Aston Martin Brooklands Speed Model

Aston Martin, long known for building prestigious and highly desirable English grand touring cars, actually experienced rather challenging beginnings. The founding partnership eventually collapsed before the marque was revived in 1926 when Lord Charnwood joined forces with A.C. Bertelli and William Renwick, who were already producing a 1.5-litre engine. Bertelli served as Technical Director between 1926 and 1935, and he was responsible for such models as the 1.5-litre T-Type, the International, the Le Mans and the MK II, which begat the famed short-wheelbase ‘Ulster.’ Bertelli was also a skilled driver who clearly believed that racing improved the breed.

The company was again rescued and refinanced in 1932, this time by Sir Lancelot Prideaux Brune, who transferred ownership by the end of that year to Sir Arthur Sutherland, whose son, R. Gordon Sutherland, assumed the role of joint managing director with Bertelli. During this era, the company’s fortunes were quite good, and it chalked up a sterling competition record at Brooklands, Le Mans, Spa and the Mille Miglia. Racing success and a well-deserved reputation for high quality and excellent handling drew a small but loyal client base. The lessons gained from racing and Sutherland’s astute recognition of the commercial potential of a sporting saloon to expand the product range gave rise to the 2-Litre Saloon, Touring and the high-performance Speed Model.

The 2-Litre Speed Model was, in its essence, a very high-specification sports car and no less than a proper racing car in disguise. With its race-proven chassis, powerful hydraulic brakes, close-ratio, straight-cut gearbox and special rear axle, it is without a doubt one of the finest English sports cars of the pre-war period. Only 23 Speed Models were produced by the factory to homologate them for entry into the 1936 24 Hours of Le Mans, which was in fact cancelled due to widespread strikes in France at the time. They are therefore even rarer than the legendary 1½-litre Ulster.

During this fertile period, this fascinating one-off was created and based upon a narrowed 2-Litre Speed Model. The only single-seat racing car built by Aston Martin prior to the outbreak of World War II, its true raison d’être has been the subject of much discussion over the following decades.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2011 at the Syon House, London.

140 bhp, 1,949 cc inline four-cylinder Speed-Model engine, twin SU carburettors, close-ratio Electron four-speed manual competition gearbox, live front and rear axles, suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood

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