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The Mk III is the most desirable of the Astons assembled at the Lagonda works, with increased power, better gearing, and improved brakes





Two years after the introduction of the DB2/4 Mk II came the DB Mk III-the suffix "2/4" now dropped. The Mk III retained the one-piece grille with the raised center portion introduced on the DB2/4s, but gave the car the more graceful curves that have distinguished the styling of every subsequent road-going Aston.
The new DBA engine featured a stiffer block, stronger crankshaft, and a new cylinder head with bigger valves. It produced 162 hp with a single-pipe exhaust system; 178 hp was available in a dual-pipe version. Improvements in the Mk III were also made in the clutch and gearbox, a Laycock overdrive became available, and after the first 100 cars, front disc brakes were standard rather than optional.
This car is painted most appropriately in Aston Martin green with grey leather (as per original build sheet), and is described as in excellent condition in most respects. The car has been fitted with stiffer springs, a useful handling modification. Recent work includes a rebuild of the brakes, overhaul of the engine, and a new radiator and battery. Work has also been done to the transmission and rear axle by Tim Stamper, along with cosmetic and interior restoration. Recent bills total approximately $23,000.
The car has been driven about 1,000 miles since this work was completed, including a pleasurable roundtrip to Le Mans this summer.

{analysis}{auto}720{/auto} This car sold for $63,156 at Bonhams' London sale, held on Dec. 6, 2004.
The post-war maturation of Aston Martin into an established manufacturer under the ownership of David Brown (the eponymous DB in the model designations) came about with the DB2/4, DB2/4 Mk II, and DB Mk III. The 2/4 introduced the distinctive front end and smooth-fendered design, and each model improved on the last in both styling and manufacturing details.
As such, the Mk III is considered the most practical and desirable of the Astons assembled at the old Lagonda works in Feltham. With increased power, better gearing, and improved brakes, it is perhaps the first Aston Martin to be practical for modern classic car tours, in addition to its obvious cachet on the show field.
The DB Mk III was available in three body styles: notchback coupe, drop-head coupe, and a swept-back body with rear-opening hatch called "saloon" in England and "fastback coupe" in the U.S., as with the car pictured here. While it did have two occasional seats in the rear, the saloon still had only two doors, so the designation was a bit of a stretch. While we're talking nomenclature, Mk IIIs produced in 1958 and 1959, with standard front disc brakes, are sometimes referred to as "Mk III Bs."
Aston bodies for the Mk III continued to be made in Newport Pagnell by Tickford, which David Brown had acquired in 1955, at the beginning of Mk II production. The Mk III also continued to use the 2922-cc six-cylinder engine that had been first used on the DB3 works racing models. However, Tadek Marek, the gifted engineer who had recently joined Aston from Austin, made several significant improvements in the unit to improve its reliability, including redesigning the cylinder sleeves and strengthening the block and crankshaft.
As noted in the auction description, the standard engine with serial number prefix DBA produced 162 hp at 5,500 rpm, with twin SU carburetors and single exhaust. Besides the 178-hp version with dual exhaust, three other higher states of tune were available. The DBB produced 195 hp with triple Webers or three SU carbs and was fitted on 10 cars. The DBD produced 180 hp with two or three SUs; 47 cars were built with this engine. The king of all Mk IIIs was a single DBC produced, a highly-tuned special with 214 hp.
With the standard engine, the car was capable of going 0-60 mph in less than 10 seconds. With any of the more highly tuned engines, this time dropped into the eight-second range, and top speed exceeded 120 mph. In conjunction with this increased power, Girling front disc brakes with servo assist were introduced, and optional overdrive made comfortable long-distance cruising on the rapidly improving British and European highways a pleasurable reality.
For the interior, the instrument panel and fascia were completely redesigned for the Mk III, moving the instruments from the center to a position over the steering column (on either right- or left-hand side). The large tachometer and speedo were flanked by smaller gauges, and a hood over the instruments echoed the curves of the grille. This design would continue though the end of DB6 production in 1970.
The condition of the engine is of critical importance in the purchase of any 2.9-liter Aston. The cylinder heads didn't have hard valve seats, so with repeated grinding, valves can recede into the head. Heads can be reconditioned if they haven't been badly cracked, and hardened valve seats can be fitted, so check the repair and rebuild receipts carefully to make sure this has been done. Since Aston repair specialists are in relatively short supply, the work should have been performed by a reputable firm, and should be confirmed before purchase.
These cars are relatively rare, and the Aston Martin club-the oldest existing classic car club, by the way, having been established in the '30s by amateur Aston racers-is very active. Consequently, it is unlikely that any bargains still remain to be found, but on the other hand, the history of almost any car should be well known.
Considering that this car sold for little more than an excellent condition Jaguar of the same vintage and is less common but more practical for all-weather motoring, a price in the mid-$60k range is good value for the money. It falls in the middle of the SCM Price Guide range of $55,000-$75,000, so we expect the owner should be able to enjoy this car for a few years and do all right when he chooses to turn it around.
(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.){/analysis}

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