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Lot 648: 1930 Aston Martin International 2/4 1½-Litre Sports Tourer

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

Manufactured by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, the first Aston-Martins (the hyphen is correct for the period) rapidly established a reputation for high performance and sporting prowess in the immediate post-WWI years. Unfortunately, the management’s concentration on motor sport, while accruing invaluable publicity, distracted it from the business of manufacturing cars for sale, the result being just 50-or-so cars sold by 1925 when the company underwent the first of what would be many changes of ownership.
The foundations were laid for the commencement of proper series production with the formation of Aston Martin Motors Ltd in 1926 under the stewardship of Augustus Bertelli and William Renwick. Built at the firm’s new Feltham works, the first ‘new generation’ Aston Martins were displayed at the 1927 London Motor Show at Olympia. Like his predecessors, ‘Bert’ Bertelli understood the effect of competition success on Aston Martin sales and sanctioned the construction of two works racers for the 1928 season. Based on the 1.5-litre, overhead-camshaft road car, the duo featured dry-sump lubrication, and this feature was carried over to the International sports model, newly introduced for 1929. Built in two wheelbase lengths (102” and 118”), only 81 Internationals were manufactured between 1929 and 1932, mostly with bodies by Augustus’s brother Enrico ‘Harry’ Bertelli.
This ‘short chassis’ International ran at Brooklands on 25th July 1931 in the LCC Relay Race driven by C H Masters - Aston Martin’s accountant. The car’s first owner was one G Currie, of Kensington, and the second - from 1948 - one J Smith, of Leigh-on Sea, while others included Michael Pestell, of Wembley, who campaigned the car in the St John Horsfall Race at Silverstone in 1953. ‘GJ 5570’ was later owned by Ian Todd, of Purley from 1970 to 1989, when it was acquired by respected Aston Martin International restorers, Jim and Bruce Young. Restored over a five-year period for their own private collection, the car has remained in the Youngs’ ownership ever since.
The ‘matching numbers’ International had remained in highly original condition and great pains were taken to preserve this originality during restoration. Still containing its original crankshaft, the engine was fully stripped and rebuilt. The car sits on correct 21” wheels, while other features of note include the original worm drive rear axle, dry-sump lubrication system, Perrot brakes, German silver radiator, stainless-steel exhaust system, folding windscreen, two-piece tonneau and excellent hood. Finished in black (body) and Regency Red (chassis), the car boasts a red leather-upholstered interior featuring comprehensive instrumentation (restored by John Marks) including Jaeger 0-6,000rpm tachometer (Bertelli team car size), speedometer and clock.
Used sparingly since restoration, ‘GJ 5570’ is nevertheless well-known in AMOC and VSCC circles. The car won a 2nd class award at the VSCC’s 65th Anniversary Concours at Malvern in 1999 and came 2nd in Class A at the AMOC’s Upton House Concerns d’État in 2001. An exceptionally well presented motor car, meticulously restored by father and son International specialists, it is offered with old-style buff logbook (issued October 1949), current road fund licence, Swansea V5C, MoT to June 2008 and a photographic record of its ‘as found’ condition and subsequent restoration.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
Lot Number648
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£95000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£106000
Condition rating
Registration numberGJ 5570
Chassis numberS39
Engine numberS39
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors