Aston Martin is not a company that is typically known for its prewar cars. It enjoyed some motorsports success, but nothing like that of Alfa Romeo or Bugatti, and neither could it match the engineering prowess and niche-defining luxury of Cadillac. But that’s exactly what makes cars like this 1937 15/98 Long Chassis Tourer such a good bargain; you aren’t paying millions of extra dollars just for the badge. The company was beset by financial problems (surprise!) before WWII, and it was in 1935 that a new range of cars with a broader consumer appeal debuted.

Though this 15/98 was part of the new consumer push and Aston Martin’s first luxury four-seat car, only 24 units were produced before the outbreak of WWII. The car is actually closely related to a slightly earlier racing model, and like a lot of these kinds of prewar cars, has been used both as a road car and a race car. It sat in storage for several decades after that, before eventually being purchased and restored by the current owner, and it is now going up for auction by Silverstone Auctions.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer.

  • 1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
  • Year:
    1937
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    100
  • Displacement:
    1998 L
  • 0-60 time:
    12 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    82 mph
  • Price:
    160000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629916

The 15/98’s restoration, which was started in 2011, was extensive, especially the body. An entire new body tub was fabricated, and then given high-quality paint. The chrome trim is still original, although the parts were taken off and rechromed. New wheels and tires have been added as well. The new body is a copy of the original, made by Abbey Coachworks for Aston Martin.

It was not unusual for prewar luxury manufacturers to use several different coachbuilders for the same model, or to even sell just a chassis and let the customer take it to have whatever body from whatever couchbuilder they desired fitted. But although the 15/98 didn’t have its body made in-house, all of the four-seat tourers had Abbey bodywork. The look is fairly typical of a sporty four-seater of the time, and if that’s your kind of thing, you’ll probably like this one.

Interior

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629917

While modern luxury cars have long lists of interior features, prewar cars had a much simpler definition of luxury. This mainly came down to the quality of the craftsmanship and materials, which I have no doubt were first-rate when the car was new. But as a part of the restoration, the interior has been completely redone in bourbon hide and accompanying red Wilton carpet. The convertible top is new as well, unsurprisingly.

Drivetrain

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629924

Prewar Aston Martins all used four-cylinder engines, and by this point in the company’s history, they came in either 1.5-liter or the more powerful 2-liter varieties. This is a 2-liter model which produces about 100 horsepower. It was raced in 1950 at the St. John Horsfall Handicap at Silverstone, but not since then.

Essentially, everything in the engine is new apart from the block and head.

What makes this remarkable is that it was taken back to the factory in 1954 to be retrofitted with a dry sump lubrication system for the engine, a popular racing modification that prevented oil starvation during high-speed cornering. But instead of going back to racing after the conversion, the 15/98 was used as a road car from 1955 to 1970, at which point it was put into storage.

When the car was restored in 2011, the drivetrain received a lot of attention. This means that the carburetors and distributor were rebuilt, before work moved on to the engine itself, which was also completely rebuilt, receiving new valves, cams, rods and pistons and even a new crankshaft.

Essentially, everything in the engine is new apart from the block and head. The transmission was rebuilt as well, and so was the whole steering system, the suspension, radiator, starter and basically every moving part of the car. The description even lists the battery as new, which is one part we probably could have just guessed.

Prices

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629914

This is a very well-done restoration job, but the car is not a numbers-matching example, and will not be as valuable as an example that is, no matter how rare it is. Silverstone estimates its value at between £160,000 and £190,000 (approx. $252,000 to $300,000), which is still plenty, even if it falls well short of the $1 million+ prices that the less rare DB5 usually goes for. It seems illogical, but logic isn’t at the top of the list of factors for determining classic car prices.

Competition

Morgan +4

2014 Morgan Plus 4 High Resolution Exterior
- image 550620

Normally, listing a car which is still being manufactured as a competitor to a prewar classic wouldn’t make much sense. But in this case the +4 looks almost exactly like the two-seat version of the 15/98, and that’s not exactly a common thing when comparing a new car to an old one. It is only in the details where you can see any difference at all; but one of those details is the price, which is obviously a fraction of that of the Aston Martin. A +4 starts at £31,750 (about $50,000), and while the engine is the same size as the Aston’s, it makes 154 horsepower here. It might not be a real alternative for a serious collector, but for someone who just wants to cruise around in a seriously old school car, the Morgan a far more practical route.

You can read our review here.

Conclusion

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629915

Prewar cars from European luxury marques are the automotive world’s equivalent to collecting works of fine art. They tend to be tremendously expensive, and the potential for the value to shoot up even further is always there. This one will run you about as much as a Rolls-Royce Phantom or Cadillac Phaeton of the same era, huge luxury cars which cost significantly more when new. But the 15/98’s rarity is one of the more important factors when looking at a classic car. And unless the bottom falls out on the entire classic car market, this one will only become more valuable.

  • Leave it
    • you’ll spend your days wishing it was a DB5
    • driving an old muscle car makes you look cool, driving an old 4-cylinder roadster does not
    • hearing “Really? That’s an Aston Martin? Huh.” all of the time

Source: SilverstoneAuctions

Press Release

A rare example of Aston Martin’s first ever luxury four seat touring car is to be offered at Silverstone Auctions’ May Sale, taking place on Saturday 23rd May.

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629910

The car, a 1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer, was built on the 31st of May 1937 and eventually registered on the 25th of March 1939. This captivating car was first sold for the minimal price of just £575! Now almost 80 years old, the car is estimated to sell for between £160,000 and £190,000 when it goes under the hammer at Silverstone circuit.

One of just 24 Abbey bodied long chassis tourers, KMG 202 spent more than 40 years off the road, kept in dry storage by the same family from 1970 until 2011 when it was purchased as a ‘barnfind’ by the current owner. Subsequently, a no expense spared ground up restoration was undertaken by the highly respected pre-war Aston specialist Andy Bell from Ecurie Bertelli Ltd. Following its renovation, KMG 202 went on to achieve first place in the AMOC Concours D’ Etat for pre-war cars at Broughton Castle in October 2013.

As well as looking amazing, the car drives extremely well with all pressures and temperatures as they should be and has covered just 1500 miles since restoration.

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629911

Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions looks forward to the sale: “We are delighted to be offering more best of breed classics such as this rare Aston Martin. I have no doubt that the catalogue for our May Sale is one of our best ever, with a fantastic range of cars from this pre-war grand tourer right up to modern day supercars on offer.”

Viewing of lots at the sale will open on Friday 22nd May from 9am to 5pm, with further time allocated to viewing on the day of the sale from 9am. The auction will commence at 10.30am, first offering automobilia and luxury lifestyle items, with motorcars hammered away from 1pm onwards.

1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2L Long Chassis Tourer
- image 629912

For those unable to attend the sale in person, buyers can register to bid on cars online through two platforms including Proxibid and Live Auctioneers. Bidding can also be made via phone or by leaving a commission bid with Silverstone Auctions prior to the sale.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: