An ex-Le Mans and Spa 24 Hours Aston Martin has been reunited with its rightful owners 14 years after being stolen from a back garden. Despite two men being found guilty of the theft a year after the car went missing, the 1949 DB team car was only recovered from a storage facility in Eindhoven earlier this year.
The car’s long-term owner, Christopher Angell, passed away in 2003, so it became the property of his relative, Ashley Mack, who has consigned the car in Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed sale, where it is expected to fetch as much as £900,000.
The hugely significant racer was the first David Brown-era works racing model, and became the only one of three cars entered into the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours to finish the race, having been driven to seventh place by Arthur Jones and Nick Haines. A Lagonda-engined car was also entered but suffered a water pump failure after six laps, while the third car, driven by Pierre Marechal and Taso Mathieson, fractured a brake line.
Haines then paired with Lance Macklin to take the car to fifth place in the Spa 24 Hours.
The Aston’s racing success was enough to convince David Brown to embark on a full race programme the following year, draughting in former Monaco Engineering company manager John Wyer to head the team.
Following its racing career the car passed into the hands of racer Bill Whitehouse, appearing at Gamston aerodrome in 1951, followed by the BRDC Silverstone meeting and a trip to the Isle of Man for the British Empire Trophy.
The Aston became a fixture on the club circuit before eventually being bought by AMOC personality Christopher Agnell in 1965. He drove the car in a demonstration parade at the 1971 Le Mans 25 Hours, but failing health resulted in the car being laid up in his garden.