1952 Aston Martin DB3

1952 Aston Martin DB3

1952 Aston Martin DB3

After a long developmental period, Aston Martin replaced the DB2 with the smaller, more experimental DB3. The program consisted of 10 cars that raced for two years.

DB3s were seldom alike. During the first year of racing many different bodies were affixed to the chassis. Some cars had coupe bodywork which proved unstable at high speeds.

The engine in the DB3 was an evolved version of W.O. Bentley’s postwar Lagonda engine. Over the years, David Brown developed the engine, introducing many significant changes.

Unfortunately, the DB3 never achieved any major success. Most of the races ended up with DB3s retiring with a variety of problems. The Hypoid rear differential was very problematic. Furthermore, even if the cars had proved reliable, they were still trying to keep pace with the Jaguars and Ferraris. The only notable victory achieved was the 1952 Goodwood nine hours driven by Collins and Griffith.

Despite the limited success, the DB3 paved the way for future Aston Martin purpose built race cars. It shortly replaced by the DB3S in 1953. This move kept Aston Martin competitive with cars such as the Jaguar C and D-Type. The DB3S itself transformed into the DBR1 in 1959. Although distant, the DB3 started a program which would eventually end up with an outright victory at LeMans in 1959.

Story by Richard Owen

In Detail

submitted byRichard Owen
typeRacing Car
built atFeltham, England
positionFront Longitudinal
displacement2580 cc / 157.4 in³
bore78 mm / 3.07 in
stroke90 mm / 3.54 in
power104.4 kw / 140 bhp @ 5200 rpm
specific output54.26 bhp per litre
body / frameAluminum over Tubular Frame
driven wheelsRWD
front tires6.00×16
rear tires6.00×16
front brakesAl-Fin Drums
rear brakesAl-Fin Drums
steeringRack & Pinion
f suspensionTrailing Arms w/Transverse Torsion Arms
r suspensionDe Dion Axle w/Trailing Arms, Torsion Bars
wheelbase2362 mm / 93.0 in
front track1295 mm / 51.0 in
rear track1295 mm / 51.0 in
length4026 mm / 158.5 in
width1562 mm / 61.5 in
height1016 mm / 40.0 in
transmissionDB 5-Speed Manual
gear ratios2.9:1, 1.89:1, 1.27:1, 1.00:1, 0.83:1
final drive4.11:1