In 1959 Aston Martin claimed a historic win in the 24 hours of Le Mans with the drop-dead gorgeous DBR1. To mark the 60th anniversary of that victory, this rather delicious Aston Martin DBS ’59’ edition has been built.
Aston Martin’s in-house custom shop, Q by Aston Martin, set out to evoke the spirit of the DBR1, matching its colour and trim as closely as possible. So Aston Martin Racing Green was chosen as the exterior colour for the DBS 59. Inside, Aston recreated the old racer’s upholstery for inserts in the door cards and seat back – the rest of the interior is trimmed in black and tan leather.
Elsewhere, the DBS 59 gets a bespoke front grille, 21-inch Y-spoke wheels and a plethora of bronze detailing both inside and out, echoing that on the race car. Buyers also get a Fifties-style helmet, racing suit and driving gloves.
Mechanically, the DBS 59 is unchanged. But as a standard DBS Superleggera has a 5.2-litre, twin-turbo V12 powerplant pumping out a towering 725hp and 664lb/ft of torque, we won’t complain. The 0-62mph sprint takes just 3.4 seconds and the top speed is 211mph.
It was a combination of luck and judgement that brought Aston its win at Le Mans. Stirling Moss was told to drive as fast as he possibly could from the very start of the race to bait the massed ranks of Ferraris into running a pace that would destroy them. It worked a treat, all three factory-entered cars dropping out with assorted engine issues.
That left the car of Roy Salvadori and Carrol Shelby clear to take victory after 323 laps, with the sister car of Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere a lap behind. Four privately-entered Ferraris followed, albeit at least 25 laps behind. Aston’s point had been made emphatically. And then double-underlined as it went on to win the World Sportscar Championship.
The victory was made even more remarkable as Shelby was suffering with a bout of dysentery and a heart condition he neglected to mention, which left Salvadori to drive for 14 hours, even though he himself was recovering from flu.
Aston has yet to take another outright victory at Le Mans, but has scored four GT class wins since 2007. But Le Mans’ new headline Hypercar class might open the door for another tilt at the overall win.
Just 24 examples of the DBS 59 will built, commissioned by the Aston Martin Cambridge dealership. Price? Aston hasn’t said, but bear in mind a standard DBS Superleggera costs £225,000. And the DBS 59 is far from standard…
By Graham King