20-21 January 2011


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Lot 154

1959 Aston Martin DB MK IIIB Drophead Coupe

  • Chassis no. AM30031680

Sold for $198,000

162 bhp (SAE), 2,922 cc DBA inline six-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts and dual SU carburetors, fully synchronized four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with trailing link, coil springs and Armstrong lever dampers, live Salisbury rear axle located by trailing links and transverse Panhard rod, and hydraulic front disc, “Alfin” rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 99"

- 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.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more