Founded in 1913 by the businessman Robert Bamford and the pilot Lionel martin, who began producing small cars under the name Bamford & Martin Ltd., Aston Martin has been a roller coaster of joys and disappointments throughout its history. To date, the British company has gone bankrupt seven times, and yet it has always managed to rise again to become stronger. Vehicles like the Aston Martin ‘A3’ were the foundation of the brand.
Its name is given because it is built on the # 3 chassis created by Martin and Bamford, and because it uses a 1.5-liter Type A engine. The ‘A3’ barely generated 11 CV of power from its four-cylinder side valve (SV) engine, but at the time it was built -1921- it proved capable of setting several speed records, including achieving an average of 140 km / h after 160 kilometers of riding on the Brooklands circuit in Surrey, less than 40 km southwest of London.
In 1923, the service life of the vehicle as a factory prototype was completed and it was sold to a private customer. It changed hands several times until history places it under the ownership of RW Mallabar, in 1927. After a connecting rod failure, the car returned to Aston Martin to undergo a complete rebuild of the engine, at which point the car was refinished in a pale gray shade (instead of its original black) with wheels – the rims were wood – stained red. Eye-catching, no doubt.
The next time Aston Martin ‘A3’ reappears in the history books is in 2002 when it was identified at auction as the third Aston Martin ever produced. In 2003, a generous donation allowed the division of Aston Martin Heritage Trust bought the ‘A3’, who entrusted Andy Bell with Ecurie Bertelli a full restoration to original specifications. A new body was designed and shaped by hand to replace the green body that had been added at some point in its life.
A new ash wood chassis was also built to accommodate the premiere dress, the engine was rebuilt, the radiator was updated and the chrome finishes were removed. The vehicle itself, today looks in perfect working order, with its factory specified black paint that preserves an extremely important part of Aston Martin history. Because this chassis, although not the original, is the oldest that the company keeps in its personal hangar, based in Gaydon.
Aston Martin will celebrate its 100th anniversary in style at the Elegance Contest annual that will take place in September 2021 on the outskirts of London. Fittingly, the contest is one of the most prestigious auto shows in the world. It was first held in 2012 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Elizabeth II’s reign, and it retains royal ties, so attending in a beige Renault 5 is out of the question. However, this 1921 Aston Martin ‘A3’ will fit the bill perfectly.
Source: Concours of Elegance, Aston Martins.com