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Aston Martin DB3S heads to Bonhams auction

Bonhams will sell an incredibly special Aston Martin DB3S at auction, where it's expected to sell for £6m-£7m.

It's not every day that an Aston Martin DB3S comes up for public auction, especially an example that was driven by Sir Stirling Moss, Peter Collins and Roy Salvadori in period. Bonhams has announced that it will offer such a car, chassis number DB3S/5, at its Aston Martin Works Sale on 21 May 2016. The car carries an estimate of £6,000,000-£7,000,0000.

This particular example has a very interesting history, as it was originally built for the owner of Aston Martin, David Brown, as a road car. It was also built with experimental fibreglass bodywork, the cutting edge material of the time, although it's though that Brown didn't ever get chance to enjoy the DB3S before it was commandeered by the Works racing team following a number of accidents in the 1954 Le Mans 24 Hours. Quickly converted to a more conventional alloy body from the crashed DB3S/2, and converted to full racing specification, DB3S/5 was first raced at Silverstone in July 1954 by Roy Salvadori, where it finished second.

The car went on to race with various legendary racers, including Reg Parnell, Tony Brooks as well as Stirling Moss, racking up some outstanding racing results around the world. It was then sold to a privateer racer, who had less success with the car.

> Take a look at Aston Martins for sale in the classifieds

A tragic turn of events then saw the car driven by a disgruntled mechanic at the Gosport Speed Trials. According to Chris Nixon's book The Aston Martin DB3S Sportscar, Mechanic Alan Overton's girlfriend took up with the owner of the car, and after setting the fastest time in class, he kept his foot on the throttle driving the DB3S into the sea, and ending his own life.

After being recovered from the Solent, the car was re-bodied using a new body from the Feltham Works, which featured different front-end styling by Carrozzeria Touring. It was in this form that the DB3S then appeared in with Terry-Thomas in 1960s movie classic School for Scoundrels.

DB3S/5 has since undergone a full Aston Martin Works restoration. With a view to entering the car in the 2012 Mille Miglia, the owner delivered the car to Works for some light mechanical work, which quickly turned into a full strip down and rebuild. It was then decided that because the body on the car was unoriginal anyway, a new body based on the original factory bodywork would be constructed in Newport Pagnell.

Works saved as much of the original chassis as possible, although major surgery was required to repair the many fractures and stress cracks. If you want to find out about the restoration, and the full history of DB3S/5, read the Winter 2014 issue of Vantage magazine.

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