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The CAR Top 10: stars of the 2016 Aston Martin sale

Published: 28 May 2016

► The top lots from the Aston Martin Sale
► From brutal twin-supercharged Vantage…           
► … to delicate DB2/4 Drophead Coupe

If you’re looking for an owner’s manual for your DB5, or a barn-find Aston Martin to restore, where do you head? You could trawl the internet, get on the phone to the specialists or traipse around countless autojumbles.

Or, alternatively, you could attend the annual Aston Martin sale. It’s hosted at the company’s Works facility in Newport Pagnell, and auctioneers Bonhams carry out the sale of countless Aston-related lots.

From complete restoration projects through to pin-sharp examples, and everything in between, numerous cars are offered. As it’s hosted by Aston and Bonhams, the auction also tends to attract some of the most desirable and attractive lots – as well as countless items of memorabilia, including signed Bond posters, ex-development projects and spare parts.

Despite the high-end classic car market weakening recently, as evidenced by numerous cars making nowhere near their estimate, and some not selling at all, there was still strong competition for certain lots. A 1955 Lagonda 3.0-litre Drophead Coupe, for example, sold for £89,420 including fees – more than double its top estimate of £35k. Clearly at least two people really, really wanted that one car and were willing to go above and beyond to acquire it.

We attended the most recent sale, on 21 May, to see what else was on offer. Out of all the lots, here’s what really took our fancy – and how much it cost, including fees…

10) Full-size Aston Martin One-77 design verification model (£10,625)

Aston Martin One-77 design prototype

The least expensive One-77 ever, albeit one that can’t be driven. Or sat in. This 1:1 scale design model would be a truly remarkable display piece, though – and a fine piece of Aston heritage to hang on to. It’s not something to casually drop into the middle of your designer living room, though. Despite the fact it’s a model, it weighs a not-insignificant 1119kg.  Floorboards beware…

09) 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark 1 Sports Saloon (£158,300)

Aston Martin DB2/4

This DB2/4 was reputed to be a lovely car to drive, with a strong engine, rewarding handling and excellent brakes. It was also in fine fettle otherwise and came with three binders full of paperwork that documented its history – including a comprehensive breakdown of its extensive restoration. It was eligible for the Mille Miglia and other events, too. A sharp, elegant classic that’s completely sorted and ready to compete? Sign us up.

08) 1986 Aston Martin Lagonda Series 3 Shooting Brake (no sale, estimate £200k-£250k)

Aston Martin Lagonda Shooting Brake

Remember the time when you could buy the oft-overlooked, oft-detested Lagonda for several grand? Provided you could live with having to treat it like a giant kit car and were handy with a soldering iron, your purchase then would have proved easily justified now – as the boat has truly sailed, with auction values regularly exceeding £50k. This one-off Shooting Brake was in some respects a more elegant-looking beast than the saloon, but it failed to sell. Perhaps it was the fear of its bespoke £27k rear glass that put buyers off...

07) 1960 Aston Martin DB4 Series 2 Sports Saloon (£337,500)

Aston Martin DB4

A usable and collectable classic Aston? This Series 2 DB4 appeared to fit just that billing, thanks to a host of modern touches – including the fitment of power steering. It also benefitted from a factory-fit overdrive, upgraded cooling system and electronic ignition, among countless other upgrades, making this classic DB a fine tourer.  It even came with the appropriate and smart-looking vanity plate, as well as an extensive history folder, rounding the package up neatly. Not cheap, though, by any stretch. 

06) 2000 Aston Martin Vantage V600 Le Mans Coupe (£449,500)

Aston Martin Vantage V600

This monstrous V600, with its bull nose-evoking grille and twin superchargers, commanded a hefty premium – but justifiably so. It was a one-owner car, with just 2637 miles on the clock, and one of only four built to feature a 600bhp engine and six-speed manual gearbox. Execute the best launch in ideal conditions and it would reputedly sprint from 0-62mph in just 3.9sec. Even by today’s standards, that’s seriously quick. This example was in beautiful condition throughout, making it well worth the price of admission. After all, you’re unlikely to find another like it...

05) 1953 Aston Martin D2/4 Mark 1 Drophead Coupe (£326,300)

Aston Martin DB2/4 DHC

Looking for something for those finer days? This drophead would have been at the top of our list if so, given that it was in absolutely stunning condition throughout. It was also notable for being one of Aston’s original demonstrators, as well as a car used in various marketing materials. With a 3.0-litre six-cylinder motor breathing through a brace of Webers, a manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential, it’d make for a great historic rally contender – which, unsurprisingly, is what its past owners used to do with it. It’s even still got rally trip recorders, and it’d be a shame not to put them to use again...

04) 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Sports Saloon (£191,000)

Aston Martin DB6

Okay, so at a glance this might look worth steering clear of – but bear with us. This ’66 DB6, in desirable Vantage specification, hasn’t been touched for 25 years – hence its downbeat appearance. However, it was reputed to have covered only 15,707 miles and, outside of its weathered exterior, appeared pretty solid. A comprehensive restoration would return it to impeccable condition and you’d likely easily recover the cost of the work back – and then some – with the resulting uplift in its value. Alternatively, and what we’d prefer, you could go through the structure and mechanicals, buff the paint and let that hard-earned patina continue to thrive.

03) 1972 Aston Martin DBS V8 Sports Saloon (£113,500)

Aston Martin DBS V8

If you were looking for something that was perfect from nose to tail, then you wouldn’t have gone far wrong with this DBS. It had been on the receiving end of a full nut-and-bolt restoration, which also resulted in it being returned to its original colour and trim combination. More prominently, it also benefitted from – brace yourself – a £28,000 engine rebuild. Its V8 promptly thundered out 342bhp and 399lb ft on the dyno, meaning this DBS really had the muscle to back up its looks.  Now someone’s done all the hard work, and spent all the required on it, it would be a great car to pick up and enjoy.

02) 1953 Aston Martin DB3S Sports-racing two-seater (£6 million lower estimate, unsold) 

Aston Martin DB3S

This was unquestionably the star lot of the auction for most. This works racer was one of just 30 made and, uniquely, was built for Sir David Brown’s personal use. It went on to race in myriad events and was driven by the likes of Sir Stirling Moss, Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori. It even appeared in School For Scoundrels, alongside Terry Thomas. Alas, it appeared it wasn’t the DB3S’s day, despite its eligibility for events like the Mille Miglia. The hammer fell at £5 million and, seemingly, the car remained unsold. Perhaps it’ll pop up at another auction house in due course. 

01) 1977 Aston Martin V8 Series 3 Stage 1 Sports Saloon (£66,460)

Aston Martin V8

A glorious Tadek Marek-designed V8, a quartet of Webers and a manual gearbox make for a fine combination. Sling them into a restored Series 3 with just 65,097 miles on the clock and you’ve got a superb British muscle car. V8 prices are on the up, but this smart example – which benefited from a few upgrades, including electronic ignition – commanded a sensible £66k sale price. Comparatively affordable, compared to the other cars on offer, yet likely to continue to rise in value. Just remember to use and enjoy it in the interim...

Want to see more from the auction? Browse the Bonhams results page here

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car

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