Rare DB2/4 and one-off DBS lead Bonhams' Aston Martin sale
A DB5 Convertible sold for £886,000 while restoration projects flew out of the barn. Over £5m was spent, at a sale rate of 62%
An exquisite DB5 convertible sold for within estimate at £886,300 with premium, to head up £5.09m worth of Aston Martins during Bonhams' 19th annual marque-dedicated sale.
Held during the AMOC Concours weekend at the green and sun-blessed Englefield House near Reading, rather than at the former Newport Pagnell factory, this was only one of several lots that drew widespread attention.
With the more desirable ZF five-speed manual transmission and a replacement cylinder block fashionably enlarged to 4.2 capacity, the pre-Volante open-top was reckoned to be the penultimate of 85 produced in right-hand drive. Yet, the sale had more to offer than just the one very special Aston.
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Among 21 Astons to change owners in the shade of the upmarket auction tent was a 1964 DB5 manual (below), again with the benefit of the 4.2 engine upgrade plus power-assisted steering and air-conditioning. It sold for £628,700.
Two DB6 Volantes also came to market for the sale. The ex-Jools Holland MkI manual, sold under James Knight’s gavel for £494,300 with premium, and a £700,000+ estimated Mk2 auto was bid to £640,000 and sold after the auction.
A 1959 DB4, the 26th produced, though with ZF five-speed manual conversion and Webasto sunroof, was valued by the next guardian at a premium-inclusive £371,000, only just below the guide.
The most viewed and admired car in the catalogue was a left-hand drive 1956 DB2/4 Mk2 (below), one of 34 Tickford 2+2 fixed-heads that had been fitted with a pre-production DB4 3.7 power unit by the factory after two 2.6 engine failures. The original drum brakes had been wisely upgraded to disc brakes. AM Works restored and repainted it in 2016. This ultimate Feltham-era Aston sold for a forecast £281,500 to head to the European mainland.
A glossy 1958 DB Mk3 drophead, one of 14 with the ‘Special Series’ 195bhp engine, and with later power-assisted steering, also performed well, selling for £393,500, more than had been forecast. £147,100 was forthcoming for a historic motorsport-prepped 1954 DB2/4 Mk1 in nice order.
All the Feltham Astons sold out here, including a 1954 DB2/4 Mk2 drophead (below), one of only six lefties exported, which had been used in the US for 20 years before being laid up since the 1970s. Now over-ripe for the fullest restoration, the project raised the £200,000+ suggested and was taken on therefore for £225,500 with premium.
Another extraordinary vote of confidence in the long-term future of petroleum-fuelled classics was the £66,460 investment in a 1951 DB2, admittedly a very early ‘washboard’ car with grilled vents in the fronts of the wings. But this was an abandoned ‘barn find’ without documents that had been nowhere since the late 1960s. The sorry remains were devoid of any chassis number too!
The DBS (below) was the 43rd built in 1968 – but not entirely what it seemed to be. At some point it had been exported to New Zealand, the DB6-type 4-litre six removed and replaced with a Jaguar XK 4.2 engine. Auctioned with the original engine included, the DBS auto offered the potential for restoration, rebuilding and refitting the original power unit and conversion from auto to manual. None too pretty in close-up, the project was taken on for £37,833; considerably less than the £60,000 or more sought.
The least expensive car in the 19th such annual selling and buying opportunity was the 44th Series II Aston Martin Lagonda (below), made in Newport Pagnell in 1976. 'Sold strictly as viewed', and with no registration document, the futuristic looking four-door four-seater with distinctive razor-edged styling by William Towns was last driven in 2001.
Now requiring full restoration, the electrically over-complicated project was bravely taken on for £15,525 – it could be worth that in spares, one would imagine.
By the time the sun had gone down on a picnic-perfect afternoon, most of the automobilia had been knocked down to members of the Aston Owners Club and 17 Astons had sold under the hammer, including most of the higher value cars, while another four were transacted afterwards.
The sale rate for cars therefore rose to 62% (90% of all lots selling) and an average of £244,305 spent per classic Aston.
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