This may come as a surprise to some, but the Aston Martin brand predates James Bond and his iconic 007 DB5.
It was more than a century ago, in 1913 to be precise, that Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford founded a business to sell Singer vehicles and to perform service on other brands. Just two years later, they decided to produce their own cars, under the Aston Martin brand, the Aston borrowed from Aston Hill where Lionel Martin competed in races.
After producing their first example, war broke out in Europe and the partners joined the military. Business resumed after the war, but despite success in motorsports, the company was bankrupt by 1924, saved first by Dorothea, Lady Chamwood, and after World War II by David Brown.
Among the cars produced between the wars were 24 examples of the 1936 Aston Martin Mark II 1.5-liter sports saloon. One of those cars has been in storage since the early 1970s but is be offered in barn-found condition at H&H Classics auction at the Imperial War Museum on June 19.
The Mark II was introduced in 1934 with a new and stronger chassis and an engine features dry sump lubrication and a counter-balanced crankshaft.
“The car has been untouched for 50 years,” the auction house said, calling the vehicle “a highly desirable restoration project” that is expected to sell at auction for £45,000 to £55,000.
The car has interesting ownership history. It was purchased in 1953 by self-taught electrical engineer Philip Kenyon, who had helped develop the initial radar systems in WWII, when he was part of the Radio Secret Service.
“Often these cars were ‘chopped’ in the ’70s and ’80s to create open top tourers, as that was then the fashion,” said H&H Classics. “But this car has virtually had no modifications at all. Aston Martin fans see features in this car that they have never seen before.”
Kenyon’s family has owned the car since Philip Kenyon’s purchase. One of his daughters, Joan, recalls she and her sister, Ann, riding all over England’s Lake District and into Wales, her father driving the hard aggressively across mountain passes.
She added that it was after the cable on the handbrake failed that her father put the car into storage.
“When new, the car was capable of an 80 mph top speed from its 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine,” H&H Classics said.
“Once restored this wonderful pre-war Aston Martin will surely reward its happy new owner with a superb driving experience as well as the opportunity to continue the preservation of an historically significant motorcar.”