‘Big-car enthusiasts are apt to think that effortless, fast touring is a quality exclusive to vehicles of high horsepower rating, but their views will be considerably altered after they have taken the Aston Martin over a 300 mile journey.’ Motor Sport magazine on the Aston Martin MkII.
Manufactured by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, the first Aston-Martins (the hyphen is correct for the period) rapidly established a reputation for high performance and sporting prowess in the years immediately following The Great War. Unfortunately, the management’s concentration on motor sport, while accruing invaluable publicity, distracted it from the business of manufacturing cars for sale, the result being just 50-or-so sold by 1925 when the company underwent the first of what would be many changes of ownership.
The foundations were laid for the commencement of proper series production with the formation of Aston Martin Motors Ltd in 1926 under the stewardship of Augustus ‘Bert’ Bertelli and William Renwick. Bertelli was an experienced automobile engineer, having designed cars for Enfield & Allday, and an engine of his design – an overhead-camshaft four-cylinder of 1,492cc – powered the new 11.9hp Aston. Built at the firm’s new Feltham works, the first ‘new generation’ Aston Martins were displayed at the 1927 London Motor Show at Olympia.
Like his predecessors, ‘Bert’ Bertelli understood the effect of competition success on Aston Martin sales and sanctioned the construction of two works racers for the 1928 season. Based on the 1½-litre road car, the duo featured dry-sump lubrication – a feature that would stand them in good stead in long distance sports car events – and this was carried over to the International sports model, newly introduced for 1929. Built in two wheelbase lengths (8’ 6” and 9’ 10”) the International was manufactured between 1929 and 1932, mostly with bodies by Augustus’s brother Enrico ‘Harry’ Bertelli.
The ‘Le Mans’ label was first applied to the competition version of the (1st Series) International following Aston’s class win and 5th place overall in the 1931 Le Mans race. This conceit was fully justified when the model placed 5th and 7th in the 1932 race and collected the Rudge-Whitworth Biennial Cup. It may, in fact, be the first car named after the Le Mans Race, although many others have since followed Aston Martin’s example.
This very rare long chassis Aston Martin 1 1/2 litre 12/50hp is presented in beautiful condition having been recently painted in midnight blue & trimmed in burgundy with new Royal Blue carpets.
The car comes with one of the most extensive restoration & ownership diaries I have ever seen, minutely detailing the restoration process & numerous journeys covering a 30 year period.
Indeed in 1938 it was driven in the International Scottish rally by then owner Christopher Angell who converted it to Helmet style front wings & outside exhaust pipes.
In the late 1960’s the car was advertised for sale once more, it then had a body off restoration through the 1970’s which is meticulously detailed. Since then it has covered many thousands of miles on numerous journeys all of which are documented in the owner’s diary. Much work has been done in recent years including refurbishment of the Radiator to cure overheating problems & the car has also been converted to run on Evans Waterless coolant.
The car has an excellent black mohair hood, a full tonneau cover & a complete set of side screens. It has freshly refurbished wire wheels, starts readily & runs beautifully. The steering is light & precise with the car being very delicate to drive. The throttle is to the centre. The gear box is a reverse H pattern & easy to use. This is a rare car & well suited to a collection or for touring use.