1955 Aston Martin DB3S Conceptcarz com

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1955 Aston Martin DB3S news, pictures, specifications, and information

Engine Num: VB6K/118

Sold for $3,685,000 at 2012 RM Auctions .

When Aston Martin scored a one-two finish in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans it had been a dream more than a decade in the making. And like most champions, the road to victory would be filled with ups and downs that would all build off of each other to create the eventual champion. Therefore, though it may have been the DBR1 that would finally gain Aston Martin its prized achievement, it would be the DB3S that would really help to lay the groundwork to the eventual overall victory.

A.G. Watson would take the original DB3 design and would create a much improved, much more stylish design called the DB3S. Basically, the DB3S featured a much lighter chassis with a smaller wheelbase.

The new prototype would also boast of David Brown’s improved spiral-bevel final drive meant to replace the hypoid spiral drive that had let the DB3 down at Le Mans in 1952.

But while the improvement in components and technology, it would be the new body-styling that would capture the most attention, and rightly so. Featuring sweeping lines with very prominent fenders and the now famous ‘humped oval’ grille, the DB3S would go from chunky with the DB3 to seductive. And though the regulations would change and the prototypes built for Le Mans no longer had to be based upon production models, the eventual overall winning DBR1 could still clearly be seen with some of the design traits employed on the DB3S.

The car just looked right. The design would eventually influence other manufacturers like Ferrari to build designs with some of the same elements. And when combined with its 3.0-liter inline six cylinder engine producing 210 bhp, the car not only looked right, it performed right as well.

In fact, the only race it would lose during the whole of the 1953 season would be Le Mans.

David Brown believed he had the car that was capable of winning Le Mans. And though the car would never achieve that end goal it would represent an incredible leap forward in Brown’s threat.

The performance and the ability of the DB3S would be undeniable and the requests from potential customers to purchase the chassis would begin to roll in. In addition to the ten works DB3Ss that had been competed prior to 1955, a new run of ‘customer’ DB3Ss would begin in early 1955.

The customer cars, of which a total of just 20 would ever be made, would feature such updates as the newer VB6J engine with its high compression head, larger valves and competition camshafts. Additionally, the new engines would make use of triple, dual-throat Weber carburetors and a solid type main bearing housing.

One of those twenty customer cars to be produced would be chassis 118. And this same chassis would be offered at the RM Auctions event at Monterey in 2012.

Ordered new by Hans Davids, a Dutch racing driver, the car would roll out of the factory with the correct ‘Dutch Racing Orange’, the official national livery. And though the car would be delivered new to the Dutch driver Davids, the car’s first race would actually take place back on home soil.

Davids would receive his new Aston Martin DB3S and would end up packing it up and hauling it across the English Channel to England where he would then head to Goodwood in order to take part in his first race on the 14th of April in 1956. In that first race, the bright orange Aston Martin would finish an impressive 3rd.

Davids would compete with the car all season long, but it would be on home soil that he would truly show what the car was truly capable of achieving. In a race at Zandvoort, Davids would end up setting the fastest lap of the race but would also take the overall victory. This would be a storybook ending as it would be the last race of the season, and, the last of Davids’ professional career.

Prior to the end of the season, Davids would take the car back to the factory and would have the ‘works’ twin-plug head placed on his engine. This revision is still retained to this very day.

After a successful ’56 campaign, Davids would sell the car to Paul Hyatt, who was a captain in the U.S. Merchant Navy. Hyatt would bring the car to the United States and would begin using it in races up and down the east coast throughout the later-part of the 1950s. Hyatt would eventually score a class victory in 1958 at Bridgehampton. The car would achieve considerable success and would eventually attract the attention of Joe Lubin.

Lubin, who was a ‘gentleman racer’ would enter the car at Pomona in 1958. All that is known of the Aston from that race is that it suffered some front end damage during the race.

Lubin, being an Aston enthusiast, would retain the car until 1964 when he would sell it to Richard Felt. The car would remain in Felt’s care for nearly 30 years. During this long period of ownership, Felt would work to have the Aston restored.

Felt would pour his heart and soul into the car and would never bring himself to part with the car despite some very interested buyers.

However, in 1992, Felt would make the decision and he would sell the car to another well-known Aston enthusiast and collector Chris Salyer. Despite being in the care of Mr. Felt for nearly thirty years, the car would arrive to Mr.

Salyer in an unfinished condition, just bare metal.

Initially, Salyer would leave the car in an unfinished state. However, he would later make the decision to have the car finished in a white with blue racing stripes livery. This decision would prove not to be all that unwise as the car would end up being awarded with Second in Class at Pebble Beach.

The origins of the car really could not be denied, however. It had started life as a customer car built for the Dutch driver Hans Davids. Therefore, Salyer would respect that portion of the car’s history and would make the decision to have the car refinished in the proud racing orange of the Netherlands in honor of Davids and its early racing career.

Complete with a mountain of original paperwork, photos and other various documents, the history of chassis 118 is extremely verifiable and extremely thorough. Complete with its original chassis and all numbers intact and correct, 118 is certainly one of the more authentic DB3S Astons available in the world.

Its highly authentic attributes, combined with the correct ‘Dutch Racing Orange’, and it would be very easy to believe to be present the moment the car rolled out of the factory back in early 1955 with an overall Le Mans victory still out there to be achieved.

The highly original 1955 Aston Martin DB3S, chassis number 118, was estimated to garner between $3,500,000 and $4,000,000 at auction.


‘Lot No. 214: 1955 Aston Martin DB3S Sports Racing Car’, (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12CarID=r233). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12CarID=r233.

Retrieved 2 August 2012.

‘1955 Aston Martin DB3S News, Pictures and Information’, (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z17876/Aston-Martin-DB3S.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z17876/Aston-Martin-DB3S.aspx. Retrieved 2 August 2012.

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