Aston Martin Short Chassis Le Mans 1932

The Aston Martin Le Mans was a two or four seat sports car made by Aston Martin between 1932 and 1934. It used the single-overhead-cam engine with a Bore/Stroke of 69.3 mm x 99 mm that had been used by Aston Martin in one form or another since 1927. It was now highly efficient, especially for the 1930s, with an output of around 70 bhp from 1.5 litres. It used twin SU carburettors. The aluminium body was mounted on a separate steel chassis. The car had 4-wheel drum brakes, mechanically operated at the back, and by cable at the front. During 1932 the original price of the Le Mans had been £650, with later models retailing at £595, thereby increasing the chance of the car selling faster.

Aston Martin, encouraged by the car’s reception, began to offer alternative wheelbase lengths: 102 inches/2591 mm or 120 inches/3048 mm and a choice of open two-seater or four-seater bodywork. The cars were long, low and immediately recognisable by their unique radiator style and had great character making all the appropriate mechanical noises that characterized an Aston Martin. Only about 130 of these cars were produced.

The original records of this car confirm that it is a very early example of the Second Series Le Mans. Predating introduction of the suffix designation of ‘/S’ and ‘/L’ for short and long chassis variants, it was nevertheless completed as new on the shorter 102 inch chassis. It was sold by the works to the theatrical and film producer Basil Dean. By 1972 it was acquired by the late Nathan Clark at an auction held by Kirk F. White of Ardmore, Pennsylvania. The invoice for this transaction is annotated with ‘K.W.’ (meaning Kirk White) originally said there would be a Del. Bill of Sale by Richard Regal, Wilmington. This is no doubt a misspelling of the ‘Reigel’ family, being noted car collectors from Wilmington, Delaware, and suggests that he was the former owner. Since then it did not leave the garage it was kept in until it was found again 2012. After the find the Aston was offered at an auction in the condition it was found in. A customer from Holland purchased the car and brought it with him. There it was conserved with the help of an advisor to the Louwman Museum and judge at Pebble Beach. He believed the car to be so original it should be kept that way, in stead of restoring it. He said; ‘A car is only original once, but it can be restored as many times as you like.’.

With all the work the car has underwent the priority was always to preserve the rare original condition this car is in. For example it was thoroughly but softly cleaned with a special soap which is normally used to clean classical Greek statues and old master paintings. It was then conserved with a blend of waxes. The result is a very smooth looking original chassis. The timber body frame was unfortunately found to be too rotten to repair, so a new one was made up to the exact measurements of the original and the old panels affixed to it. This is a very unusual and complicated procedure requiring great skill. Without touching the original bodywork!

The matching number engine and gearbox were completely refurbished (very expensive….) These are only some of the things the car underwent to be able to preserve the original state, while offering a car that is technically completely sound and safe.

This car is an absolutely beautiful and rare Aston Martin that has been extensively refurbished, while preserving all of its originality. It is eligible for all the best events around the world, including Mille Miglia, and the preservation class at Pebble Beach. Included with the car is a well documented file of all the work done and many pictures during its conservation.

Some 250.000 Euro was spend on this unique Aston Martin Le Mans to preserve it for the future.

This is one of the most original Aston’s in the world and we look forward to your interest.

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