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1966 Aston Martin Short Chassis Volante

The rarest and most desirable drophead Aston Martin ever produced

One of only 37 Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante’s built

The first Aston Martin to be named ‘Volante’

Only two owners for the last 30 years, 2007 & 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance entrant

Fully restored to Concours condition by R.S. Williams Ltd, Engine upgraded to 4.7 litre specification, handling and brake upgrade kits by R.S. Williams

Chassis no. DBVC/2329/R

+44 20 3621 2923

The Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante was the very first Aston Martin to be called a ‘Volante’, meaning ‘Flying’ in Italian. Any convertible model prior to this was exactly that, a convertible, not a Volante. The Volante was built using the final run of DB5 chassis, but included many of the later DB6 features including the split front and rear bumpers, rear church lights, interior trim and enlarged oil cooler opening. The DB5 chassis were shorter when compared to the DB6, hence the ‘Short-Chassis’ term. The Volante was built for one year, with only 37 cars being manufactured in total, making it by far the rarest of all Aston Martin Volantes.

The car offered here, chassis DB5C/2329/R was first registered on 6th April 1966 and delivered to its first owner through Aston Martin’s London based agent, H.W. Motors. The guarantee was issued on 9th April with the build sheet noting the car as being fitted with an MPH speedo, Avon Turbospeed GT tyres and a Dark Blue Connolly VM3282 interior.

The build sheet on this Aston Martin contains many detailed notes regarding Factory service work during the cars early life. With 846 miles on the clock, the car is noted as being fitted with two map reading lights with independent switches, fitting new Fiamm horns and fitting three new ashtrays. The notes regarding service work continue and at 8,740 miles in January 1968, the car receives its 10,000 mile service.

The car is next noted in 1974 as being owned by Mr J.R.H Kelsall, who joined the Aston Martin Owners Club, confirming ownership of DBVC/2329/R by way of his membership application form. Then, in March 1983 the car is advertised for sale by Paradise Garage in Classic & Sports Car magazine, noting it to be in “Very nice condition, excellent mechanically.”

On the 5th August 1983 Mr Richard Farrington Wharton, resident of Midmar Castle in Aberdeen bought the car. Wharton, known as the Baron of Midmar, in reference to the to the splendid 16th-century Inverurie castle he and wife Jackie bought, is best known for his marine adventures. He led a team of divers who raised £50M in Russian gold from the wartime wreck of HMS Edinburgh, an adventure often referred to as the greatest treasure hunt of the 20th century.

DBVC/2329/R’s next owner was Mr Leslie Roy Hayward, a real estate manager born in January 1928. Mr Hayward took ownership of the car on 24th May 1987 with the car noted as having covered 58,000 miles. Mr Hayward continued to confirm ownership of the car every year until 2004 by way of his membership form for the Aston Martin Owners Club. Throughout this period, Mr Hayward was fastidious with documentation, the cars extensive history file still contains the MOT and Tax discs from Mr Haywards ownership. The mileage is noted as being consistent and steadily increasing during this ownership.

In September 1996, the car was delivered to Wren Classics for restoration with the following works noted “Car stripped, both sills replaced along with radius arm mounts and jacking points. Engine had wear to oil pump housing, but main bearing mounts were in good condition, some welding required to reinforce them. New cylinder liners and cylinder head converted to lead free petrol. All system reconditions, new from brake discs and hoses. Car completed August 1997”. The invoices to accompany this work can be found in the cars detailed history file. As Mr Haywards ownership continued, it is clear to see that he maintained the car regardless of cost with many invoices on file showing regular and correct up keep from specialist workshops.

In September 2004, the car was bought by its most recent owner, a California resident, through R.S. Williams Ltd. The car joined a world-renowned collection which also included an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, Ferrari 250 LM, Ferrari 512 S and a Maserati 300S. The new owner traded in his DB4 and requested RS Williams Ltd to fully restore the car. At time of purchase the car was finished in Caribbean Blue with a dark blue interior. One of the advantages of being sent to the world’s leading experts for complete restoration is that this Short-Chassis Volante benefitted from many upgrades, learnt through decades of experience with this era of Aston Martin road cars. This Volante was converted to the more desirable specification of left-hand drive with a 5-speed manual gearbox. Additionally, the car was fitted the R.S. Williams handling kit, brake upgrade kit and additional sound proofing was installed, all adding to the driving pleasure. Post restoration the car entered the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Class N-3.

In 2009, the collectors new wife suggested he sell the car of which he and his ex-wife were very fond. However, the collector loved this specific Short-Chassis Volante too much, he could not sell it and instead chose to return it to R.S. Williams for a complete restoration. The owner had a UK-based friend, Mr David Watson, keep a watchful eye over the works, compiling a comprehensive 200+ photo guide to the restoration. The bodywork was completed by Bodylines in 2009 and the paintwork handled by Spraytec in 2010, both companies are world-leading specialists in their fields. During the restoration, the engine was completely stripped, assessed and rebuilt. Before fitment the engine was bench-tested on a dynometer and noted as producing a consistent 340 BHP at 4,500 RPM. This restoration left no stone unturned, every nut and bolt was removed taking the car back to a bare shell. The results were, even to this day, spectacular in every way. To ensure the owners new wife did not realise it was in fact the same car, the car was repainted a different colour, this time Sierra Blue. Upon completion, the car again was invited to the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for a second time, in 2011, along with the Danville Concours d’Elegance.

As a result of being maintained regardless of cost by a true collector, this Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante is certainly the best we have seen, offering a very rare opportunity to acquire the most desirable of all Aston Martin Volantes, a car for the true Aston Martin connoisseur.


The history file:

This Short-Chassis Volante is the best documented we have seen. Owners of this car were clearly true enthusiasts with many original documents still accompanying the car. The file begins with a copy of the cars original Aston Martin build sheet and factory service records until 1972. Also included are copies of several previous registration certificates along with original MOT certificates and service and parts invoices back to 1987. All this documentation demonstrates this car has been maintained regardless of cost, as well as confirming the steadily increasing mileage. The photo-documented restoration by R.S. Williams contains over 200 images showing every step of the works.

Price: POA

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