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