Note :  all photos are clickable to see them in a much larger size.
           all photos have a 'source' given. Please have a look at my bibliography to decode.

The DB3S was a much more potent racer than the DB3. In fact the DB3 came a little too late (remember it was intended for Le Mans 1951 and that LML/50/8, a.k.a. VMF 64, had to be used because DB3/1, the prototype, was not yet built).
The DB3 would surely have made a terrific road car but that's another story!

So the
DB3S was born to replace the DB3, being smaller, lighter, more powerful and as future was to show open to development.

At first, the DB3S was designed as an open racing car then closed cars were designed for Le Mans without success.
There were production cars, also for racing. Among them 3 were of a FHC design (code DP 179), different from the previous racer design.
And there was a special with FHC body.

Just after I put this page online, friend Alex sent me the three following pages from Spring 1985 AM Magazine of AMOC fame. They're wrote by Chris Nixon who also wrote
Racing with the David Brown Aston Martins.
Here is the article:


This is a fascinating article as one can wait from Chris Nixon. It features a kind of period 'test' of a FHC DB3S next to a Mercedes 300 SLR (!!!)
(by Laurence Pommeroy) and a history of each FHC DB3S . I have updated my page with some of this but you should read those pages ...

The two factory racers:
DB3S/6 (62 EMU) and DB3S/7 (63 EMU)

As stated earlier, two DB3S were built for high-speed circuits, with a closed body. The idea was that they should have been much faster.
In fact they were much slower what was expected and it seems that they also suffered from aerodynamics problems, being prone to lift at high speed. And Le Mans was high-speed story...

They were nonetheless very beautiful. They had the first front-end design (egg-crate).

DB3S/6 at Silverstone (Source: POST)

From the back: at left, the aluminium body just taken off the wooden jig and at right at Silverstone (both, source: RAC2).


Note the way number plates were fitted... Those were works (garage) temporary registrations of course.

Both DB3S FHCs first appeared at Silverstone where DB3S/6 (race number 23) finished 7th and DB3S/7 (race number 24) was 12th.

(Source: HAR)

DB3S/7 at Silverstone under heavy rain. 3-litre class win.
October 1996 issue of Classic & Sportscar)

Both crashed severely at Le Mans.

(Source: RAC1)

Some more photos found on Aston Martin memories:

Nice line up at Le Mans in 1954: supercharged DB3S/1 (race #8), DP115/1 (V12 Lagonda, race #7),
(race #20), DB3S/7 (race #21), DB3S/3 (race #22).
Of notice, supercharging was experimental but DB3S/1 was the car which gave the better results!

You can notice how the first type grille was partly covered announcing the second shape to come.

Number 20 is DB3S/6 and n
umber 21 is DB3S/7.

Both were rebuilt in open form with second body type (like production models but without grille), later updated in third body type with faired-in headlamps.

DB3S/7 at Goodwood in 1955 (second body style)
(Source: Aston Martin memories)

DB3S/6 with its third body style

Here is the history by Chris Nixon:

The three production cars:
DB3S/119 & DB3S/120

Before looking at those three DB3Ss, let's go back to the DB3.
The DB3 Aston Martin is a bit forgotten even by Aston fans because it arrived too late and was not very competitive. It was also a bit overweight.
What is not very well known is that the DB3 could be sold to privateers; not all of them were works cars. In fact only DB3/1, DB3/3, DB3/4 and DB3/5 were works cars. DB3/3 was quickly sold and modified as one of the most beautiful Aston ever: the Vignale coupé.
Note that DB3/2 was a DHC built for David Brown and was also used by the works.
The remaining DB3s were sold to privates. Some of them received
FHC bodies.

That was an exclusive road car when sold £3,700 in 1952 when compared to a £2,724 DB2! (both prices include purchase tax).

Now the DB3S!
This car was much tinier and also had much more success than the DB3.
There were 11 works cars: DB3S/1 to DB3S/11 and also 19 production cars with numbers DB3S/101 to DB3S/120 (excluding DB3S/109).

Whereas the so-called "production DB3" was very close to the works racer, the production DB3S was quite detuned.
The body was like the second works body style but the engine only developed 180 bhp.
Remember first DB3S works racers had 182 bhp but soon this was raised up to 240 bhp with the DP 98 head (twin spark plug).
Works racers also gained disc brakes during their careers.
Very few production cars had one of these improvements. DB3S/117 and DB3S/118 had twin-plug heads for example.

Nevertheless when tested by Autosport (10 February 1956), the production DB3S did:
0-60 mph   in 6.6 secs
0-100 mph in 14.4 secs
the standing quarter mile in 14.4 secs

Prices in October 1955 were £3,684 and £4,800 for the FHC (including purchase tax)

The FHC production DB3Ss are a little bit different.
First, they don't look like the DB3S/6 and DB3S/7 (hopefully as it seems they suffered aerodynamically...). They are rather "a DB3S with a roof grafted on it". They are nonetheless particularly nice to look at and you don't understand they are cute little car before seeing one in flesh or seeing photos of one parked to another car!

And they also received a high quality interior finish.

Idea came from David Brown who wanted a very special GT... (see DB3S/120)
In fact, they are much like exclusive road cars. Supercars as we now say...
And DB3S/120 was also much raced when new.


First owner was the Hon. Max Aitken.
Thanks to b.Roo.ce on AMOC forum, here is the start of its life...
Here are four photos seen on eBay showing DB3S/113 in front of London houses of Aitken.



Please note the front fenders with typical DB3S cutaway...


The wheels come from his DB2/4. A chrome grille was ordered according to factory record.

The car was much used for trips to the continent and the front wings cutaway brought some dirt on the car. So the car was retruned to the factory to be modified by fitting standard wings
Thus it became the ONLY ONE featuring louvered opening in the sides of the front wings instead of the "DB3S trade mark" cutaway.
Also chrome body strips and rear wheel spats were fitted at this time. They were removed in 1957 when bought by Baring.

A very rare photo of DB3S/113 complete with rear spats.
(Source: Supercar Classics magazine, March 1990)

Here is the history by Chris Nixon:

Tested in Road & Track magazine (April 1966):


(Source: FRO)

(Source: FRO)

In an advert...

Here are now some photos found on "The Off-Road Experience", a site devoted to Land-Rover....

You'll find many nice information and photos if you like them but looking more carefully inside you'll also find West-Coast British which enables to finally get Aston Martin Memories with very nice vintage photos!

More about this 109 Land-Rover here! It's a family car luckily found again and restored. The original engine was lacking and was replaced by an inline 6 that could have been an Aston Martin engine!
A charming history.

Here are some VERY nice photos I found on this site:

AM300/3/1562, DB3S/117 and DB3S/113. Note the blue hue...

Laguna 1976, behind a Maserati: DB3S/117, DB3S/113 and DB3S/104.

Laguna 1976 again...

Once more, Laguna 1976. From near to background: DB3S/104, DB3S/117 and DB3S/113.

In the same order... from near to background: DB3S/104, DB3S/117 and DB3S/113.

An astounding news found on the excellent Tim Cottingham'site ! There is a page about the FHCs but also, in this page, DB3S/113 is said to have been modified in open form !!! What a pity !
b.Roo.ce told it was in the 1990s before returning once more to the USA.
I do hope the body and very special interior has been kept safely.
I can't see the point of this "creation". A car with history has been modified in something that has no more history ...

DB3S/113. Thanks Alex for the photo.


First owner: Ropner, a shipping magnate.

Here is the history by Chris Nixon:

Advertised in September 1964 by Peter Sutcliffe (Source: POST):
'Aston Martin DB3S coupé. One of three only built, chassis No. 3S/119. Two owners only, unraced, immaculate in light grey and marroon upholstery, fully tractable for road use. Offers around £1000...'

Silverstone 1964
(Source :
AM Magazine Spring 1985)

Much more recently...

(Source: AM Magazine vol 26 n116)

(Source: AM Yearbook 1987)

(Source: HAR)

(Source: HAR)

Sold on
3 May 1989 by Christie's at Monaco.
Catalogue extract, thanks to


In October 1996 issue of Classic & Sportscar magazine:



The full article:


One more photo sent by Dom :


First owner : David Brown. He is seen below with his friend Laurence Pomeroy. David Brown always listened very carefuly what Pomeroy thought ; remember the "washboards" deletion (see this page).

(Source : AM Magazine Spring 1985)

Here is the history by Chris Nixon:

As new with first registration:

(Source: POST)

Grille was no more present when racing by Jean Bloxham... also note the opening next to left hand side headlamp like on works team cars.
Note her usual registration also found on her DB2 (LML/50/199, see my page about DB2 headlamps)

(Source: HAR)

Offered by the Bloxham company in September 1958 as follows (source: POST) :
'Aston Martin DB3S Fixed Head Coupé
Luxuriously equipped grand touring car, Oyster grey with grey and red interior. This fabulous car now offered for sale. Built by David Brown and driven by Jean Bloxham this year. 12,000 miles since new. Immaculate. Works maintained and recent overhaul just completed 22 mpg and perfectly tractable under all road conditions. Specification include 40 DCO Weber carburettors with ram induction, oil cooler, special works turbo-finned brake drums, 3.9:1 axle ratio (de Dion), screen washers, twin-speed wipers, duo-tone horn, long range Le Mans headlamps, sunshine roof. This must be the fastest closed car in the country, and one of the fastest in the world.'

Sounds tempting!!!

                                            (Source: BUY)                                              Silverstone 1966 (B. Monk)    (Source: POST)

Now, some colour photos !

                                         vintage colours...  (Source: POST)                    vs.        recent ones... (Source: HERI)

Has suffered from fire in the 70s and has been restored. Please note 333 AMG registration.

(Source: HERI)

Appeared for sale in 1992:

                                in Thoroughbred & Classic Cars (June 1992)                           and in Classic & Sportcars (July 1992)

DB3S/105: a special based on a production car.

DB3S/105 was supplied to Graham Whitehead in 1955. He was unhappy with it, the car beeing too slow. Please remember this was a production model and that he had driven works DB3Ss before!
He raced at Hyères with his half-brother Peter. They had to retire.
Then at Lisbon G.P., he was 8th overall (at 79.23 mph) and at B.R.S.C.C. Brands Hatch, 5th overall (at 64.75 mph)

The car was advertised in September 1955 as
'1955 DB3S, low-mileage, only raced four times. Maintained by first-class mechanics. Opportunity to acquire superb car for racing or road use.'
(source: POST).

After DB3S/105 was sold, Graham Whitehead eventually bought DB3S/1 (registered YMY 307).

Ulster politician Lord O'Neill
bought DB3S/105 and had a FHC body made by Panelcraft.
The car was registered GH 30 and sported nice Dunlop wheels (of Jaguar D-Type fame…).
The original body was put on a special. More about this anon.

(Source: POST)

Upper and lower photos found on Internet forums

Now a rare period colour photo:

This one came from a page of September 1991 Classic & Sportcars magazine sent by fellow Alex.
Here it is in full:

We learn that various components were used and that the windscreen came from an unrecorded production car.
Apparently it was very hot inside "like an oven" but "fun" and "by the standards of the day extremely rapid".... and "pretty noisy!" with its open exhaust.

In 1960, the car was shipped to Hong Kong and registered 9695.
In 1962, Mac Kinnon raced the Macao GP but retired.
The car later moved to the U.S.A. where it was seen in Indiana, reported in a rough state, in 1975.
During the late eighties the son of the owner since 1960 (according to Classic & Sportscars....) offered the car as part exchange for a Ferrari to a California Ferrari dealer. The car was still in its Indiana barn...
It returned to the UK and Graypaul Motors was commissioned to recreate an open DB3S. In fact, the chassis was restored and a new open body built
It was for sale at Coy's in 1995.

What happened to the Panelcraft body?
Well, this is a sad end: James Wallace (HSCC campaigner) and Graypaul Motors scrapped it to avoid "anyone obtaining it and faking up a second DB3S/105".
I find this extremely sad as it could have made a nice car on a brand new chassis and maybe, one day, some enthusiast would have put the body back on its original chassis...
This dream is no more to be made and we only have the photos to remember this car which looked quite good...

What about DB3S/105 original open body?
It was slightly modified and fitted to the DB3S single-seater chassis (code name DP 155).

Did you know DP 155 ? This is one of the least known racing Aston Martin.
In fact, there were several attempts to "produce" single-seaters:
one, in the DB3 era, one in the DB3S and two in the DBR1 era.

The DBR1 era saw the DBR4 (4 produced) and the DBR5 (2 produced) single-seaters. The DBR4 was a very good car with very nice handling but came a bit too late. The DBR5 was smaller and lighter but lacked the controlability of its elder brother...

But before this, there have been two attempts:

The fist one is really not known. I only found something about it in Racing with the David Brown Aston Martins.
This was in the winter between 1951 and 1952. A 2-liter version of the 2.6 was developed and put in a modified DB3 chassis. This was when chief engineer was Eberan von Eberhorst. He was quite horrified by the way one could build up a racing car so easily. Remember the pre-war Auto Union? This was partly thanks to him! And this car was somewhat complicated to use a major understatement!
The car was broken up. Even the DP code is unknown (to me at least ...).

The second is much more tracked but not very well known. In 1954, the GP formula changed for 2.5-litre so a new car was made using a DB3S chassis (lighter than the DB3 chassis) and a 2.5 version of the works 2.9 engine. the smaller engine had a better bore/stroke ratio and when running on alcohol produced as much bhp as the larger one.
The code name is DP155.
As many other projects were to be developed, Aston Martin was rather busy and laid up the chassis against a wall!
Furthermore Mercedes entered the W196 and that was it!

In 1955, Reg Parnell asked to buy it even if it was not really a good car: it lacked development and should have received another transmission. He intended to run the interseason in New Zealand.

Reg Parnell testing DP155 at Silverstone. The supercharged 3-litre engine seen here blew up and was replaced with a 2.5
(Source: RAC2)

The 2.5 fitted just before departure to New Zealand featured special camshaft, con-rods and pistons.
This threw a con-rod in practise for the New Zealand GP (Ardmore 200 GP) and the car didn't start.

A new engine was then fitted. The following results were obtained:
Lady Wigram Trophy, 4th
Dunedin 75 miles, 2nd
Southern Centennial Invercargill, 3rd

Reg Parnel in the Lady Wigram Trophy race
(Source: RAC1)

So back to DB3S/105 original body! Later, DB3S/105 original body was slightly modified and fitted to the DB3S single-seater chassis (i.e. DP155) with a Jaguar engine by Geoff Richardson. Brakes were Jaguar discs.
I incorrectly stated it was a 3.4 litre.
Chris from Four Ashes Garages kindly wrote to me to correct. It fact in fact a 2.4 litre enlarged to 3.2 litre.

The car was called the 'RRA Special' and registered UUY 504.
It was raced in Club events in 1962, appeared at the Silverstone GP support in 1970 or 1971 and at Curborough in 1972.
It was seen many times at races, hillclimbs & sprints before being sold to Jeremy Broad.

Here are two photos of the RRA Special: on the left in original form (1961, source: 1988 AMOC Register). Note the RRA badge on the grille. On the right a photo taken in the early 70s (source: HAR). No more grille and bigger wheels.

In 1973, RRA Special was rebuilt by Ricky Bell with twin-plug Aston Martin engine and body restored to DB3S shape (I find the grille is not exactly correct...).
It the received 131-DB135 chassis number.
It was for sale at auction on 10 May 1988 (the Sportscar Auction). Here are the two catalogue pages:

Please note it then still sported its UUY 504 registration even if there was the Swiss plate support...

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