London

6 September 2017

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Lot 138

1939 Aston Martin Speed Model Type C

£575,000 - £725,000

To be auctioned on Wednesday, September 6, 2017


  • One of eight Type Cs built by Aston Martin; one of only six remaining in original specification
  • Participant in the 1939 RAC Rally
  • Displayed at the Aston Martin Centenary Celebrations in Kensington Palace Gardens and the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2012
  • Fully restored by Ecurie Bertelli


Rarer than an Ulster Team Car, capable of reaching speeds over 100 mph in 1938 and with a modern-looking aerodynamic body that continues to turn heads even today, the C-Type was Aston Martin’s last model before World War II, and a car to be proud of. It signifies the end of an era even while invoking the image of the future.

The cancellation of the 1936 Le Mans was a crushing blow for Aston Martin; coming high off a class win in 1935, it was supposed to be an easy win. More than that, the marque had just spent years producing its newest model, the 2-Litre Speed Model. Like the one offered here, they were equipped with Claude Hill’s latest engine, a 2-litre with larger carburettors, higher lift cams and importantly, fitted with a dry sump. To house this engine a new chassis was also made, stronger, shorter and wider than the former chassis. The cancellation of Le Mans meant that these vehicles needed selling; however, with the recent change in ownership, the Speed Models were forced to take a backseat, and it would take until 1940 for all 23 of the Speed Models to be sold.

In order to maintain the model, Aston Martin sold the Speed Model in several forms – the last of these would come to be called the Type C. The Speed Model offered here, A9/722/U, is one of only eight Speed Models bodied with the Type C body; this body had steel-framed bodies designed by Claude Hill. An engineer by trade, he focused on the aerodynamic efficiency of the bodies, hence the very smooth, streamlined look. The main body panels were constructed of light alloy and the wings from steel. First introduced to the public at the 1938 Earls Court Motor Show, the final iteration of this design featured the headlamps dramatically set behind the rounded radiator shell. The Type C’s were nearly 20 mph faster than the open-wheeled and 2/4-seater bodied cars, almost certainly as a result of their wind-cheating shape.

Chassis number A9/722/U was one of the original three Type C’s produced, and the first one after the prototype. Registered KMD 69, a registration it still holds today, the car took place in the RAC Rally that April, driven by Aston Martin owner Mr P.B. Mayne, and finished 8th in class. Shortly thereafter, the car lapped Brooklands at an average speed of 94 mph. Presumably at this time, the car remained property of Aston Martin as the car’s first private owner purchased the car in July 1939. Intriguingly, the car is photographed at Le Mans in June 1939 alongside Robert Hitchens and Mortimer Goodall’s Aston Martin Speed Model, car number 29.

After the war, the car was sold to a Mr Crawford, who still owned the car in 1953 when the build sheets recorded an engine rebuild. At some point in its history, the body was detached from the chassis and is thought to be lost to time. Under current ownership, KMD 69 was reunited with what is believed to be the majority of an original Type C body and passed to renowned marque specialist Ecurie Bertelli to receive a full restoration to original specifications, which included stripping the found body to bare metal before re-spraying it in the original duo-tone colours of biscuit and green.

Since the restoration, the Type C has been displayed at the 2012 Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance and Aston Martin’s 2013 Centenary Celebrations. Further to those events, the Type C has run a handful of vintage driving events as well, including the Ennstal Classic, Paris-Madrid Rally, the Sanremo Rally Storico and finally the Grand Premio Terre di Canossa each year from 2014–2016, winning a prize at the associated concours in 2014. As such, the car is accompanied by a FIVA passport, category A/3.

One of Aston Martin’s more unusual models, but certainly worthy of the marque’s reputation for high-speed sports cars given their full competition specification, the Type C should not be overlooked. A9/722/U would be at home with any collector with a serious need for speed and a love of the unique.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more