Stirling Moss in the Aston Martin DB3S at Goodwood (photo: National Motor Museum)
Stirling Moss in the Aston Martin DB3S at Goodwood (photo: National Motor Museum)

Ex-Everything Aston Martin DB3S Offered

A 1954 Aston Martin DB3S campaigned in period by Stirling Moss, Peter Collins and Roy Salvadori will be offered at the 2016 Bonhams Aston Martin Works auction, to be held 21 May at Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell, UK. Chassis number DB3S/5, which later co-starred with Terry-Thomas in 1960s movie classic ‘School for Scoundrels’, is estimated to sell for £6,000,000 – £7,000,000.

This Aston Martin began life as the personal road car of David Brown, the industrialist owner of the Aston Martin marque. Under Brown’s reign the 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 Hours, 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 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 fibre 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 with much success at Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Goodwood, Spa and Nurburgring, among others.

“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 gruelling 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 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 4 1/2-Litre Open Tourer in disguise, an ex-Works Austin-Healey 100/6, and the car driven by Terry-Thomas, named the ‘Bellini’, which was none other than this Aston Martin DB3S.

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[Source: Bonhams; photos: The National Motor Museum, Vantage Magazine]

Show Comments (2)

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  1. My cousin, 8 yrs. older than I,….her parents and she, were very close friends with David Brown and family. I will ask her if she did see this car when David used it as his personal car.

  2. Stirling Moss drove DB3S 103 at Warwick Farm motor racing circuit in 1961 to familiarise himself with the track prior to winning the Australian Grand Prix. Shortly after this I purchased the Aston from the original owner Tom Sulman. Sitting in the same seat of such a talented driver I hoped that some of his skills would rub off.