Pot­ted his­to­ries and es­sen­tial data on ev­ery road­go­ing As­ton Martin

VANTAGE - - Contents -

Sports/su­per Sports 1920-1925

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1.5-litre in-line 4 Power 55bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 90mph Al­though the first ‘As­ton Martin’ had been cre­ated in 1915, the Great War meant pro­duc­tion didn’t ac­tu­ally start un­til 1920. And be­cause the early years were all about motorsport, it wasn’t un­til 1923 that cars went on sale to the gen­eral pub­lic. The Sports was ad­vanced for its time, with four-wheel brakes and a fully float­ing rear axle, and in Su­per Sports form it got a twin-cam, 16-valve four with a lusty 55bhp. Busi­ness was tough, though, and af­ter around 60 cars had been sold, the com­pany went into re­ceiver­ship in 1925.

Sec­ond Se­ries/new In­ter­na­tional/le Mans 1932-1934

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1495cc, in-line 4 Power 70bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 85mph

Price re­duc­tions, made pos­si­ble by out-sourc­ing more com­po­nents, and con­tin­u­ing motorsport suc­cess at Le Mans and else­where helped lift sales of what are now known as the Sec­ond Se­ries cars. Par­tic­u­larly well re­ceived was the Le Mans model in­tro­duced in 1932. Its high-com­pres­sion en­gine pushed power up from 60 to 70bhp. Tour­ers and sa­loons were still built but were over­shad­owed by the sports cars – more than 100 ex­am­ples were sold of the Le Mans alone. There was also a (much rarer) four-seater ver­sion.

Ul­ster 1934-1936

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1495cc, in-line 4 Power 85bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 100mph Most revered of all the early As­tons, the Ul­ster was named in cel­e­bra­tion of the Works rac­ers’ suc­cess in the 1934 Tourist Tro­phy and was ef­fec­tively a replica of those fac­tory cars. With power now up to 85bhp from the lat­est ver­sion of the 1.5-litre ohc four, it was enough for As­ton to guar­an­tee a 100mph top speed. Th­ese cars are distin­guished by their sleek body and boat-shaped tail, which houses a hor­i­zon­tally mounted spare wheel. Twenty-one Ul­sters were built, all of which are be­lieved to have sur­vived.

First Se­ries/in­ter­na­tional 1927-1932

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1495cc, in-line 4 Power 56bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 80mph With new fi­nan­cial back­ers, a new fac­tory in Feltham and a new ohc 1.5-litre en­gine, the era of ‘Bertelli’ As­tons be­gan in 1927. There were sports and com­pe­ti­tion mod­els, and also a tourer and a sa­loon (pic­tured), while 1929 saw the in­tro­duc­tion of the low-slung, dry-sumped In­ter­na­tional model, based on the com­pany’s widely suc­cess­ful racing cars of the day. The In­ter­na­tional was fast and re­fined but the price was high and sales re­mained slow. In all, 129 ‘First Se­ries’ cars were pro­duced.

Third Se­ries (MKII) 1934-1936

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1495cc, in-line 4 Power 73bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 85mph The MKII was a devel­op­ment of the Sec­ond Se­ries, in­tended to be a more use­able yet faster ver­sion. A new bal­anced crank­shaft as­sem­bly and a few other mi­nor mods to the 1.5-litre en­gine saw peak power rise to 73bhp, though the top speed for the two-seater re­mained at 85mph. Short- and long-chas­sis ver­sions were avail­able with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent bod­ies, in­clud­ing tourer, two-door sa­loon and drop­head coupe. A short chas­sis with lightweight body was adopted as the Works car and ul­ti­mately be­came the Ul­ster.

2-litre Speed/type C 1936-1940

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1949cc, in-line 4 Power 110bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 95mph To broaden the ap­peal of its range, in 1936 As­ton in­tro­duced a 2-litre en­gine, based on the 1.5 but with in­creased bore and stroke and domed pis­tons. The Speed model was cre­ated for the 1936 Le Mans, though in the event the race was can­celled. Some 25 were even­tu­ally sold. In 1938 it was de­cided that eight left­over Speed chas­sis should be used to cre­ate a more ‘mod­ern-look­ing’ As­ton. The re­sult­ing Type C, with rather bul­bous body­work, didn’t go down well with en­thu­si­asts and the last one sold at Christ­mas 1940.

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