Hemmings Find: 1957 Aston Martin DB MK III

1957-aston-martin-barn-find

While browsing the classifieds, we stumbled upon this 1957 Aston Martin. We love AM barn finds and have featured a few over the years, so we figured this one deserved a mention too. It was supposedly parked sometime in the seventies and was just recently pulled out. After a tune-up, it runs, but is still in dire need of a full restoration. The quarter-million dollar asking price puts it out of reach for all but the most well-heeled of us, but it sure is fun to dream. Take a look at the ad here on Hemmings or continue reading for more photos.

dusty-1957-aston-martin

Here it is, in all its dust and dramatic lighting effects glory. We understand the excitement of getting to view a car in its “as found” condition, but I have a feeling that most collectors would like to see it all cleaned up too so they can access what it is going to need. Remember that old advice of “never buy a car in the rain or at night”? Well, maybe we should add, “never buy a car directly out of the barn”! Then again, when you have this kind of money to spend on a project, does it really matter?

newspaper-in-trunk

This newspaper from 1973 was found in the car and the plates are dated the same – proof that the car was parked sometime shortly after. Normally, we would all clean the trash out of our cars before trying to sell them, but for some reason in this situation, it just adds to the story. The trash provides hints about the car’s past and previous owners, so I think the seller was smart to keep everything with the car. Now, I dont want to hear about any of you buying old magazines off of eBay to stick in your cars before selling them!

1957-aston-martin-engine

Under the hood you will find a 2.9 liter inline-six that was based off the 2.6 liter engine that W.O. Bentley himself designed. The engine was good enough to power various Lagonda and Aston race and production cars over a 10 year period before being replaced. With dual SU carbs and single-exhaust this one was good for about 162 horsepower. This Mark III wasn’t a muscle car and it wasn’t really a sports car by definition. It was a fine driving machine though that was both handsome and functional.

1957-aston-martin-hatch

That’s right, we called it functional. With an opening hatch and fold-down back seat, you could actually haul things in the back. This was a true man’s car! Can’t you just picture an avid outdoorsman loading his dogs and guns into the back before setting out on a bird-hunting trip? Ok, maybe that won’t happen today, but with cargo room and a back seat, they weren’t as impractical as you may have thought. Could this have been the first hot hatch?

red-leather-seats

Not only was it a looker, but the accommodations were decent too. The nicely worn red leather seats may appear inviting, but unless the seller has cleaned the inside better than they did the outside, we doubt you will want to sit in there. Mold and rat’s nest are not exactly inline with what you want to project when you own an Aston Martin. Much of the mystic surrounding these cars is mythical though. Nothing in here is really any better than that found in a much cheaper MG.

1957-aston-martin-side

Hopefully, I don’t receive too much backlash for the last statement. Admittedly, Aston Martin and MG were on much different levels in in terms of quality, price, and prestige. Obviously, if money were to object, we all know which one we would pick. Still, it is hard to ignore the fact that much of this car’s value lies in it’s storied past. David Brown, Stirling Moss, and yes, even James Bond all had their hand in making Aston Martin what it is today. We doubt this one is that great to drive, but boy, you gotta feel cool behind that wheel!

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    As much as I like vintage Aston Martins, I think I would rather have a recent used Aston Martin Vantage in top condition plus a bunch of other vintage sportscars, plus an addition to my garage to put them in rather than this DB MkIII, because that’s the choice I’d have….assuming I had the $260K ready cash the seller wants for this car.

    From the crazy prices that British and European buyers are paying for original vintage barn find cars like this, if the seller doesn’t get close to that $260K I’ll bet he could do even better by consigning it to the next Artcurial auction in France or Bonham’s auction at the Aston works. A prototype DB5 that was only about 50% there actually sold for 400 GB pounds at a Bonham’s auction recently. That translates to $672,128.73 USD.
    http://cars.uk.msn.com/news/barn-find-db5-prototype-makes-big-money-at-aston-sale#image=1

    • LuxMan

      A minor but relevant point. The bonhams auction sold a lot of cars to buyers all around the world ( I was there to witness) I have sat though artcurial and RM auctions here in Europe too.

      And I have to say Whilst it is heavily affected by exchange rate but in fact the final sale prices are very much driven my what you Yankees ( :-) ) are willing to pay. So to suggest we are the crazy ones would seem a little strong.

      Of course we do buy a few for ourselves too so we cannot suggest to be innocent

      • Dolphin Member

        Lux,
        I did not intend to speak ill of British or Euro car collectors. My use of ‘crazy’ was intended as a throwaway comment on the prices the cars were bid to, not the car lovers who paid them—admittedly a fine distinction, but I think it can be made. We can all imagine the passion for an original, complete, vintage MkIII…the heat of the moment at the auction…the chump change the winning bid might be for some bidders, etc, etc. Heck, if circumstances were different I could see myself also bidding like….crazy.

        Finally, as much as I like my Yankee friends and relatives, I am not one. I know we have car lovers who are willing and able to bid to crazy levels here in Canada. I’m just not one of them, either.

        Like 1
  2. Rancho Bella

    This is a couple of buck above my pay grade so I will defer to Mr. Dolphin and stick with my Loti………………..

  3. paul

    As Dolphin puts it, this is the same way I feel about all those rusted junk 356’s I see going for stupid $’s, at least this one can get out of it’s own way….. Jesse you should dump the Saab & buy this for your practical parts runner/ sporting car…. I love these old AM’s hell I even like the new ones, in another life time I guess.

  4. Jim-Bob

    If it wasn’t going for a quarter of a million bucks, this is one of those cars that I would clean up, restore mechanically and then drive as-is. I wouldn’t bother trying to perfect it as that ruins a car for me. I just simply don’t want to worry about keeping a car showroom fresh all the time when the biggest joy of ownership is driving it. Real cars have scratches, get dirty, and have engines with greasy fingerprints on them. As this is a pretty good example as-is, I would want to keep it that way and just make certain it was as reliable as a 1970’s British car could be.

  5. Dutch 1960

    Saw a similar AM in about the same condition (same color too) at the San Diego British Car Day last year. So much more interesting than all the restored and polished up cars. The local high end restoration guys were trying to make good friends out of the owner, but I do hope it got left alone. The one thing that made me nervous was that all the fuel and flex brake lines were very old and brittle looking. I would have changed those.

    This one, too, looks like it would be a good one to leave mostly as it is.

  6. The Other Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    One clue to the value of cars such as this is the use of a professional photographer, all the photo-indirect lighting and even the reflective-floor staging that goes into these great photos. Heck, if I was selling this, I’d walk up to the trunk, throw it open, take a few flash shots with my Canon digital, and you’d be looking at mouse droppings and old potato chips in the corners instead of admiring the patina of the old newspapers and rags lurking in the well-placed shadows! That being said, I love these great and creative photos! It all is part of the real or perceived value!

  7. RickyM

    It is certainly beautiful, and I love that the rubbish in the boot has been kept in there. However, I agree with the other comments and would rather use my (fictional) $ 260,000 on a number of car purchases.

  8. Keruth

    Ah, found in Columbus, Cleveland Plain Dealer paper, hmm.
    Not that I’m jealous of the find (ok, maybe I am), but if I were to have a hankering for this, at this price, well? NEOhio is not a friendly environment for any auto. Much less for that tasty British steel.
    Tin worms love everything here in the Rust belt. Even Aluminum, with a dash of salt.
    Bring an ice pick! (opps, different news letter, LoL.)

  9. Bill K

    Ohh the hindsight. I passed on a 3/4 back in the mid-80’s for less than $4000 in Washington DC. As I was already doing restoration/ resurrections on a Lotus Cortina GT, 66 Alfa GTV, a Lotus 41 and a vintage hydroplane.

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