Bonhams | 2018-10-08 | Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia Auction Philadelphia Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum | Venue : Philadelphia, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
Lot No. : 110
Year : 1930
Engine Size : -
Chassis No. : #K083
Engine No. : #K083
Estimate : US$ 160,000 - 210,000
Aston Martin International Sports 2/4 Seater Not Sold


1,495cc SOHC Inline 4-cylinder Engine
Twin SU Carburetors
73bhp at 4,750rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs Front and Rear
4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes
*Rare example of Aston Martin's first high-performance production car
*Exquisitely restored and presented
*A ticket to some of the world's most exclusive motoring events
*A great prewar sports car from a legendary make
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 immediate post-WWI years. Unfortunately, the management's concentration on motorsport, while accruing invaluable publicity, distracted it from the business of manufacturing cars for sale, the result being just 50-or-so cars 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 Bertelli and William Renwick. 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 1.5-litre, overhead-camshaft road car, the duo featured dry-sump lubrication, and this feature was carried over to the International sports model, newly introduced for 1929. Built in two wheelbase lengths (102 and 118), only 81 Internationals were manufactured between 1929 and 1932, mostly with bodies by Augustus's brother Enrico 'Harry' Bertelli.
A contemporary road test of an International recorded a top speed of 81mph with up to 90mph attainable, depending on the back-axle ratio. The new Aston was soon making its mark on the racetrack, 'Bert' Bertelli and Pat Driscoll winning the Biennial Cup at Le Mans in 1932, one of many competition successes achieved before the International was superseded by the Le Mans and Ulster models. Private owners entered all kinds of competitions, while team drivers included Sammy Davis, Eddie Hall, Cyril Paul and George Eyston.
Without question the most beautifully restored Aston Martin International we have offered, this is truly a benchmark example of its type. Acquired by the vendor in the 1990s, this rare early Aston was entrusted to Henry Magno of Magno Restoration in Haverill, Massachusetts for a complete restoration. Best known for his fine pre-war Mercedes restorations, Mr. Magno performed a meticulous nuts and bolts job bringing the machine to the highest possible standard. During the restoration a replacement block was fitted, a necessary and costly job on many of these 1½ liter cars. However, the original is included. Mr. Magno was given free rein to deliver the restored Aston within the highest degrees of authenticity. A look at the engine bay shows how authentically the car was restored without crossing over into over restoration.
The coachwork is particularly noteworthy for its exceptional panel fit and door lines. The sporty exterior is finished in a period correct dark red that is striking with the nickel-plated bright work. The interior is trimmed in fine tan hides over wool rugs. The figured wood dash is finely polished and displays the correct compliment of original instruments. A recent test drive by a Bonhams specialist found the car easy to start and free revving with crisp steering and braking. The original gearbox is good fun to run through and easy to rev match for clean shifts. Overall, the car worked as well as it looked.
Since its recent restoration, the Aston has seen infrequent use but was displayed at the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance. Other than this, it has been housed in a climate-controlled garage worthy of such a lovely machine.
This Aston is clearly a car at home both on a twisting road or a concours lawn. Seldom found in the US and highly desirable for their fine driving characteristics and fine looks, one is unlikely to find a better example of this legendary machine.

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