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Launched in 1951, the DB3 was never the successful race car Aston Martin hoped it would be. It was powered by a Lagonda straight-6 engine with 133 HP, which only proved to be very unsuccessful, but that was partly rectified in 1952 when Aston Martin replaced the 2.6 liter engine with a larger one: a 2.9 liter with 153 HP. These changes didn’t drastically improve the DB3, but it improved by placing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at Silverstone in May 1952 and was then forced out of Le Mans.

After that, Aston Martin had to take some serious measures to save the failing race car. They asked designer A.G. Watson for some assistance and the following year - in 1953 - the company came up with a new prototype in Charterhill, UK. This new version was called the DB3S and featured a lighter chassis with a reduced wheelbase and a few other modifications that helped it be more successful on the race track.

The new DBS3 stayed in production until 1956 during which Aston Martin produced a total of 31 units: 11 work cars - that have never been raced - and 20 cars being sold for customer use.

Hit the jump to read more about the Aston Martin DB3S.

  • 1953 - 1959 Aston Martin DB3S
  • Year:
    1953- 1959
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior and Interior

1953 - 1959 Aston Martin DB3S Interior
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The new DB3 and DB3S models featured the same feline body figure Frank Feeley designed for the DB2 - a model that is still considered to be his masterpiece. Aston Martin also opted to use the classic cutaway section behind the front wheels - famous in the Ferrari 250TR models. It was distinguished by raised eyebrows and a redefined ’humped oval" grille theme which is a trademark that is still used in the Aston Martin production cars.

The DB3S was built as both coupe and open-top versions. However, the two coupe units developed in 1954 to compete at Silversone crashed and were re-bodied in 1955 as open cars.


1953 - 1959 Aston Martin DB3S Drivetrain
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The model launched in 1952 was powered by an 3.0 liter inline-six engine with an output of 210 HP. However, for the 1954 racing season, the engine received a supercharger which increased the output to 240 HP.

The engine was mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox and sprinted the car up to a top speed of 140 mph.

Racing History

1953 - 1959 Aston Martin DB3S Exterior
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All of the changes the DB3S received actually improved its success in the long run. In the 1953 Le Mans race, the model wasn’t as successful as Aston Martin hoped as all three models that were entered into the race had little success, but then at the Tourist Trophy, Goodwood Nine Hours, and British Empire Trophy, Aston Martin took overall victories against British competition.


Aston Martin was thrilled with their local competition victories, but they were looking for international success. As a result, for the 1954 season, one of the cars entered the Le Mans race was upgraded with a supercharger that increased the car’s output to 240 HP. This improvement was in vain, though, as both coupe versions developed for Silverstone crashed and Ferrari took the victory at Le Mans.

1955 and 1956

In the 1955 racing season, things changed when Aston Martin took full advantage of the new 3-liter limitation on engine capacity in the sports car championship. The DB3S took victory at Silverstone and placed second at Le Mans with drivers Peter Collins and Paul Frere behind the wheel. That same year, the DB3S also took the victories at British GP and Goodwood Nine Hours.

At the 1956 Le Mans, the DB3S came second for the second time with Stirling Moss and Peter Collins at the wheel.

Monterey Auction

1953 - 1959 Aston Martin DB3S Exterior
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One of the only 20 DB3S units delivered to customers will be at auction on August 18, 2012 in Monterey. The model is estimated at an amazing $3,500,000-$4,000,000.

1953 - 1959 Aston Martin DB3S Exterior
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  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Little racing success to speak of

Source: RM Auctions

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  (727) posted on 08.17.2012

Seven Years brought innovation for this Aston Martin DB3S. Every year, they upgraded it with a better performance.

  (473) posted on 08.16.2012

Yeah, the Auction is within days. I’m so excited about that. I hope they could lower the starting price.

  (466) posted on 08.16.2012

Observing those years of Aston Martin, it seems that they had their best of their time. This became as reliable as they concluded before.

  (463) posted on 08.16.2012

The Monterey Auction is coming, and it builds excitement on this DB3S. It has a great feline look and comes with an improvement from the original model.

  (806) posted on 08.15.2012

During the 1955 racing season, things have changed when Aston Martin took the full advantage on their new 3-liter limitation on engine capacity in the sports car championship.

  (506) posted on 08.14.2012

It’s a very rare event that they are only going to auction this DB3S. I guess that they will have a hard time having the best bidding amount.

  (325) posted on 08.14.2012

They have started it with a 3.0 liter inline six engines and have it supercharged to boost in the 1954 racing event. I’m glad they have provided some images of it.

  (683) posted on 08.14.2012

Through the years that had passed, Aston Martin Convertible race cars evolved into a very dynamic and reliable race car. From 1953-1959, the classical depiction of the race car starts from them. And I wouldn’t doubt that one of this days they will launch a similar version of this DB3S.

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