The final refinement of the cars based on Claude Hill’s design and the Lagonda six cylinder twin overhead camshaft engine, is the DB Mark III. Launched in March 1957 at the Geneva Motor Show, it was available for export only until the London Motor Show in October of the same year. The model remained in production for about nine months after the DB4 was introduced. Of the 550 (approximately) cars produce over two thirds were exported to the U.S.A.
The chassis specification was very similar to the DB2/4 MkII. An option of Girling front disc brakes was available from the start of production but became a standard fitting after the first 100 cars were produced. Tadek Marek, the gifted engineer who had recently joined Aston Martin and would go on to design the next generation 6 cylinder engines and then the V8, virtually re-designed the 3.0 litre engine. This included a new block (with top seating Liners), a stiffer crankcase, a new crankshaft, oil pump and timing chain. Performance was equally improved by re-designing the induction and exhaust manifolds, whilst the ports are based on the DB3S engine, with larger valves and high lift camshafts. The majority of cars were fitted with the DBA engine, which was claimed to produce 162 b.h.p. at 5500 r.p.m., breathing though twin SU carburettors. A few (47) cars were supplied with the uprated DBD specification enginewith triple SU carburettors giving an advertised 180 bhp.
In appearance, the Mark III can be distinguished from the MkII at the front by the elegant shaped radiator opening adopted from the DB3S and consequently compound curves of the front of the bonnet, which can be traced on all subsequent models including the V8. And from the rear by the cathedral rear lights which give the car a much cleaner appearance. Opening rear quarter light windows are also fitted. Internally, the facia and instrument panel are completely different, the latter remaining in use up to the DB6 MkII. The standard transmission remained the same as the MkII, with overdrive as an option.
The Mark III is nearly 9” longer than the DB2 and weighs about 350 lb more, which is an increase of about 15%. However, more than 50% more power is available from the standard DBA, compared to the original LB6B engine. It was described by The Autocar (October 4th 1957), who recorded: 9.3 sec 0-60 m.p.h., 31.0 sec 0-100 m.p.h., 17.4 sec over a standing quarter mile and a maximum speed of 120 m.p.h.
Bought with enthusiasm, restored then owned and driven with enthusiasm, this is no museum piece. She is a lovely old car with a genuine patina that speaks of being used exactly according to David Brown’s vision for Aston Martin cars. The Mark III is the ultimate evocation of the DB 2/4 that the market has rightly recognised with their burgeoning values. But this is not a car to treat with kid gloves and tuck away in storage, this is a car to enjoy, to maintain and to cherish – cracking value and a cracking drive.