Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Tickford
*Please note that the original gearbox described in the catalogue does not accompany the sale of this car.
Robert Yahn, Lake Park, FloridaJack Horn, Nashville, Tennessee (acquired circa 1980)Reid Dennis, Menlo Park, California (acquired from the above circa 2000)Anthony G. Symmes, Paradise, California (acquired from the above circa 2008)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Quail Motorsports Gathering, Carmel Valley, California, August 2008Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance, Houston, Texas, May 2010
Designed to replace the aging DB2/4, the DB Mk III represented the final evolution of the first successful range of David Brown Aston Martins.
The new DB Mk III was immediately distinguished by its attractive Tickford coachwork, which was much more modern and resolved than its predecessor. The most notable visual differences were the sculpted DB3S style grille and revised dashboard layout, which together established a new Aston Martin tradition and that continued throughout the production of the DB4, DB5, and DB6 series.
Not only did the DB Mk III have a striking appearance, its chassis and engine were greatly improved as well. While designing the DB4’s 3.7-litre engine, Tadek Marek and Harold Beach revamped the DB Mk III’s venerable Lagonda-based unit, informed by their competition experience. This included a stiffer block, stronger crankshaft, and a redesigned cylinder head with larger valves. To keep pace with the improved performance, the DB Mk III became the first Aston Martin model to be made available with disc brakes as standard equipment, a development that came directly from the Works DB3S program.
The DB Mk III was produced from March 1957 to July 1959, remaining in production nine months after the all-new DB4 had been introduced. In total, just 551 examples were ever built, of which a mere 84 were specified as drophead coupes, the most expensive of the three body styles offered by Tickford.
According to Aston Martin factory records, this handsome DB Mk III Drophead Coupe was originally finished in Blue Haze with blue gray Connolly leather upholstery, specified in the desirable left-hand-drive arrangement, and optioned with a rare continental spares kit. In keeping with its build date, this DB Mk III was originally equipped with front disc brakes and the attractive rear cathedral taillights, features that are highly sought after today.
On November 12, 1957, the new Aston Martin was delivered to Waco Motors, a British sports car dealer in Miami, Florida. The earliest recorded owner of the Aston Martin was Robert Yahn, a Pratt Whitney engineer from Lake Park, Florida, who acquired the expensive sports car a number of years after it was built, presumably secondhand.
Years later, the DB Mk III was acquired by Jack Horn of Nashville, Tennessee. During his ownership, the Aston Martin was disassembled in preparation for restoration, but the project never developed beyond the initial stages. For approximately 20 years, the DB Mk III sat quietly in a barn outside of Nashville, the body removed from the frame and the various components neatly catalogued.
In 2000, Aston Martin specialist Kevin Kay discovered the rare DB Mk III Drophead Coupe and acquired it for his client, Reid Dennis, for whom he had just restored a left-hand-drive DB Mk III Saloon.
Kevin Kay Restorations began restoring the drophead coupe in October 2000 and fnished the project in November 2001. Once completed, Mr. Dennis was the proud owner of two matching concours-quality DB Mk IIIs, both finished in the same attractive Blue Haze color and ideally optioned with Borrani wire wheels, front-disc brakes, dual exhaust, and a distinctive bumper overrider bar.
As Mr. Dennis intended to use both Aston Martins on the road, several discrete mechanical upgrades were incorporated into both restorations, including a KKR-developed five-speed transmission conversion and the UK-sourced “Feltham fast” suspension system with uprated wheel hubs, spring towers, and alloy brackets.
After several years with Mr. Dennis, the pair of matching DB Mk IIIs was sold to Anthony Symmes, a Northern California collector who owned several significant Aston Martins, including a DB3S. In 2010, the current owner acquired the drophead coupe and it has since occupied a favored status among his outstanding stable of fine European sports cars.
Accompanied by a leather-bound owner’s handbook, tools, restoration records, Aston Martin Hertitage Certificate, a copy of the buildsheet, and the original four-speed David Brown gearbox, this exceptionally rare DB Mk III Drophead Coupe is surely among the finest surviving examples from the final and most desirable series of 1950s Aston Martins. Eligible for numerous international events, equipped with the most desirable factory specifications, and beautifully presented following an exacting restoration, this Aston Martin will appeal to the collector who demands only the very best.