2016 Bonhams Aston Martin Works Sale (Preview Press Release)

1954 Aston Martin DB3S
1954 Aston Martin DB3S © Bonhams

A 1954 Aston Martin DB3S (estimate $8.4 – 9.8 million) is the leading entry for the Bonhams Aston Martin Works Sale auction on May 21, 2016. This rare Aston Martin Works team car, campaigned by amongst others Stirling Moss, Peter Collins and Roy Savadori is clearly the star entry at this single marque classic car auction. Other early entries estimated to sell for over a million dollar include a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Vantage Convertible, a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible and a 1968 Aston Martin DB6 Volante.

Bonhams Aston Martin Works Sale 2016

The Bonhams Aston Martin Works Sale will be held on May 21, 2016 at the Aston Martin Works Service in Newport Pagnell (UK).

A variety of Aston Martin cars will be on offer at the single marque sale. Aston Martins are expensive but convertible clearly even more so. Top results from early entries are expected from four open top cars:

  • 1954 Aston Martin DB3S – estimate £6-7 million ($8.4 – 9.8 million)
  • 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Vantage Convertible – estimate £1.1 – 1.4 million ($1.6 – 2 million)
  • 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible – estimate £750,000 – £850,000 ($1.1 – 1.2 million)
  • 1968 Aston Martin DB6 Volante – estimate £600,000 – £700,000 ($850,000 – 1 million)

1954 Aston Martin DB3S

The 1954 Aston Martin DB3S, estimated at £6,000,000-7,000,000 ($8.4 – 9.8 million), is a rare Aston Martin Works team car. Chassis number DB3S/5 was campaigned in period by such legendary racing drivers as Sir Stirling Moss, Peter Collins and Roy Salvadori, and latterly went on to co-star with Terry-Thomas in 1960s movie classic School for Scoundrels.

This historic Aston Martin began life as the personal road car of David Brown, the multi-millionaire industrialist owner of the Aston Martin marque. Under Brown’s reign the legendary post-World War 2 ‘DB’ series of Aston Martin cars were built, including the Atom, the DB2, DB3, DB4, DB5, DB6, DB7, DB9 and the DBS, all named using Brown’s initials.

Aston Martin also built a number of DB3S models for the Works racing team. Following a severe set-back during the 1954 Le Mans 24-hour race, when three of the cars were destroyed in a series of crashes, the Aston Martin Competitions Department commandeered David Brown’s personal DB3S – chassis 5 now offered here – to replace one of the wrecked vehicles, changing its use from high-performance road car, to frontline Works Team race car.

The DB3S originally featured experimental glass fiber bodywork, which was the height of cutting-edge technology for the period. However, after Brown handed it over to the Works team, it was given an aluminum body-shell and upgraded to full Works specification. It never returned to David Brown’s personal ownership, and instead went on to be raced by some of the most daring drivers of the time, in some of the motor sporting world’s most prestigious races.

“Few cars that have appeared in film can also boast an association with so many great names from the heyday of the British racing sports car, but this Aston Martin DB3S does just that,” said Tim Schofield, Bonhams UK Head Motoring. “Drivers who raced it include such legends as Peter Collins, Roy Salvadori, and Sir Stirling Moss, competing at world-class level in such grueling races as the Mille Miglia, the Spa Grand Prix and the Nürburgring 1,000kms.”

The Aston Martin DB3S later starred in the 1960s British comedy, School for Scoundrels, in which Ian Carmichael battled with caddish (but much loved) Terry-Thomas for the affections of Janette Scott. The movie is a classic tale of one-upmanship, and its plot features several notable vehicles, such as the ‘Swiftmobile’, which was in reality a 1928 Bentley 4½-Liter Open Tourer in disguise, an ex-Works Austin-Healey 100-Six, and – of course – the car driven by Terry-Thomas, named the ‘Bellini’, which was none other than this magnificent Aston Martin DB3S.

If the 1954 Aston Martin DB3S sells within estimate, it will be the second highest price ever paid for an Aston Martin at public auction. The record price is $14.3 million paid at RM Sotheby’s New York 2016 sale for a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato – a fine car but without a racing history worth noting.