1937 Aston Martin 15/98 2 Seater Sports

‘Black Car’ Tribute

No sooner had peace returned to war-ravaged Europe than thoughts turned once again to motor racing.  Entered by ‘ace’ British driver St John ‘Jock’ Horsfall the ‘Black Car’ exceeded all expectations with an astounding victory in the 1946 Belgian Grand Prix for sports cars.

differential and Girling brakes as original equipment. It retains its original engine, gearbox, rear axle, brakes and other components including lights, instrumentation, wheels, dampers etc.  What it does not have is its original body.  You will be aware that the Aston Martin Works produced a rolling chassis only and purchasers selected their choice of coach builder to clothe it.

In the case of our car, the original body was by E.Bertelli, brother of the Aston Martin Chief Engineer, and was a four-door sports saloon.  We purchased our car about twenty years ago in this form and it was just fabulous, an excellent example of a

Originally supplied to R.Wilkins as a Speed Model chassis by Aston Martin and including a spare works ‘Ulster’ body, the ‘Black Car’ was completed in 1937.  Following wins in the 1937 Leinster Trophy, at Brooklands and, most famously, in the Donington Tourist Trophy against the BMW 328 works team, in 1946 at Brussells’ Bois de Cambre its skilled pilote was victorious against more fancied opposition including  Leslie Johnson’s rapid Frazer Nash-BMW.

Our Aston Martin 15/98 was built in 1937 and is a 2 litre OHC with original in-house engine and chassis, and utilising Moss gearbox, ENV

Aston Martin victorious in 1946 Belgian Grand Prix

proper sporting car. However after damaging the right hand rear quarter panel in a towing incident we decided to instigate a renovation program.

On close and detailed inspection, we found that the timber frame was rotten and  ‘lozenged’ and needed replacing, a major job indeed.  So, what to do?  In February, 1994 we received our copy of ‘Thoroughbred and Classic Cars’ magazine, which featured the newly restored ‘Jock’ Horsfall  ‘Black Car’, a renowned and very successful (ref opening paragraph) racing version of the 15/98 Speed Model, featuring dry-sump lubrication and hydraulic brakes (see overleaf).  Other Speed Models were assembled by the factory and sold for racing purposes only, but only one car featured the unique ‘Black Car’ Ulster body and equipment.