Rare 'Birthday Present' Vintage Aston Martin Leads Bonhams Beaulieu Sale
One of Four Le Mans Team Replicas Produced, Offered From 53 Years' Ownership

Beaulieu - A rare vintage Aston Martin sports car with in-period racing history which was a 19th birthday present to its vendor will be offered, after 53 years' ownership, at Bonhams Beaulieu Sale on 10 September.

The 1931 Aston Martin 1½-Litre Le Mans 'Team Car' 2/4-Seater Sports Tourer was one of four replicas produced, named after the firm's class-win in that year's Le Mans endurance race.

Based on the International sports car which campaigned at the French circuit, the replicas were powered by a four-cylinder 1½-litre engine, capable of a 91mph top speed, and bodied by Harry Bertelli, brother of Augustus, then Aston Martin's co-owner.

However, the car offered was fitted with a bespoke four-seater body, designed at the request of the first owner, George Hartwell, who was later known as one of the pioneers of post-war 500cc racing. With Hartwell at the wheel, the Aston won the 1931 Inter-Varsity Hill Climb, the motorsport competition between Oxford and Cambridge universities. He also placed second in the Brooklands JCC Members' Day Handicap the following year.

The Aston subsequently came into the vendor's family ownership when purchased by his late father in 1955. Although sold a few years later, the car was reacquired in 1969, in time to be presented as a 19th birthday gift to the vendor.

It is now offered for the first time in 53 years, in good mechanical order and original cosmetic condition, with an estimate of £200,000 - 250,000.

Tim Schofield, Head of Department, Bonhams Collector Cars UK, said: "This Aston Martin is one of only four replicas produced, and its time on the circuit with George Hartwell makes it a remarkable piece of racing history. It's been kept in original condition, and it goes without saying that Bonhams are delighted to offer it at Beaulieu."

Further highlights from The Beaulieu Sale include:

1937 Stafford Special 1½-Litre Supercharged Racing Monoposto, estimate £70,000 - 100,000. Completed by Rodney Stafford in 1938 and raced at Brooklands, Prescott and Lewes, this unique racing monoposto has a sleek and stylish exterior worthy of an innovative design involving a four-cylinder Meadows engine.

1914 Ford Model T Motor Caravan, estimate £20,000 - 30,000. The oldest motor caravan in the world, commissioned by the Bentall family just before the outbreak of World War One and impeccably restored to original specification in the 1970s. The Ford Model T chassis, extended and strengthened by Baico, carries a caravan body provided by Dunton of Reading.

1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 335 Sunroof Saloon, estimate £55,000 - 65,000. The only Frazer Nash-BMW 335 built with right-hand drive, it was first owned by the Aldington family of AFN, the BMW importers.

1929 Invicta 4½-Litre Tourer, estimate £140,0000 - 180,000. Produced by the highly respected Invicta Cars, this was one of the fastest sports cars of its day, and its capacity to manage big mileages at above average speeds without compromising comfort made it the trophy of any garage. This is a rare early example of exceptional originality, a long-chassis model with four-seat open tourer coachwork by the London-based coachbuilder Cadogan.

The two-day Bonhams Beaulieu Sale will offer more than 70 motor cars and 400 lots of automobilia on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 September at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire.

Motor cars will be open for pre-sale viewing at the National Motor Museum on Friday 9 September from 10am to 4pm. Contact [email protected] for further details and to register.


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