2019 RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale (Aston Martin DB3S Announcement)

A 1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works with extensive racing history was announced for the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 classic car auction.

1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works
Tim Scott ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s announced the addition of a 1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works, (Est. $8,750,000 – $10,500,000) to be presented during ‘An Evening with Aston Martin’ at the company’s three-evening Monterey sale, 15-17 August 2019. This DB3S/2 was the second Works DB3S ever built and was raced in some of the most prestigious motorsport events of the 1950s, with drivers including the famous ex-Aston Martin team driver Peter Collins, who also raced the car privately. The car is offered at Monterey as an important piece of Aston Martin’s competition history, complete with its original chassis, body, and engine as it left the factory. Further interesting cars were also announced for the special Aston Martin-only sale at Monterey 2019.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 Sale

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 classic car auction: 15 – 17 August 2019 with the first day dedicated to Aston Martin marque cars only.

In 2019, RM Sotheby’s earned $107 million from the three-day Monterey sale. The sell-through rate was 74%.

At the 2018 Monterey auction, RM Sotheby’s earned $158 million by selling 124 of 150 lots (83%). The average sale price was $1,270,903.

At the 2017 auction, RM Sotheby’s earned $133 million with a sell-through rate of 88% and 32 cars sold for over a million dollar. RM Sotheby’s three-day Monterey 2016 auction remained the highest grossing classic car auction ever with $173 million earned and 35 million-dollar cars sold.

1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works

1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works
Tim Scott ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Aston Martin DB3S is one of the finest and most competitive cars to emerge from the 1950s, arguably the golden era of sports car racing when the top drivers competed in the fastest cars on often perilous races, such as the Mille Miglia and RAC Tourist Trophy.

A true product of its era, the DB3S was conceived as the idea of two great engineers of the time; W.O. Bentley and Professor Robert Eberan von Eberhorst, of Auto Union. Radically developing Eberhorst’s DB3 chassis, fellow designer and engineer Willie Watson turned the DB3S into a far lighter and nimbler car that was more suited to being powered by the high-compression 3.0-liter version of W.O.’s straight-six engine, giving the model the edge over contemporary rivals. Legendary British designer Frank Feeley penned the gorgeous lines of the bodywork, creating one of the best-looking shapes ever to grace a race circuit, and still visible in the design language of Aston Martin models made today. 

1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works Racing History

This 1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works, (Est. $8,750,000 – $10,500,000), was the second DB3S built by the factory, prepped by John Wyer’s competition department for the 1953 installment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Though the car saw an accident in its first outing with Reg Parnell at the wheel, just a month later the legendary Peter Collins got his hands on DB3S/2, finishing 3rd in an all-Aston Martin podium at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Parnell made up for his first go soon after, pairing up with Aston Martin stalwart Eric Thompson to win the Goodwood 9 Hours. In the same year, the DB3S entered the last round of the World Sportscar Championship, the RAC Tourist Trophy at Dundrod. The supreme handling of the car suited the flow of the circuit and Parnell and Thompson finished 2nd behind the sister car (DB3S/1), with Parnell taking 2nd place in the unofficial Drivers’ title, ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio, Sir Stirling Moss, and Peter Walker.

In 1954, the DB3S would contest the 1000 KM of Buenos Aires, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the Mille Miglia. Following extensive competition, much of the Aston Martin Team cars had been reduced to a collection of damaged DB3Ss, so DB3S/1 and DBS3/2 were rebuilt with new chassis and bodies ahead of that year’s RAC Tourist Trophy at Dundrod.

Phil Collins leads in DBS3/2 at Aintree ahead of Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 375 MM.
Courtesy of GPL pictures

Peter Collins’ most memorable performance in DB3S/2 during 1954 would come later that year at Aintree, where a titanic battle with Masten Gregory in a Ferrari 375 MM saw him just lose out on victory. Looking ahead to the next season with newer Works cars having been built, DB3S/2 was sold to Peter Collins.

1953 Aston Martin DB3S Privateer Racing History

Collins registered the car as UDV 609, under which it remains today. With this car, Collins competed in the Silverstone International Trophy in 1955, where he suffered a loose differential but still finished a respectable 7th behind the latest Works DB3Ss and a brace of Works and Ecurie Ecosse D-Types. His last outing in the car was the 1955 Daily Herald Trophy Race at Oulton Park, charging Mike Hawthorn down to finish a close 3rd ahead of a competitive field, in what was by then an out-of-date machine.

The DB3S would eventually land with George Gale, who kept it for over two decades, before selling to Richard Forshaw of Aston Martin Service Dorset, who owned more DB3S examples than anyone else. Forshaw restored DB3S/2 to the ‘Works’ specification as Peter Collins’ bought the car in 1955.

The DB3S has since been beautifully maintained and has seen a number of vintage event outings, including the Monterey Historics, Goodwood Revival, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It is offered at Monterey in extremely original condition, with its matching numbers engine from its factory sale to Collins and a nearly entirely original body. It is accompanied by an extraordinary history file including original Aston Martin internal race debriefing reports by John Wyer, period articles and photographs, race programmes and maintenance reports.

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Coupe
Karissa Hosek ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Further Top Aston Martins at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019

RM Sotheby’s has assembled an impressive list of more than 30 additional significant Aston Martin models for the 15 August sale session, spanning decades of high watermarks in the brand’s history. Highlights include:

1965 DB5 Shooting Brake by Radford,
©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
  • In addition to the James Bond 1965 Aston Martin DB5the Monterey sale features the full lineup of DB5 variations, including a 1964 DB5 presented from 40 years of single ownership and offered without reserve (Est. $700,000 – $900,000), a 1963 DB5 Convertible, believed to be the Earls Court Motor Show car and now fully restored by Aston Martin Works (Est. $1,350,000 – $1,500,000), and a 1965 DB5 Shooting Brake by Radford, one of 12 factory shooting brake examples, having had just three private owners since new and complete with its original matching-numbers engine (Est. $1,000,000 – $1,400,000);
  • A beautifully restored 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT, one of only 47 right-hand-drive examples, and equipped with an ex-Stirling Moss engine installed in period by Aston Martin (Est. $3,000,000 – $3,400,000);
  • Purchased new by the Burton family, founders of Burton and Top Shop, a 1966 Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante, one of just 37 examples built. Presented in concours condition, the short-chassis comes to auction following a thorough restoration, during which the engine was rebuilt to 4.2-liter Cosworth specification and the car was converted to left-hand drive (Est. $1,400,000 – $1,800,000);
  • A pair of Aston Martin V8 models with coachwork by Zagato, including the last V8 Vantage Zagato built. One of just 15 left-hand-drive coupes, the recently serviced 1987 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato is equipped with a desirable five-speed manual gearbox, showing just 4,173 km since new (Est. $475,000 – $575,000). The second V8, an exceedingly rare LHD 1989 Aston Martin V8 Volante Zagato, is one of only 37 produced, is equipped with an automatic gearbox, and was upgraded to Vantage specification by Aston Martin Works (Est. $375,000 – $475,000); and,
  • 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Coupe showing delivery mileage and equipped with bespoke “Q” options, including a One-77 steering wheel, Italian luggage, color-matched Aston Martin car cover, and a Zagato umbrella (Est. $600,000 – $800,000).

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1939 Porsche Type 64
Staud Studios © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s