The Aston Martin DB1 Sports Car

The Aston Martin DB1 – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The first sports car from Aston Martin appeared in 1914.

In 1939, the Aston Martin Atom, a two door, four seater coupe was introduced, powered by a 2 litre, four cylinder, SOHC engine, with two Zenith carburettors.

In the early 1940’s, this unit was replaced by a 2 litre, four cylinder, OHV engine, with two SU carburettors, and a compression ratio of 7.25:1.

Linked to a four speed semi-automatic gearbox, this developed 90 bhp at 4750 rpm.

There was independent front suspension, and leaf springs at the rear using Armstrong hydraulic shock absorbers. Production of the Atom ended in 1944.

In 1947, it was decided to design a new car but, by that time, the company was in financial difficulty, and required a cash injection.

History has it that when the industrialist David Brown drove the Atom in 1947, he was so impressed that he purchased the Aston Martin company, having already acquired the Lagonda company.

Using the Atom as a basis, David Brown felt that a convertible or drop head coupe variant, with long sweeping body styling, would be the most appropriate format for the production of the new car.

To withstand the additional stresses encountered by removing the roof section, the chassis would require additional strengthening.

Even though larger, alternative, six cylinder twin cam engines were available from Lagonda, it was decided to retain the same 2 litre unit, as used in the Atom, and fitted with a David Brown four speed, all-synchromesh, manual gearbox.

It had a steel body, with a highly distinctive three part grille, on a steel chassis, with a kerb weight of 1140 kg.

It used Girling 12 inch hydraulic drum brakes all round on 16 inch rims, with worm and roller steering.

An intriguing design feature was the presence of a compartment in one of the front wings in order to store the spare wheel.

The new sports car was designated the Two Litre Sports, and launched at the 1948 London Motor Show, when production would continue until the introduction of the DB2 in 1950, at which point the car would receive the alternative name of Aston Martin DB1.

Unfortunately, the presence of a heavy two seater, drophead-styled body, and an engine with only modest output, made for a car that was underpowered, which was reflected in the fact that only 13 units of the DB1 were built.

Furthermore, the chassis was only suitable for a limited production run, which meant that the car was expensive to produce, and hence not a profitable venture.

THE ASTON MARTIN SPA CONVERTIBLE

Prior to the launch of the DB1 sports car, it was decided that, as a means of thoroughly testing the chassis and engine, the car would be entered in the 1948 Belgian Spa 24 Hour race.

The existing body was replaced by a special version based on a small two seater convertible.

As a result, the car won the race outright, and was duly designated the Spa car.

After the race, this car was rebuilt, and displayed alongside the DB1 at the 1948 London Motor Show.

However, this single Spa Replica, as it was known, failed to produce sufficient interest to warrant actual production, and was subsequently exhibited at the Dutch Motor Museum.

COMPETITION

The market in which the Aston Martin was pitched included the following sports cars: Triumph 2000, Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari, Bristol 401, and Maserati A6.

This concludes my Aston Martin DB1 Sports Car Review.

The Noble M15 Sports Car

The Noble M15 – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The Noble M15 sports car, introduced in 2006 and priced at £74,950, was targeted at the market sector dominated by the likes of the Porsche Turbo, Audi R8, and Ferrari F430.

In this respect, new features added to the car included traction control, ABS, satellite navigation, air conditioning, and electric windows.

Although performance was still to the fore, it was interesting to note that this two seater, fixed head coupe was to be positioned as a grand tourer, rather than a track day racer, as was the case with some previous models in the M-Series.

It featured a composite fibreglass body on a steel space frame chassis, incorporating an integral roll cage for additional safety, that was significantly stiffer than that used in the M12, resulting in much improved handling characteristics.

The new chassis had been reinforced with additional aluminium panels, and designed primarily to incorporate the new engine format. Consequently, it had a curb weight of just 1250 kg.

It was fitted with AP Racing 330 mm vented and drilled discs all round.

Of note were the sweeping curves of the front wings, and the distinctive headlight assembly in the shape of an arc, together with enormous air intakes and a fastback rear.

Furthermore, the huge rear diffuser increased down force to ensure that the car was planted firmly on the ground at high speed.

Unlike previous sports cars from Noble, the engine was positioned longitudinally, which significantly increased both cooling and turbo performance.

By moving the engine and gearbox forward slightly, front/rear weight distribution now stood at 40/60%.

It used 18 inch rims at the front and 19 inch at the rear, and the rear track was increased by 2.5 cm to improve high speed cornering.

With compartments at both front and rear, there was adequate room for luggage.

Both the interior and carbon fibre framed seats were trimmed in leather.

The rear spoiler seen on previous models was removed to portray a more civilised aura in a car designed for everyday use, rather than the track.

THE ENGINE

The Noble M15 was powered by a Ford Duratec 3 litre, DOHC mid-V6 engine, with four valves per cylinder, and fitted with twin Garrett T25 turbochargers plus an intercooler.

With a compression ratio of 8.5:1, it developed 455 bhp at 6800 rpm (with redline at 7200), and 455 ft/lbs of torque at 4800 rpm.

As such, it ranked as the most powerful sports car produced to date by Noble.

Fitted with a Graziano six speed manual gearbox, it produced a top speed of 185 mph, and a 0-60 mph time of 3.4 secs.

Production ended in 2011 when the M15 was succeeded by the Noble M600. Technical Data:

COMPETITION

Typical competition for the Noble M15 included the following cars: Porsche 996 Turbo S, Ferrari F430, and Audi R8. Noble performance:

This concludes my Noble M15 Sports Car Review

The Noble M12 GTO-3R Sports Car

The Noble M12 GTO-3R – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The Noble M12 GTO sports car was launched in 2000. Following its success, the company then introduced the M12 GTO-3 in 2003 which featured:

  • An extensively tuned 3 litre Ford Duratec V6 engine, fitted with twin Garrett T25 turbochargers, that ran 0.7 bar of boost, and an intercooler
  • Composite glass fibre body on a tubular steel space frame chassis
  • A substantial carbon fibre rear wing and a front splitter which, between them, produced a marked increase in down force

Then, in 2005, Noble launched a variant aimed specifically at the track.

This was the two door, two seater, rear wheel drive Noble M12 GTO-3R, which took over where the GTO-3 left off.

An important feature, only on the GTO-3R, was referred to as an automatic torque biasing differential, produced by Quaife Engineering.

It was a form of limited slip differential that utilised helical gears, instead of clutch mechanisms, that were activated either by mechanical means or by computer.

The benefit of this system was that power was concentrated on the particular wheel requiring additional torque, such as when coming out of a fast turn.

The cabin’s particularly spacious interior had leather trim, there was additional sound-deadening to reduce noise from both the engine and track, it included an engine start button, both seats and steering column were adjustable, and there was a full roll cage

In terms of distinguishing between the two variants, the GTO-3R was fitted with twin covered headlights, and a specially designed alloy steering wheel incorporating ten spokes.

It used AP Racing’s 13 inch vented and drilled discs all round, and had a curb weight of just 1080 kg, only 100 kg more than the GTO variant.

Priced at $50,000, only 165 of the GTO-3R’s were built, with a substantially lower figure in respect of the GTO and GTO-3 variants.

THE ENGINE

Powered by the same all-alloy, DOHC, 24 valve mid-engine as in the GTO-3, the five speed manual gearbox was replaced with a six speed manual Getrag unit in which the gear ratios were revised with the result that, when travelling at the legal speed limit, the engine was turning over at only 2700 rpm.

The engine of the M12 GTO-3R developed 360 bhp at 6200 rpm, well below the redline of 7200, and 358 ft/lbs of torque at 3500 rpm, with most of the power being available around 3000 rpm.

With a compression ratio of 8.5:1, the car produced a top speed of 170 mph, with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 secs. Technical data:

COMPETITION

Typical competition for the Noble M12 GTO-3R included the following sports cars: Porsche 993 GT2 Club Sport, Corvette ZO6, and Ford GT. Noble performance:

SPORTS CARS FOR SALE

On the second hand market, the typical selling price of an M12 GTO-3R sports car, in good condition, was between $51,000 and $58,000.

This concludes my Noble M12 GTO-3R Sports Car Review.