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Old 21 Feb 2007, 13:36 (Ref:1847315)   #1
John Turner
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Dp 212

At the end of 1959, having won the World Sports Car championship with the fabulous DBR1/300, Aston Martin withdrew from sports car racing and left privateers to uphold its honour on the circuits. However, increasing pressure came from the French importer of Astons, for a works entry to appear at least at Le Mans. As a result, in 1962, Aston Martin dipped its toe in the water and re-entered the 24 hour race with a genuine GT prototype, Project 212. It was driven by Graham Hill and Richie Ginther. It was promising enough to re-awaken their serious interest sufficiently for them to build 3 more cars for 1963 – 2 x 214, and a single 215. I’ve endeavoured from various sources to put together the histories of all 4 of these charismatic cars. All photos are mine and hence of varying quality!

DP212/1
1962 - Constructed using as much mechanical componentry from existing models as possible, with a 3.7litre twin plug DB4GT engine linered out to 4-litre, to take maximum benefit from the regulations. Gearbox was the rugged David Brown 5 speed box S532 also used in DBR2. A new all streamlined body was manufactured. Entered at Le Mans, it snatched the lead briefly at the start with Graham Hill driving, and came round at the end of the lap in glorious isolation, clear of the field! It then held 2nd place for a while, until delayed by an armature failure. It dropped down the order to retire from 9th place, in the sixth hour after 79 laps, when a piston failure, caused by a fractured oil pipe, occurred.
1963 – To combat substantial aerodynamic lift experienced at Le Mans the previous year, the rear bodywork was modified with a chopped Kamm tail and spoiler. In the absence of DP 215, which was not ready in time, 212 took part in the Le Mans practice, driven by Bianchi, Schlesser, Ginther and Kimberley. It did not, however, take part in the race, as by then, 215 was ready. Fitted with a 4.2 litre (DBR2) engine, it was sold onto The Hon. John Dawnay (later Viscount Downe).
1964 – Rebuilt and road registered, AYN 212B, it was entered in a few minor speed and sprint events driven by Dawnay, and Mike Salmon.
1973 – Returned to motor racing and won twice at Silverstone, and once at Castle Combe, all in the hands of Salmon
1974 – Mike Salmon won the Classic Car Championship with 1 overall win, 2 x 2nd places and 5 Class wins.
1975 – Acquired by Mike Ottway
1975 - 1981 - Raced by Mike Salmon who took several overall and class wins in Club events. A result of particular note was a very fine 2nd place, in the Group 4 historic Race at the Houbigant meeting at Brands Hatch on 15 May, 1977, when Salmon and 212 demonstrated a wet weather sure footedness not matched by the later GT40s and Chevron B8s (amongst others) it was up against, being beaten only by a Lola T70. The above results also include a much easier win in the ‘all Aston’ race at 1981 Dubai GP.
The picture below shows a ‘recovered’ photo taken at Silverstone, I believe at the AMOC St John Horsfall Meeting, 1973



At some stage, possibly the early 1990’s car acquired the registration no. 212DP

1995 – Appeared as a static exhibit at the Silverstone Coys meeting here:-



1998 – Took part in the first TT Revival race at Goodwood – Retired when in 2nd
1999 – Coys Historic, Silverstone – Pre 64 GT race – Part 1 – 2nd (Gary
Pearson/Salmon). Part 2 – Car expired on first lap having just grabbed the lead (Pearson).
Goodwood TT Revival – Car put on pole by Martin Brundle in a time of 1.27.635 (not bettered until 2006 after track had been resurfaced) but then crashed in practice by Pearson and therefore a DNS.
2000 – Major rebuild following the above accident and acquired by Nicolaus Springer
Goodwood TT Revival – 5th (Tony Dron/Tiff Needell)
2001 - Goodwood TT Revival
2002 – Acquired by Wolfgang Friedrichs
Goodwood TT Revival – 12th (Friedrichs/David Clark)
2004 - Goodwood TT Revival – DNF (Friedrichs/Clark)
2005 - Goodwood TT Revival – 10th (Friedrichs/Clark). Here seen in the Goodwood enclosure:-


2006 - Goodwood TT Revival – 10th (Friedrichs/Clark).




Notes
1) For the 1962 Le Mans, John Wyer quotes 327 Bhp @ 6000rpm
2) 212 only raced once for the factory but has since been the most actively campaigned of the surviving Project cars.
3) To commemorate Martin Brundle’s pole time at Goodwood in 1999, I commissioned Andrew Kitson to paint this achievement, and a limited edition print of this painting is available – please PM me, if interested.
4) Although, being the oldest of the Project cars, and therefore potentially the slowest (!), this car has been maintained for racing consistently for most of its life and should be capable of winning the Revival TT in the right hands. The Brundle/Pearson team in 1999 was its best chance to date.

Last edited by John Turner; 29 Sep 2008 at 17:36.
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Old 21 Feb 2007, 13:41 (Ref:1847321)   #2
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Dp214

DP214 (DB4GT/0194/R)

1963 – Constructed ostensibly on a DB4GT chassis to comply with GT regs. and as can be seen, allocated with a chassis no. in the DB4GT sequence. However, actually substantially different under the skin, with a lightweight chassis and with a body based on lessons learnt from DP212. It did however retain the twin plug headed DB4GT engine size of 3.7litres, but bored slightly, as allowed by the regs. to 3750cc from the standard 3670cc and fitted with Weber 50DCO carbs (Eng.no. 370/0194GT). The engine was set further back in the chassis than the 4GT but did retain the latter’s (S432) 4- speed box.
Le Mans – Retired in the 11th hour with piston failure, when lying 3rd overall and 1st in GT class (Kimberley/Schlesser)
Guards Trophy – Brands Hatch – 6th OA, 2nd in class (Innes Ireland), then,
Fitted with engine no. 370/1288/01
Goodwood TT – 7th OA, 4th in class (Ireland)
Monza - Coppa Inter Europa – 1st OA at race average of just over 120 mph and a new GT lap record (Salvadori)
Montlhery - Coupe de Paris – 1st (Le Guezec)
Montlhery - Coupe de Salon – 5th (Le Guezec)
1964 – Sold to John Dawnay
2000kms – Daytona - Retired (Salvadori/Salmon)
500kms – Spa – Retired (Salmon)
Le Mans - Disqualified in the 18th hour for taking on oil too early whilst lying 8th
Silverstone – 2nd (Salmon)
1965 – Acquired by Tom Rose, painted (very) dark blue (at least one book records it as black but my own recollection also registers midnight blue!), and registered 5 NBP
Sprints and Hillclimbs (Rose & Pye)
1966 – Acquired by Colin Crabbe by which time the car had also acquire flared wheel arches to accommodate wider wheels (see pictures below)
BARC – Oulton Park – 1st OA (Crabbe)
28/5 – Silverstone – AMOC St John Horsfall – Monte Cristo Trophy – 2nd OA (Crabbe) to Ron Fry’s 275LM (see ‘fluffy’ picture below from my first ever motor racing roll of film taken with an Ilford Ensign ‘bellows’ with an upgraded lens)

09/05 – Silverstone – Martini International Trophy – In a big field the car circulated towards the back, thoroughly outclassed by the mid-engined revolution which was now in full swing, but did finish in this very wet race (Crabbe). Below two pictures taken at the meeting, the second includes one of the first of the new generation, a Ferrari 250LM:-



Neil Corner also won a minor race at Silverstone BDC meeting, but not yet sure of date
1967 – Belgian day of Records – 1st (Crabbe)
Silverstone – EMU Trophy (AMOC) – 1st (Corner)
1968-73 – Somewhere between these dates Nick Cussons acquired car
1973-74 – A number of outings (Sprints and races) with 3 x 1st places (Cussons)
1992 – Car reappeared after a lengthy and painstaking restoration by Mike Ottway and acquired by Simon Draper
1994 – Silverstone – Coys – 6th (Draper)
1995 – Appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and again at the Silverstone Coys meeting where it took pole in Part 1 of GT race and finished 2nd OA (Draper/Gary Pearson). Below, the car locks up its brakes chasing the winning Ferrari on the opening lap:-




1996 - Silverstone – Coys GT race – 2nd OA (Draper/Mark Hales)
1998 – Silverstone – Coys GT race – 13th (Draper/David Clark)
Goodwood TT Revival – 4th (Draper/Clark)
1999 – Silverstone – Coys GT race – 9th (Draper/Clark)
Goodwood Festival Speed – 1st (Gillian Goldsmith
Goodwood TT Revival – 6th (Draper/Clark)

DP214 (DB4GT/0195/R)

1963 – Constructed as with sister car above, initially with engine no. 370/1288/01.
Le Mans – Retired just after 4 hours with piston failure (McLaren/Ireland)
Brands Hatch – Guards Trophy – spun off & retired (Kimberley)
Fitted with engine no. 370/1288/02
Goodwood TT – Retired on Lap 95 with valve failure (McLaren)
Monza – Coppa Inter Europa – 3rd (Bianchi)
Montlhery – Coupe de Paris – 2nd (Dewez)
Montlhery – Coupe de Salon – 1st (Schlesser)
1964 – Sold to Brian Hetreed
Daytona 2000kms – retired - (Brian Hetreed/Chris Kerrison)
Nurburgring 1000kms – crashed in practice – Hetreed fatally injured
Remains returned to UK and scrapped but engine saved and fitted to DB4GT/0200/R

Notes

1) For 1963 Le Mans, Wyer quotes 317 Bhp @t 6000rpm
2) John Wyer records that both cars (as well as 215) were capable of winning at Le Mans that year, but their preparation left insufficient time to have forged pistons manufactured so they made do with cast pistons; it was these that failed in the race. Another missed opportunity for Aston
3) A 1963 track test of 0195R appeared in the Motor Racing Book of Track Tests by John Blunsden published circa 1966.
4) The two cars were certainly capable of winning the 1963 TT at Goodwood in the hands of Innes Ireland and Bruce Mclaren, but unfortunately they fell foul of the RAC Scrutineer. He refused to allow the cars to run with the 6.5 inch rims that they had run at Le Mans, because they had not been homologated, even though by then the production cars were fitted with them as standard. As it was, they were required to race with 5.5 inch rims (anyone who has seen pictures of the cars at this race will note how silly those rims look) which actually narrowed the track by 4 inches and ruined their handling. They had never ever run with these narrow rims in the first place, and were never to do so again. An angry Innes Ireland spent the whole race going luridly sideways in the car which he had originally put on pole. That these cars were by that time a match for the GTOs was proved later at Monza.
5) In their 17 June 1966 issue, Autosport published a letter from a young Aston enthusiast, who having attended his first race meeting, the AMOC St. John Horsfall at Silverstone, wrote to challenge the assertion that the car he had seen driven by Colin Crabbe was simply a DB4GT as the programme stated. The young writer suggested that that it might be DP215, although Autosport themselves had reported it as being 212, which it definitely wasn’t! Their July 1st issue carried a response from Brian Joscelyne, then AMOC post war car Registrar, but now one of its Vice Presidents, intending to clarify the ‘confusion’ (true!) over the Project cars but insisting that the 214 (which was in fact what Crabbe was driving – see above) was correctly described as a DB4GT with a special body. Possibly, he was stating the official line as it was too close to the recent past! Later publications however have vindicated my youthful enquiry.
6) There are two, possibly three, replica 214s based on DB4 & 4GT componentry and therefore what I choose to designate DB4GT/214R, in the absence of any other consistent labelling of them. The first, initially claiming (wrongly) to be built up from some parts of the crashed 214/0195/R, commissioned by Ken Lawrence with a body built by Shapecraft, using the surviving 214 as a template. What I am not sure yet is whether this is the car currently owned by Wolfgang Friedrichs and which has a rather splendid record in the Spa 6 hours of two overall seconds (2004 & 2006) and an overall victory (2005), or whether Friedrichs had this built to save using 212 which he also owns. Our member, Simon Hadfield may be able to tell us, as he has co-driven this car with the owner and Clark, at Spa. There is certainly another in the UK owned, I believe, by Martin Brewer, since I saw this car at Snetterton last year, and, I understand that its construction was only completed last year.

Last edited by John Turner; 21 Feb 2007 at 22:06.
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Old 21 Feb 2007, 13:45 (Ref:1847323)   #3
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Dp215

DP215/1
Another true GT prototype and therefore successor to DP212, it incorporated the lessons learned from the earlier car. It was also intended to carry the Tadek Marek designed V8, 5 litre V8 which later appeared in the Lola Aston T70 MkIII, and in much modified/refined form in the road cars. Never fitted with V8, it made do with a dry sump 4-litre version of the well proven 6 cylinder, with twin plug head. More contentiously, it was also fitted with weakest link from the older and lower powered DBR1/300, its CG537 5 speed transaxle; clearly a big mistake and one admitted by John Wyer! Visually, and dimensionally, the body was as for the 214s but with a flatter bonnet line enabled by the dry sump engine. Fitted with engine no. 400/215/1

1963 – Le Mans – Retired in the early part of the third hour from transaxle failure. It had briefly led and then settled into second for some time (Phil Hill/Lucien Bianchi).
Rheims Cup – retired from the lead after 4 laps – missed gear led to over revving and bent valves (Schlesser).
Then rebuilt with more conventional transmission which allowed the fitting of the S532 5-speed box from DP212.
1966 - Very severely damaged in a road accident on the M1 (when it carried the reg. no ENP246B).
19?? – Rebuilt using a spare (214?) body from the factory and a DB6 engine, as the original engine had by then been fitted to DP214 (DB4GT/0194/R – see above). The S532 box had gone missing (back to 212? – see later notes) and it is thought that at this time a ZF box, similar to those fitted to the V8 road cars was used to keep the car running.
1982 – Acquired by Nigel Dawes who fitted engine no. 1293/420/2 (4.2 litre) taken from the Indianapolis Cooper Aston.
1991 – Long restoration completed and the car appeared at a number of public events, but not raced (Dawes). Was it then that te car acquired the reg. no. XMO 88?
1995 – Goodwood Festival of Speed (Dawes)
1996 – Acquired by A. J . Smith and again appeared at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it is seen below. The second photo shows all three of the surviving reunited at that event with 212 nearest the camera, then 214 and 215 furthest:-




1998 – Goodwood Festival of Speed (Earl of Arundel)
Silverstone – Coys – Crashed in practice (Smith)
2000 - Goodwood TT Revival – 15th (Smith/Joachim Folch)
2002? – Acquired by Neil Corner, who then went to the great expense of having a brand new S532 gearbox built from scratch by Crosthwaite and Gardner, using the box from 212 as the basis!
2006 – Appeared at the Goodwood Revival as part of the tribute to Phil Hill (driven I believe by Nigel Corner, who was certainly there as I had the privilege of speaking briefly to him about the car). See below:-




The visual difference is shown here. The first shows 212 at last year’s Goodwood Revival in very gloomy conditions. The profile is unique.


This is 215, again at last year’s Goodwood Revival, in the Phil Hill Commemoration demonstration run. It shares profile with the surviving 214 and 214 Replicas. Just to be picky, I prefer the 212 front end and the 215 rear end!


Notes
1) John Wyer quotes 323 bhp @ 6000rpm for the 1963 Le Mans
2) All these cars were genuinely quick, and both 214 and 215, were the first cars officially recorded as exceeding 300kph (186 mph) down the Mulsanne. However, 215 was the quickest of all. Phil Hill, in practice had been timed at 319.6kph (198.6 mph) and Ted Cutting, her designer, is certain that 215 had, in fact, exceeded 200mph since the timing was recorded before the cars had reached their maximum speed or the braking area. A fairly sobering thought particularly when it is noted that Hill described the car as light and controllable at such speeds.
3) It has to be recorded that, in stark contrast to the two 214s, 215 had the correct pistons fitted for the 1963 Le Mans race, and it’s failure was due to the transaxle transmission, the known Achilles heel, and it defies any logical explanation that it should ever have been incorporated in this car in the first place. Aston did seem to have an extraordinary ability to shoot themselves in the feet.
4) On a more personal note, I have to say that these cars are probably my favourite of all competition cars, and I therefore apologise for my indulgence in the implied ‘what might have been’. It has been a true labour of love, but if anyone has any comments, challenges or additional information to provide, please do so.

Sources:- AMOC, 'Aston' - Journal of the Aston Martin Heritage Trust, 'Aston Martin - The Post-War Competition Cars' by Anthony Pritchard, 'Racing with the David Brown Aston Martin' Volume 1, by John Wyer (with Chris Nixon), Autosport and various Goodwood Revival Race programmes!

Last edited by John Turner; 21 Feb 2007 at 14:51.
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Old 21 Feb 2007, 21:40 (Ref:1847594)   #4
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allenbrown should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridallenbrown should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Excellent piece of work John!

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Turner
DP215/1
1982 – Acquired by Nigel Dawes who fitted engine no. 1293/420/2 (4.2 litre) taken from the Indianapolis Cooper Aston.
Just to show that I read all this, I'll be adding this information to my Indycar database. What else can you tell me about this engine? A V8 presumably? Did it have a type number of any sort?

Thanks

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Old 21 Feb 2007, 22:05 (Ref:1847615)   #5
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Definitely not a V8, Allen. Almost certainly the biggest (4164 cc) version of the straight six DBR2 engine. Not sure if I can get anymore info, but will try!
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Old 22 Feb 2007, 08:25 (Ref:1847875)   #6
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Allen, reference to the chapter 'The Indy Project' in Doug Nye's Cooper bible (page 235 of the 2003 reprint) elicits the information that the Kjell Qvale entered his ex Kimberley-Cooper, 'powered by Aston Martin 6 cylinder dohc engine' in the 1963 Indy 500, driven by Pedro Rodriguez, but at 146.687 mph, was too slow to make the grid'. There is even a picture of the car on that page!
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Old 6 Feb 2008, 09:00 (Ref:2122286)   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Turner

[6) There are two, possibly three, replica 214s based on DB4 & 4GT componentry and therefore what I choose to designate DB4GT/214R, in the absence of any other consistent labelling of them. The first, initially claiming (wrongly) to be built up from some parts of the crashed 214/0195/R, commissioned by Ken Lawrence with a body built by Shapecraft, using the surviving 214 as a template. What I am not sure yet is whether this is the car currently owned by Wolfgang Friedrichs and which has a rather splendid record in the Spa 6 hours of two overall seconds (2004 & 2006) and an overall victory (2005), or whether Friedrichs had this built to save using 212 which he also owns. Our member, Simon Hadfield may be able to tell us, as he has co-driven this car with the owner and Clark, at Spa. There is certainly another in the UK owned, I believe, by Martin Brewer, since I saw this car at Snetterton last year, and, I understand that its construction was only completed last year.
Right, I can confirm that there are two known replicas.

The car owned by Wolfgang Friedrichs is the Ken Lawrence car mentioned above and has been with us for many years. For my own purposes I designate this DB4GT/214/R1.

The second car is the much more recently built car for Martin Brewer, but build was apparently started (according to the AMOC) alongside the above car. It was built up using DB4/559/L as the basis. Completed in 2005, it was given the registration no DSL 449, but as I understand it has been re-registered since as 5 BVY so that it closely resembles that accorded to the surviving original car. This was the car that appeared at the 2007 Le Mans Legends race on 16 June. I will call this DB4GT/214/R2.
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Old 4 Jun 2009, 16:26 (Ref:2475416)   #8
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5 BVY

The car was at Silverstone last Saturday for the Horsfall meeting. I hope I have successfully uploaded a picture I took.

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Old 4 Jun 2009, 16:57 (Ref:2475432)   #9
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John, welcome. That car is owned by Martin Brewer of Runnymede Motor Company. Speaking to Martin at Silverstone last Friday, he felt that the 214R2 designation was perfectly appropriate for his car.
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Old 15 Nov 2014, 11:28 (Ref:3474922)   #10
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There is now a third 214 Replica owned I believe by Robert Rawe. All 3 appeared at Silverstone Classic.
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"It's pure joy. This was the perfect training for the WEC after a summer of not racing, even though the car is faster than LMP2." Nicolas Minassian after lapping at 123mph in the Group C Jaguar XJR-14, setting a new outright lap record for the historic GP circuit at Silverstone Classic in 2013!
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Old 9 Jan 2017, 09:19 (Ref:3701218)   #11
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I should probably record the fact that 212 added to its CV with a superb win, against the odds in the 2013 Goodwood Revival TT, in the hands of owner Wolfgang Freidrichs, and Simon Hadfield. Wolfgang kept the car, which is one of the most original of the period, running and on the track in variable conditions until handing over to Simon just as conditions worsened. Whilst Simon felt that everything fell in place for him, including the benefit a safety car period, the fact is that he was able to exploit the surefootedness of the Aston on tyres that were narrower, and a less aggressive powerband than most of the cars around him. He still had to pass a lot of cars to win in appalling conditions. The chances of a Project Aston winning this race against hot Cobras and E types was extremely remote and is unlikely to be repeated.
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"It's pure joy. This was the perfect training for the WEC after a summer of not racing, even though the car is faster than LMP2." Nicolas Minassian after lapping at 123mph in the Group C Jaguar XJR-14, setting a new outright lap record for the historic GP circuit at Silverstone Classic in 2013!
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