Aston Martin Type C Speed Model
Aston Martin's were an important car in the history of auto racing, and were well excepted by the automotive enthusiast community who enjoyed driving the cars during the week and racing them on the weekend. An important victory was scored in 1934 at the Tourist Trophy Race in Ulster, followed by a third place finish in 1935 at the 24 Hours of LeMans.
The main drawback for the 1.5-liter Aston Martins had to be their price tag, among the most expensive 1500cc examples produced during this era. On the track, these cars were very competitive, but in the market place they were too expensive to compete. One way to make the cars more marketable was to increase the displacement size, and that's what Aston Martin did, enlarging the engine to 1949cc. The new engine was placed in team cars for the 1936 edition of the 24 Hours of LeMans race and the company scrambled to comply with homologation regulations which required thirty examples produced. The letter of the law stated 'Sold, Built, or Stocked.' When officials came to check on Aston Martin's status, the team had 25 chassis ready, enough to be granted a green light for racing. A short time before the commencement of the race, the race organizer (ACO) cancelled the event.
The design of the Works LeMans entries were similar to the Ulster cars, except they had front wings attached to the chassis and did not turn with the steering. The Works cars were quickly sold after the cancelled LeMans ordeal, and never officially raced by the Works Team. Aston Martin soon retired from racing.
Many of the chassis created to comply with homologation requirements were converted to Speed Models. They were on display at the 1936 Motor Show when the company still had nearly all 25 examples left to sell. Many were raced in events such as the Spa 24 Hours and the RAC Tourist Trophy. Numerous bodystyles were fitted to the cars. Many were later updated to comply with various racing regulations.
Around eight 2-liter examples were unsold. Aston Martin gave them a modern appearance and an aerodynamic streamlined body. The first example was displayed at the 1938 Earls Court Motor Show where its dramatic body sat behind a shield-shaped grill. The remaining seven examples had mesh grills with headlamps mounted behind the grill. Most were given bodies by the Aston Martin factory. These vehicles were dubbed the Type C and could exceed the 100 mph mark. All examples were sold, with the final model finding a buyer just before the close of 1940.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007