Sold for $72,872 (£40,000) at 2004 Bonhams - The Goodwood Festival of Speed.Sold for $781,000 at 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction.
Works Team Car
Chassis #: SPA/48/8
Engine #: SPA4/48/8
Registration #: THX 259
The Second World War had left the majority of British manufacturing hemorrhaging. The war effort had taken its toll on industry and many would be found wanting for capital just to get started back up into general production. Aston Martin, and certainly Lagonda, found themselves in these positions. Enter David Brown.
David Brown's Tractor Group would actually be one of the few strong businesses in post-war England and he would purchase Aston Martin in February 1947. Lagonda would soon follow suit. This meant Brown had the people and the financial means to restore Aston Martin to prominence. With the help of Claude Hill, the company would introduce a new line of small Sports using Hill's four-cylinder, 2.0-liter engines.
The first example would be rather hastily built toward the end of 1947 and would begin testing in early 1948. However, the best scenario for testing and promotion was going racing. Therefore, a new car would be quickly built for the Aston Martin works team. That first chassis, LMA/48/1 would be prepared for a difficult event, the Spa 24 Hour race.
The debut of the car could not have gone any better as the single 2-liter Sport went out and promptly took home the overall victory giving Brown his first victory and a fabulous marketing opportunity. He would realize this and would take full advantage. It would be announced at the London Motor Show that Aston Martin would produce a production version of the 2.0-liter Sports. An example would be on display. In fact, it would be the very car that won at Spa, only re-bodied.
Re-designated chassis SPA/48/8, this is the very car that won at Spa and that ended up on display in London. It was Aston Martin's promotional tool. Sadly, the car, despite its remarkable success on the track, would be unable to generate any interest from the public for a road-going version.
In the end, only 14 examples would ever be produced. Thankfully, Brown continued looking ahead and would end up looking to W.O. Bentley's inline six-cylinder engine that would soon become the staple of Aston Martin's most iconic automobiles.
The 'Spa Model' would have the unique distinction of being the very first car produced following Brown's purchase of Aston Martin. Interestingly, the car was not originally intended to race at Spa. It was a touring automobile. But, its handling was sublime and its reliability, as demonstrated in the race, was even better.
Called the 'Nine Weeks Wonder', the Aston would be victorious at Spa besting the dominant Talbot-Lagos. Averaging over 72mph over the course of the race, the whole story of the car would be the stuff of legend.
But it wouldn't end there. Following the show in London, Brown's son, David Brown Jr., would make use of the car. Despite an accident in 1950, the car would continue to make appearances and would end up at places like Silverstone rather frequently.
Not long after, the car would be sold via Ackland & Tabor to a J. Poingdestre of Jersey Island. Over the next couple of years the car would take part in a number of hill climbs. The car would then be retired and stored away for quite a few years until, in 1968, it was purchased by Barrie Jones, also of Jersey. Jones would take a great deal of pride in the car. He would have the car rebuilt entirely and then would end up selling it to Jean Thuysbaert of Nice, France. Then, in 1972, the car would pass to the Dutch National Motor Museum. There the car would remain for three decades.
Over the course of its time in the museum the Aston Martin would make a handful of appearances outside the museum walls, including a run in the 2002 Mille Miglia Storica. It would also be during this period the car would receive its FIVA Certification.
In 2004, the car would change hands again becoming the property of Bill Cakebread of England. He would take on the task of restoring the car to original condition. In 2005, the work continued and included such details as bare metal re-spray and a reupholstering of the interior. The following year, much of the mechanical restoration would take place. The year after that the car would emerge and would make appearances at Silverstone and Brooklands. The car would even do some laps as part of the St. John Horsfall race in June of that year.
Interestingly, back in 1949, following Horsfall's fatal accident, this car would be used as the model for the St. John Memorial Trophy, a trophy presented to the winner of the race bearing the same name.
In 2012, the car would again find a new home. The owner, a London-based collector, has since gone to great lengths to document the interesting history of this car. Articles, letters, factory build sheets, publication references and other documentation have all been assembled and now accompany the car. As a result of the importance of the car and the assembled history, the car would be included as part of an exhibition at the 2013 Concorso d'Elegance Ville d'Este recognizing the five most important Aston Martins. This would be one tremendous, but well deserved honor.
Offered for sale as part of the 2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge auction, this prestigious Aston Martin would garner a great deal of excitement and interest. Its provenance, restoration and success on the track all combined to inspire a final sale price of $781,000.By Jeremy McMullen