Page 1 of 2 Next >> Shortly after restarting production in 1947, Aston Martin returned to their racing ways. The first competition cars were closely related to the company's DB1 and DB2 road cars and were certainly not unsuccessful. Aston Martin's new owner David Brown, however, understood that winning the major races would require a purpose built machine. Making his intentions very clear he hired Robert Eberan von Eberhorst, who had previously designed the successful Auto Union Type D Grand Prix car. Towards the end of 1950 the development of the new 'DB3' racer commenced.
In Von Eberhorst's design philosophy simplicity and durability were key. He came up with a conventional ladder frame chassis with substantial cross-bracing for rigidity. Suspension was by trailing links at the front and a more advanced DeDion axle at the rear. Torsion bars and Armstrong dampers were used all around. Power came from the latest version of the Lagonda sourced straight six engine, which displaced 2.6 litre and produced 133 bhp. The new racing car was covered in straightforward aluminium 'spider' body, easily recognisable by the large 'egg-crate' grill in the now familiar Aston Martin shape.
David Brown had intended to debut the DB3 during the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans, but a mere two months before the race the car only existed on paper. Much to the disliking of Von Eberhorst, he commissioned two lightweight versions of the DB2 for Le Mans, postponing the introduction of the DB3. Using the engine built for the DB3, one of these special DB2s finished third and claimed a class victory. It would take until September of 1951 before the first DB3 would take to the track during the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod. Lance Macklin ran as high as fifth before retiring with a damaged engine due to an oil leak.
Minor modifications were carried through over the winter as the John Wyer run Aston Martin Team prepared for an all out assault in 1952. A further three cars were built, while the prototype was equipped with a fixed head body for Le Mans. At the first race of the season, at Silverstone, the three new DB3s finished second, third and fourth behind Stirling Moss in a Jaguar C-Type. Compared to the Jaguar, the DB3 was considerably down on power and the Aston engineers quickly worked on a possible answer; a three litre version of the straight six engine. Page 1 of 2 Next >>