it would benefit from being sympathetically tidied up. To that end, the vendor has in the last few months fitted a complete new wiring harness. "I put the harness in it", he explains, adding that he felt he was sneaking a national treasure out of the country when he bought DP193, "because I wanted whoever got it to not feel forced to do something drastic, so whoever gets it can absolutely continue to enjoy the car as is; drive it, display it. If they do that then I guarantee they'll have way more fun than showing a show car."

    This represents a singular opportunity to acquire not only a Design Project Aston Martin In remarkable, original and completely useable condition, but also the very first of the DB Mark IIIs and a genuine ex-Works Aston Martin rally car.

    Should the vehicle remain in the EU, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the the year of the Monte Carlo Rally is stated incorrectly in the bullet point section of the printed catalogue, it should read; 1958 Monte Carlo Rally entrant. Please also note that there is a typo in the second sentence of the 11th paragraph in the printed catalogue, it should read "...the first production Mark III with standard front discs..."
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