There were 551 Mark III cars produced by Aston Martin from 1957-1959. Of this small total only 85 examples of the Drophead Coupe were made and only 14 out of the 85 were fitted with the triple SU DBD engine. About two-thirds of production was sent to the United States so we can safely assume this car is one of perhaps 10 LHD Dropheads with the DBD engine ever made.
According to the build sheet (click here), AM300/3/1712 was delivered in March of 1959 to its first owner in the UK. The paint was Elusive Blue, the color it wears today. The interior was blue/grey, and the hood (top) was beige. The build sheet also confirms the LHD configuration, DBD engine and twin exhaust as original.
For reasons unknown the car was soon shipped to Canada. Perhaps the buyer ordered a LHD car as he was planning to emigrate. In 1983 the car was sold to a Robert Follows in Vancouver Canada. Follows apparently had the engine rebuilt at this time but there is no paperwork to verify this. The car stayed with Follows for two years at which point it was purchased by the current owner in July 1985. It then went to a shop that disassembled the car, removed the body, performed the necessary body work, painted the shell, partially restored and refinished the chassis, and re-mounted the body. This took six years and in 1991 it went home where little or no progress was made for many years.
The current owner took the uncompleted and partially disassembled car to an Aston Martin dealer in the Pacific Northwest in 2009 with the idea of having them complete the project. Initially we were contacted to restore the dashboard and instrument cluster, which we did. After this was completed it was decided that the entire project should come our way, which it did in mid-2010.
The car arrived as a roller along with many boxes of parts. The body had been painted but frankly not very well. There were areas of shrinkage, uneven gloss, and some minor bubbling. The owner decided to live with the paint so the plan was for us to sort the car mechanically, restore and refit all the chrome trim, and lastly install a complete new interior and top.
Work proceeded slowly over the years for various reasons. Initially we fitted and wired the restored dash, installed a new steering wheel and fuel pump, and fabricated and installed new brake lines. We got the engine running and deemed it serviceable. A new windscreen and seal were installed. We actually had to fabricate new front seat frames as the originals had gone missing over the years. These were duplicated exactly using patterns from another car. The top frame was repaired, re-chromed, and fitted with new wood. Literally hundreds of loose ends and issues, which can be seen on the invoices (click here) were dealt with. The car then went to our trimmer for a complete new interior, top, and top boot in the correct leather, Wilton wool, and Everflex materials. New chrome trims and pin beading were fabricated and fitted to the top. New bumpers were installed and new bumper filler pans were fabricated, painted, and fitted. Body trim was rechromed as needed and installed. At this point it was decided that some of the paint issues should be rectified, which we did here in our paint facility. The rear axle was rebuilt due to a seized rear wheel bearing. New Dayton chrome wire wheels and Avon Turbosteel radials were installed.
So here is the big picture. This is a rare car that has been off the road for over 30 years. All numbers match. The paint is of decidedly “driver” quality, attractive to the man on the street but easily picked apart by the knowing observer. The car appears to be free of serious corrosion but there are a couple of small areas of bubbling on the front fender pontoons that indicate a reaction between the steel framework and the aluminum skin. The interior and top are fresh, correct, and beautiful, show-quality. The mechanicals are a bit of an unknown as we did no serious work to the engine, gearbox, or suspension. The engine runs well with compression of 130/135/140/135/140/140 and has good oil pressure but there are various nuisance oil leaks and a leaking weep hole. The gearbox (non-overdrive) shifts well, or as well as these ever did. The brakes (disc/drum) work great as we fitted a modern vacuum booster in the front fender pod. Rear axle is quiet. Steering is typically a bit vague and heavy, normal for this model. All electrical items and gauges function, even the clock! Our receipts (click here) detail over $180K in work.
This car could easily be driven and enjoyed as-is. To take it to the next level it would probably need a repaint and an engine overhaul/detail. In any case this is a unique opportunity to acquire a rare and desirable vintage Aston Martin.