1931 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 2/4 SeaterSOLD

1931 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 2/4 Seater

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To be offered at auction at RM Sotheby's Hershey event, October 8-9, 2015. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/.

Chassis No.
A1/100

Estimate:
$200,000 - $275,000 US

56 bhp, 1,496 cc single overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine, dual SU carburetors, four-speed manual gearbox, semi-elliptical front and rear leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.


Matching-numbers example maintaining original 1931 registration
Complete and sympathetic restoration undertaken recently
Beautiful example of the most successful pre-war Aston Martin ever produced

The most successful model of the Bertelli First Series, the Aston Martin International harkened back to the sports cars made by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford themselves. Widely regarded as one of the best light sports cars of the period, it was not unusual to see multiple Internationals competing at a sprint, hill climb, or rally.

Although Aston Martin was able to produce cars and had gained competition success in the years following the Great War, Bamford had left the company by 1925, and money was tight. After a large donation from Lady Charnwood, Lionel Martin managed to keep the business afloat for another year. However, in 1926, bankruptcy was inevitable, and the Aston Martin marque was put up for sale.

Around this time, two young men by the names of Augustus Bertelli and William S. Renwick had finished engineering a new 1½-liter engine. Their engine was an all-new design with wedge shaped combustion chambers and inclined overhead valves. Having built just one Renwick & Bertelli car, their idea was to market the new engine to the motor industry at large. But, the pull of designing their own cars was too strong, and so Renwick and Bertelli bought the rights to Aston Martin in 1926.

Initially the company produced a short chassis and a long chassis, which were available with the new engine or as a chassis only. These were a clean break from the sporting Bamford & Martins and instead fit neatly into the luxury end of the touring car market. However, Aston Martin had made its name through competition, and Bertelli quickly realized they would do better to sell a more sporting car.

The International was first displayed at the 1929 London Motor Show. Based on the team cars of the 1928 season, this model was shorter, sportier, and equipped with dry sump lubrication and twin carburetors. Changes to this model included brake arrangement and moving the gearbox back to allow for more foot room. The International was offered in multiple specifications, although the 2/4 Seater was the most popular. Bertelli himself drove an International 2/4 Seater and often raced at events.

The 1½ Litre International offered here is one of only 129 Bertelli first series cars to be produced and is a stunning example of an International that has been restored to its original glory. Initially sold to a Mr. Halstead, of Bradford, in 1931, A1/100 was bought by several owners in the United Kingdom before being exported. During its early life, A1/100 received new brakes, a new gearshift, and new carburetors. The build sheet, a copy of which is on file, records regular maintenance by the factory up until 1946.

Exported to the United States in the 1950s by J.M. Morgan, of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, this car has remained in the United States ever since. Counting Georgia, Virginia, and California among its homes, the car was owned by well-known Aston restorer Toby Bergin in the early 2000s. Under recent ownership, Aston Martin specialist Kevin Kay Restorations performed significant work to bring A1/100 back to original condition, and careful attention has been paid to authenticity.

In addition to a full and complete cleaning, this International was newly fitted with a Bosch generator and a new wiring harness, and the electrical system has been completely rewired to the newly veneered dashboard. New leather spring gaiters covered the newly cleaned suspension, and the Hartford-type friction dampers were rebuilt. Accompanying documents detail the mechanical work that was undertaken, including the cleaning and rebuilding of the carburetors, generator, radiator, magneto, water pump, starter, and camshaft.

The older green paint was retained, although some touch-up work was done. However, the newly fabricated green interior, including wooden seat supports, were done to period specification and blend seamlessly with the original pieces. All new Dunlop tires are fitted onto the original wire-spoke wheels, and correct-type headlamps with diagonal mesh guards complete this beautiful British racecar. This restoration was undertaken with the utmost sympathy and care, and the attention to authenticity and originality is visible from even the smallest detail.

Not a car to be stationary, A1/100 has been started regularly in the past years and comes with few complaints. Described by a recent driver as having a throaty exhaust note, a recent sorting of the fuel system has only improved its running ability. Whether you plan on going out for a simple Sunday drive or rallying year round, this Aston Martin International easily carries the lucky driver back in time without showing any of its age.

Reference Number 374929

as of 10/11/2015

Overview
Car 1931 Aston Martin 1½-Litre International 2/4 Seater
VIN A1/100 
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