20-21 January 2011
1959 Aston Martin DB MK IIIB Drophead Coupe
- Chassis no. AM30031680
Sold for $198,000
- Very rare – one of just 84 Drophead Coupes originally built
- A very solid older restoration
- The ultimate iteration of the DB2, the first “real” postwar Aston Martin
- A desirable MK IIIB model, the final and most-refined variant produced
The landmark DB2, considered by many marque enthusiasts to be the first “real” postwar Aston Martin model, was introduced in May 1950. The ultimate and most highly-refined variant, the DB Mark III (the “2/4” designation was eventually dropped) was introduced in March 1957 and produced in both Fixed Head Coupe and open Drophead Coupe form through July 1959, when it was ultimately succeeded by the DB4, which was initially advertised as “a companion to the DB Mark 3.”
Famed Polish-born Aston Martin engineer Tadek Marek thoroughly revised the existing six-cylinder W.O. Bentley/Lagonda engine design, with output rising to 162 bhp or 178 bhp with twin exhausts. Front disc brakes supplemented “Alfin” finned aluminum rear drum brakes, with the upgrade optional on the first 100 Mark IIIs produced and standard equipment on the ultimate Mark IIIB of 1958-1959.
Styling and body fittings were also updated, most notably with a revised grille opening inspired by the famed DB3S sports racer. The new grille of the DB Mark III influenced Aston Martin styling for many years to follow, with its iconic basic design cues providing brand continuity and essentially remaining in effect through the V-8 models of the late 1980s. Among the many other updates of the Mark III, a revised instrument panel designed by Frank Feeley echoed the grille’s shape and now relocated the gauges directly in front the driver. Performance was strong for the era and continues to be quite satisfying today, with acceleration from rest to 60 mph in approximately nine seconds, en route to a top speed of 120 mph.
In popular culture, while the later DB5 is most often associated with Her Majesty’s Secret Agent James Bond, Ian Fleming’s original novel Goldfinger actually had 007 driving a DB Mark III. In fact, the DB Mark III was the only car in his books to be equipped with the iconic “Q-Branch” lethal gadgets that legions of Bond fans continue to associate with Aston Martin today. Just 551 examples of the DB Mark III were produced during a relatively brief production run spanning 1957 and 1959, including one purpose-built competition model. Of those few cars though, only 84 were the elegant and sporting Drophead Coupe variant. With their Feltham-era, hand-built quality and legendary road-ability, the cars continue to be highly coveted today.
The handsome right-hand drive 1959 DB Mark IIIB Drophead Coupe offered here is finished in red with tan leather upholstery and a matching convertible top. A legitimate “barn find” that was located in the mid-1990s, it continues to benefit from a comprehensive body-off restoration. During the process, the body was professionally stripped, prepared, painted and refinished to concours-quality standards. All brightwork was replaced or refinished as required, including the stunning knock-off, wire-spoke wheels, the matched pair of Lucas fog lamps and the stainless-steel exhaust system. The interior was authentically and completely restored using proper-weave carpeting, a black dash panel and tan Connolly leather upholstery, with everything crowned by a new and matching tan cloth top.
In August 2006, the DB Mark IIIB was acquired by its next caretaker, who actually used it very little and essentially stored it for much of the next four years during his tenure. The current owner purchased it recently, and as offered today, the car exhibits a very solid older restoration with a well-detailed engine bay and few visible signs of road use and wear. Extremely rare, desirable and beautifully presented, the offering of this late-production 1959 Mark IIIB Drophead Coupe is an exceptional opportunity for dedicated enthusiasts.
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