The DB Mark III (normally simply called Mark III, even at the time of its introduction) is a sports car sold by Aston Martin from 1957 through 1959. It was an evolution of the DB2/4 Mark II model it replaced, using an evolution of that car's W.O. Bentley-designed Lagonda 2.9 L (2922 cc/178 in³) straight-6 engine, redesigned by Tadek Marek.
Changes included a grille like that on the DB3S, a new instrument panel, and available Girling disc brakes. The hydraulically operated clutch was new as well, and an optional Laycock-de Normanville overdrive that was attached to the STD 4 speed gearbox after the 1st 100 cars or even an automatic transmission were available. Worm-and-sector steering and a live axle rear end were carry overs. At the rear, the DB2/4 Mark II's tailfins (after the 1st few early cars) were altered to use the rear lights from the Humber Hawk.
The standard DBA engine model with twin SU carburettors produced 162 hp (121 kW), though an optional dual-exhaust system (a claimed 16 b.h.p. increase) raised this to a reputed 178 hp (133 kW). Thus equipped, the car could reach 60 mph (97 km/h) in 9.3 seconds and hit 120 mph (193 km/h). An optional high-output DBB engine with three twin-choke Weber 35 DCO 3 carburettors, special long duration camshafts, high compression 8.6:1 pistons and the dual-exhaust system boasted 195 hp (145 kW), though this was rarer ( 10 cars thus equipped) than the mid-level DBD option with triple SU 1.75" carbs and 180 hp (134 kW) also with the dual exhaust system, fitted to 47 cars.
One car was fitted with the special DBC competition engine with a reputed 214 b.h.p., this was fitted with racing camshafts, special connecting rods, very high compression pistons (possibly 9.5:1) & three twin-choke Weber 45 DCO 3 carburettors.
Girling disc brakes were fitted as standard to the front wheels of all MkIII Astons after the first 100 had been made. Many cars were upgraded later. Only five automatic cars were made from a total of 551.
A 1959 review by Road & Track magazine praised the car for everything but its $7,450 price. "A car for connoisseurs," they called it. "The Aston has many virtues and few faults." Among the faults was too-heavy steering effort, high door sills, and a stiff ride. Interestingly, R&T failed to comment at all on the car's innovative hatchback body style, complete with fold-down rear seats, although this had been first introduced in the 2/4 MkI in 1953.
Two Coupe variants of the Mark III were also produced. A Drophead Coupé convertible, while not common, still outnumbered the Fixed Head Coupé – 84 of the former were produced, while just five of the latter were built. All five Fixed Head Coupés feature the mid-spec DBD engine, however. Both featured conventional hinged boot lids rather than the innovative hatch back.
James Bond drives an Aston Martin DB Mark III in the novel version of Goldfinger, though it is referred to as a "DB III" in the book – indeed, the chapter in which he drives to his famous golf-course encounter with the villain is entitled 'Thoughts in a DB III'. It is the only Bond car in the Ian Fleming novels to have gadgets installed. For the film adaptation five years later, the car was updated to the Aston Martin DB5 model and the array of gadgetry was much expanded. It was to become one of the most iconic of classic cars as a result.
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