1939 Scottish Rally entrant 1938 ASTON MARTIN 15/98 SPORTS 2/4 SEATER
COACHWORK BY ABBEY COACHWORKS
Registration No. GMT 333
Chassis No. B8/813/50
Engine No. B8/813/50
Light metallic green with red fabric interior
Engine: four cylinders in line, single overhead camshaft, 1,950cc, 98 bhp at 5000 rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: beam front, live axles, half elliptic leaf springs all round; Brakes: four wheel hydraulically operated drum. Right hand drive.
By the mid-1930s, Aston Martin was one of the most admired of British sporting makes. Solidly engineered, low-built, their 1.5 litre endurance sports-racers took the team prize in the 1934 Tourist Trophy race in Ulster, a success followed by an impressive third place in the 1935 24 hours Grand Prix d'Endurance at Le Mans. As a road car, the Ulster made a very desirable hand-built 100 mph sporting mount for the enthusiastic driver, but it was a limited market. If the company was to survive, it had to widen its appeal. For Le Mans 1936 two-seaters appeared, broadly similar to the Ulster but with a longer stroke 100 bhp two litre version of their well proven wet sump power plant. The racers provided the basis for a new production model with a chassis similar to the Le Mans cars but stiffened and available in short (8 ft 3in.) or long (9 ft 8in.) wheelbase form. As a production model Aston Martin combined the new type's fiscal hp and rated power to give its 15/98 title. There was a good synchromesh gearbox, well-chosen hydraulic brakes and magneto ignition, the engine had wet sump lubrication. The front axle received an upper-mounted steel cable to locate it and resist front spring wind-up. Built-in axle jacks were provided. On test, a short-chassis sports four-seater built to full production specification managed 82 mph, and for the first time, it seemed that the company had a chassis suitable for comfortable four-seater coachwork. At that year's motor show, in addition to the Speed Model and open four-seater, there was a well-proportioned four seater sports saloon.
Initially the bodies were built by Bertelli, but later were ordered from established houses such as Abbot and Abbey coachworks as on this car. The long wheelbase 15/98 proved to be as fast as the sporting car, a drophead version recording 85 mph on test. Aston Martin built 75 sports tourers on the short chassis, 50 tourers and 50 saloons.
According to the continuation old buff log book, this 15/98 was originally registered on 1st February 1938. It is not known who the original purchaser of the car was, but it might well have been a Mrs. Higgins, by whom the car was entered in the Royal Scottish Automobile Club Scottish Rally in 1939, as noted in the Aston Martin Owner's Club listings for 1992. This same register suggests that 'GMT 333' was probably broken up, however, the car was and is very much still extant.
Post-war its known secluded life has been with Ernest Stanley Ripley of Curzon St. London, who bought the car in February 1955 and ten years later sold it to Stanley Macer of Manea, Cambridgeshire. Some time later it passed into the Sharpe family's collection.
Today, the car is in generally complete order, but has been laid up for many years, it will require re-commissioning and restoration. On file are the continuation log book and an old MoT dating from 1965.