Aston Martin DB Mark III

Aston Martin DB Mark III

The Aston Martin DB Mark III, produced between 1957 and 1959, holds a distinguished place in the annals of automotive history. As the successor to the DB2/4 Mark II, this model encapsulates the spirit of Aston Martin with its blend of performance, elegance, and advanced engineering. Let’s delve into the remarkable features and legacy of this iconic car.

Design and Aesthetics
The Aston Martin DB Mark III was designed by the renowned Frank Feeley, whose vision gave birth to a car that is both aesthetically pleasing and aerodynamically efficient. The most notable exterior change from its predecessors was the adoption of the distinctive, graceful grille that would later influence the design of the DB4 and subsequent Aston Martins. The DB Mark III’s bodywork, crafted primarily from aluminum, contributed to its sleek appearance and light weight. This was the company’s first road car to feature the classic Aston Martin grille, created by body designer Bert Thickpenny, in a sleek new front end that improved visibility of the road ahead.

Performance and Engineering
Described as “one of the world’s outstanding sports models” by The Autocar, the DB Mark III incorporated lessons learned on the race track. Polish engineer Tadek Marek fundamentally redesigned the 3-litre engine, delivering substantially more power and torque than the original LB6. Initially producing 162 bhp, the engine was later tuned to deliver up to 178 bhp, thanks to the introduction of a twin-exhaust system. This powerplant allowed the DB Mark III to achieve a top speed of around 120 mph, making it one of the faster cars of its era.

The Mk III was also the final incarnation of the Claude Hill chassis. Launched simultaneously at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland and in the USA in March 1957, it was initially an export-only model until it appeared at the London Motor Show that October. Girling disc brakes were optional at first but became standard after 100 Mk IIIs had been built, significantly enhancing the car’s stopping power and safety.

Advanced Features
In addition to its powerful engine and improved braking system, the DB Mark III featured several advanced technologies for its time. The car’s chassis and suspension were refined to provide a more comfortable and stable ride, while its interior boasted luxurious materials and craftsmanship typical of Aston Martin’s attention to detail.

The First ‘James Bond’ Aston Martin
The DB Mark III holds a special place in pop culture history as the first ‘James Bond’ Aston Martin. Although it was referred to as a ‘DB III’ in Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel Goldfinger, the car cemented its status as an icon of British automotive excellence and cinematic fame.

The DB Mark III was the last of the DB models to be powered by the twin-cam six-cylinder engine of Lagonda origin. Its combination of performance, style, and advanced features has made it a beloved classic among enthusiasts and collectors. The car’s design and engineering innovations set the stage for future Aston Martin models, influencing the brand’s direction for years to come.

In conclusion, the Aston Martin DB Mark III is more than just a car; it’s a testament to the ingenuity and passion of its creators. From its race-track-inspired engineering to its elegant design, the DB Mark III remains a timeless symbol of automotive excellence.

Key Specifications

  • Engine: 2.9-liter straight-six, redesigned by Tadek Marek
  • Power: Up to 178 bhp with twin-exhaust system
  • Top Speed: Approximately 120 mph
  • Brakes: Girling disc brakes (optional at first, then standard)
  • Chassis: Final incarnation of Claude Hill’s design
  • Notable Features: Classic Aston Martin grille, improved visibility, luxurious interior

Notable Milestones

  • Launch: Geneva Motor Show and USA, March 1957
  • UK Debut: London Motor Show, October 1957
  • Pop Culture: Featured as James Bond’s car in Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger (1959)

The Aston Martin DB Mark III remains a revered classic, celebrated for its contribution to automotive history and its enduring appeal among car enthusiasts worldwide.

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