Collectibles

40-year-old Aston Martin "barn find" special heads to auction

40-year-old Aston Martin "barn...
One of only three ever made, the Aston Martin Sotheby Special has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage
One of only three ever made, the Aston Martin Sotheby Special has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage
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The vehicle was designed as a very limited collaboration between cigarette manufacturer WD and HO Wills and Sotheby's auction house
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The vehicle was designed as a very limited collaboration between cigarette manufacturer WD and HO Wills and Sotheby's auction house
One of only three models ever made, an early 1970s Aston Martin "Sotheby Special" has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage
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One of only three models ever made, an early 1970s Aston Martin "Sotheby Special" has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage
The Sotheby Special has a 5-speed ZF gearbox
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The Sotheby Special has a 5-speed ZF gearbox
Upholstery in a vibrant and interesting green
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Upholstery in a vibrant and interesting green
An unusual rear seating arrangement where there is a sole one-person, sideways-facing seat
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An unusual rear seating arrangement where there is a sole one-person, sideways-facing seat
The interior of this recently uncovered example sports some interesting features, including a "glasshouse" roof
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The interior of this recently uncovered example sports some interesting features, including a "glasshouse" roof
An Aston Martin prototype 5,340 cc, fuel-injected V8 with many of its ancillary parts missing
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An Aston Martin prototype 5,340 cc, fuel-injected V8 with many of its ancillary parts missing
An Aston Martin prototype 5,340 cc, fuel-injected V8 sits in the engine bay
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An Aston Martin prototype 5,340 cc, fuel-injected V8 sits in the engine bay
This specific car, though an apparently largely-functioning, fully-finished example, was created only for display purposes and was never road-registered
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This specific car, though an apparently largely-functioning, fully-finished example, was created only for display purposes and was never road-registered
This rare "Sotheby Special"; a fiberglass-body sitting atop an Aston Martin DBS V8 chassis
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This rare "Sotheby Special"; a fiberglass-body sitting atop an Aston Martin DBS V8 chassis
The original Aston Martin engine identification numbers remain intact
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The original Aston Martin engine identification numbers remain intact
One of only three ever made, the Aston Martin Sotheby Special has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage
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One of only three ever made, the Aston Martin Sotheby Special has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage
View gallery - 12 images

One ofonly three models ever made, an early 1970s Aston Martin "Sotheby Special" hassurfaced after almost 40 years in storage, and is set to be auctioned laterthis year. With a bespoke fiberglass body mounted on a DBS V8 chassis, thevehicle was a radical departure from Aston Martin styling of the time. Given the dilapidated state of this particular example, however, it looks like it will require a good deal of restoration to bring that style back to life.

Originallydesigned as a very limited range of promotional vehicles in a collaborationbetween cigarette manufacturer WD & HO Wills and Sotheby's auction house, this special Aston Martin was created by Ogle Design – the London-based studiothat produced the Reliant Scimitar GTE and the (in)famous Bond Bug.

This specific car, though originally an apparently largely-functioning, fully-finished example, was created only for display purposes and was never road-registered. Of the other two known versions of this model, one was a road-legal, registered version that saw duties as a promotional vehicle traveling extensively around the UK and Europe before being repainted and used as a promotional car for the Graham Hill Grand Prix team.

One of only three models ever made, an early 1970s Aston Martin "Sotheby Special" has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage
One of only three models ever made, an early 1970s Aston Martin "Sotheby Special" has surfaced after almost 40 years in storage

The other was a private commission for a person who, after seeing the vehicle on the BBC TV program Tomorrow's World, convinced the manufacturer to build one specificallyfor them. Aston Martin did so, but at a cost in 1973 of £28,750 (US$44,400). The standard V8 Aston Martin Saloon of the time was already a hefty £8749 (US$13,500), so the one and only customer for this vehicle paid a princely sum for the privilege of ownership.

The interior of this recently uncovered examplesports some interesting features, including a "glasshouse" roofconstructed entirely from glass and supported by Reynolds tubing, upholstery in a vibrant and, let's say interesting, green,plus an unusual rear seating arrangement where there one-person sits in a sideways-facing seat.

Up front resides theremains of an Aston Martin prototype 5,340 cc, fuel-injected V8 engine along with a 5 speed ZFgearbox. The condition of both of these units is unclear, however much of theancillaries seem largely to be missing from the engine bay and no mention ismade in the auction catalog as to their whereabouts or availability.

An Aston Martin prototype 5,340 cc, fuel-injected V8 with many of its ancillary parts missing
An Aston Martin prototype 5,340 cc, fuel-injected V8 with many of its ancillary parts missing

One of the most unusualfeatures of the Sotheby Special is the arrangement of 22 tail lights that weredesigned to light up progressively in relation to the amount of force appliedto the brake pedal. Not quite as radical, but quite interesting, the frontheadlamps have downward-dropping flaps that operate hydraulically when thelights are switched on.

With an auction estimate of around £100,000 - 120,000 (US$155,000 - $185,000), the Sotheby Special is predicted to generate a great deal of interest. It's slated to go under the hammer at H and H Classic Auctions at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England, on October 14 this year.

Source: H and H Classic Auctions

View gallery - 12 images
7 comments
Jugen
Looks like it was designed by a comity of accountants that repetitively hired and fired different designers, until the project became so expensive and ugly, that they needed to hide it in a barn hopefully until humanity died off. Aston Martin must be thinking, oh they found that car, what the hell do we do now.
owlbeyou
The chassis and mechanicals are all Aston, so the parts and expertise are available. Would AM do a restoration of the bodywork? And this body isn't at all complementary to the DBSV8 or AMV8 variants it's derived from. In fact it's rather ugly. The glass house design certainly wasn't made for hot and sunny climates. Even if it is restored, it may always remain an oddity.
So why would anyone put down up to 120,000GBP for it is the question. I think that whoever buys it should modify it into a one of a kind machine with a much better coachwork.
And lose the "Ogle" name:)
Captain Danger
If there were only three made which one of the three was this one?
bergamot69
I thinkowlbeyou and Jugen are being a bit unfair- this car is clearly very untidy, having spent so many years in a barn- I think it will look superb (in a very early '70s futuristic way) when restored.
Ride height does seem excessive- the body needs to sit much lower on its chassis- a good AM specialist could surely see to that.
Stephen N Russell
why cant AM take in car, renovate & adapt design for Today, IE DB 11 model. Very doable. or scan car for later use in concepts. Good design though looks very 70s in style
DavidB
Looks like a Porsche 924 with a bad tushy tuck.
http://cl.ly/image/062E1w2q2p28
SirLan
That is almost the splitting image of a Maserati Khamsin...I would think they never released it because it is a Maserati Khamsin...do a search on google for Maserati Khamsin and see how much they look alike.