According to factory records, this Aston Martin Le Mans was built in February 1933 and supplied to its first owner, Mr R.J. Barton via London Aston Martin Specialists, The Winter Garden Garages Ltd on 21st March 1933. Built as a short chassis 2/4-Seater, Chassis number B3/233/S was painted Le Mans green with green leather upholstery and registered as ‘AGH 433’.
Barton who resided on Montpellier Street, London would soon enter his new Aston Martin for races with the Junior Car Club (J.C.C.) at Brooklands and later, on Trials organised by both the J.C.C. and MCC. His debut on 24th June 1933 would be the J.C.C. Members’ Day Meeting, a High-speed Trial of 20 laps. Further race entries included the Inter-Club Race Meeting held at Brooklands, a 6.5-mile Novice’s Handicap race on 8th July and a One Hour Trial at the Motor Cycling Club Meeting on 9th September which resulted in Barton receiving a Premier Award. A year later and Barton was back at Brooklands in another One Hour Trial at the Motor Cycling Club Meeting on 8-9th September 1934. Barton’s final appearance in ‘AGH 433’ appears to be a J.C.C. Members’ Day in July 1935 where he received a Special Award for his performance.
After a few years, ownership would pass to a Mr T. James of Crutched Friars, London and then to a Mr Leslie Bache a Flight Lieutenant with 41 Squadron in the Royal Air Force. Bache like many brave young pilots would ultimately pay the price for his bravery and was tragically killed whilst flying his Spitfire over occupied France having downed a Messerschmitt.
In 1942, ‘AGH 433’ would pass into the hands of Mr Eric Barnard an aeronautical engineer who had a penchant for interesting sports cars. A theme for aviation is intertwined with this Aston Martin as the Short Chassis was purchased in 1947 by Squadron Leader Reginald Joseph Jennings a former motorcycle racer who had competed on the Isle of Man with his Norton motorcycle in the 1930’s.
By 1953, a Mr M.J. Green of Maidenhead and later that year a Mr W. Mercer also of Maidenhead had had ownership of the Aston Martin. Four years later, ‘AGH 433’ would start its longest single period of ownership when it was acquired by Mr Ormonde Hamblin a very quiet man who lived in rural Berkshire. Hamblin was an engineer by trade who was able to indulge in his love of Aston Martins (he also owned a DB5), as he had no family.
When the time came during Hamblin’s ownership for the Short Chassis to receive some attention and investment, in the fashion of a true engineer, Hamblin stripped the Aston Martin right down to component form and stored the parts in his garage behind his home. The rebuild of the Aston Martins (the DB5 had also been meticulously disassembled and stored) was put off by Hamblin and it was not until his passing in 2013 that the two cars would be seen again. Hamblin’s extended family chose to dispose of the cars, and it was at this time that Mr Andy Bell then owner of vintage Aston Martin specialists – Ecurie Bertelli Limited – would become the cars next owner.
Bell would embark upon a complete restoration of the car; all work being completed by his internationally recognised team at Ecurie Bertelli. Due to Hamblin’s fastidious work when stripping down the Short Chassis, Ecurie Bertelli were quickly able to identify all the original parts that were required to enable the rebuild. Over the next few years Ecurie Bertelli performed without doubt some of their finest work, the restored Aston Martin Le Mans is breath-taking. It was decided that the engine would be rebuilt around a new block for peace of mind (the original engine block will be supplied to the new owner). With the restoration being documented by both photographs and invoices, the ‘next project’ was soon on the horizon for Bell and the Le Mans was duly sold to the current owner.
‘AGH 433’ was to join some of the finest British sports and competition cars held in a private collection by a longstanding client of Henderson Fellowes and would be used sparingly on the road over the following few years. The owner must be commended for his research into the history and ownership of the car and there is a fascinating picture book which goes into some detail which accompanies the Aston Martin Vehicle Heritage Certificate and paperwork.
The Aston Martin is UK road registered, UK taxes paid and supplied with full weather equipment and its original numbered engine block.
Photo Credit: Charlie Brenninkmeijer – Charlie B Photography