London

Marlborough House
5 November 2022
Lot 153

1938 Aston Martin 15/98 Short-Chassis Open Sports By Abbey Coachworks

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£230,000 GBP | Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom

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Chassis No.
B8/866/SO
Documents
Cancelled German Fahrzeugbrief
  • One of only 50 ultra-desirable Open Sports variants produced
  • Formerly owned by the Earl of Brecknock and Works-Healey guru John Chatham
  • Restored over 2012 and 2013 at a cost of more than €125,000
  • The archetypal high-performance post-vintage thoroughbred
Please note this lot has entered the UK on a temporary import bond, which must be cancelled either by exporting the lot outside of the UK on an approved Bill of Lading with supporting customs documentation or by paying the applicable VAT and import duties to have the lot remain in the UK.

Founded by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin in 1913, Aston Martin rapidly became a watchword for finely engineered sporting machinery—a reputation that it proudly retains to this day. The English marque began with an impressive competition record, but the interwar years were a turbulent time. By the mid-1920s, the earliest iteration of the company became insolvent.

To aid recovery from its economic plight, the firm rebranded as Aston Martin as the company was acquired by Bill Renwick and Augustus Bertelli in 1926, who had developed their own superb four-cylinder overhead-cam engine. That unit would go on to power a series of high-performance “Bertelli” Astons produced in tiny numbers for a select clientele, while in 1936 these 1½-litre machines were superseded by a new 2-litre variant: the 15/98.

Closely related to the dry-sump 1,949 cc Speed Model that had been developed as a successor to the Ulster, the 15/98 was the apogee of pre-war Aston Martin production. Available in both long- and short-chassis form, it was conceived for touring rather than racing, so featured softer suspension and greater comfort than its predecessors. The car was, however, no slouch. The 98-horsepower twin-carburettor engine endowed the 15/98 with more than ample performance—90 mph being well within reach. It was also more flexible and considered easier to drive than earlier Aston Martins.

First registered "EUL 930", the car offered here is a desirable short-chassis 2/4-seater bodied by Abbey Coachworks. One of only 50 produced, it was dispatched by the Feltham works in March 1938, returning to the factory several times for maintenance. Notable entries in factory ledgers include the replacement of a chassis side member in May 1938, and a repair to the offside rear wing two months later. In August 1938 a new engine beam was fitted, along with radiator repairs. The car returned to the works in November 1949 to receive “repairs due to accident”, which included the chassis being completely stripped and the frame being straightened. Further, in July 1950, a second-hand replacement engine was fitted, with the block “welded and bridged” in November of the following year.

Restored in Germany over 2012 and 2013 by Historischer Motorsport Hieber at a total cost in excess of €125,000, this beautifully presented Aston Martin is finished in wonderfully evocative racing green with black hide and tan weather gear. Notable custodians have included the Earl of Brecknock as well as legendary Austin-Healey guru, John Chatham.

The archetypal post-vintage thoroughbred, this 15/98 would make a magnificent addition to any serious collection.