1955 Aston Martin DB3S Sports Racer

Launched in 1952, the first Aston Martin sports racer was the DB3. Developed for Aston Martin by Eberan von Eberhorst, a former Auto Union racing engineer from the pre-war era, the DB3 featured an all-new, tubular chassis using De Dion rear architecture, with a purposeful, chunky, slab-sided body.

Competition victory proved elusive for the DB3, however, and its performance was hampered by reliability issues. Aston Martin commissioned A.G. “William” Watson to engineer an improved car. In May 1953, a new prototype appeared at Charterhill, U.K., called the DB3S. This car was a significant redevelopment of the DB3 and featured a lighter chassis with a reduced wheelbase, as well as many other modifications, which significantly altered the essence of the original Eberhorst conception.

Most impressive of all, perhaps, was the svelte, almost feline new body figure rendered characteristically in aluminum by Frank Feeley, designer of the DB2 for Aston Martin, which is considered today to be his masterpiece. Featuring the classic cutaway section behind the front wheels, it presaged the style of the famous pontoon-fender Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa by several years. The DB3S raised eyebrows, as well as expectations, for success. This design was also the first to refine the “humped oval” grille, which has become the trademark identifier of Aston Martin production cars through the present day.

Generally regarded as one of the more correct and original Aston Martin sports racers, it is important to note that this car still retains its original chassis with all numbers intact, and the body is also highly original, having only required minor repairs throughout its entire racing life.

Without question, the Aston Martin DB3S is one of the most attractive and elegantly designed sports racing cars of the post-war period. Its design incorporates engineering and aerodynamics with unqualified success. The DB3S offered here is a rare example of one such car with outstanding provenance and mechanical and cosmetic condition, offering its next owners the unique opportunity to debut s/n 118 at events around the world.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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