In early 1935 Sir Arthur Sutherland, who had been persuaded to take the chair at Aston Martin, eventually convinced Bert Bertelli, the Technical Director and Head of Design at Aston since 1926, that despite the huge success of their racing programme and the popularity of the earlier sporting cars like the "T-Type, International, Le Mans and Ulster the company's financial future could only be secured by concentrating on road cars.
New cars appeared for Le Mans in 1936. They were two seaters broadly similar to the Ulster but with a longer stroke, 100 hp, 2 litre version of the well proven wet sump engine. The title 15/98 referred to the new type's fiscal horsepower and rated power. A prototype short chassis four seater managed 82mph and for the first time it seemed the company had a chassis suitable for four passenger coachwork. In all between 1936 and '39, 176 2 litre 15/98s were produced of which 24 were Abbey bodied Long Chassis Tourers, Aston's first luxury 4 seat touring car.
KMG 202 was completed on the 31st. of May, 1937 although not registered until the 25th. March, 1939 when it was sold at a cost of £575. An old style buff log book from 1955 to 1970 is also present as is the last MoT certificate before the car was "mothballed".
The original wet sump was converted by the factory in 1954 to dry, as this was regarded as advantageous on high performance engines preventing oil surge on fast corners. Whilst KMG was not built for competition the car took part in the first St.John Horsfall Handicap at Silverstone in July 1950 and the original programme is still with the car.
KMG 202 had not been on the road since 1970 and was owned by the same family and kept in dry storage until the current owner purchased the car in 2011 as a "barn find" and commissioned a no expense spared chassis up restoration using the well respected pre war Aston specialist Andy Bell from Ecurie Bertelli Ltd.
A complete bottom end rebuild was carried out. This included re-lining and epoxy sealing an original cylinder block and fitting a steel crankshaft and steel connecting rods, the crank being on white metal and the rods on thin wall bearings. New high compression pistons were used and a new rear main oil seal housing was also installed. All new parts were fitted, where required, in to the block including a new oil pump, timing gears and shafts, and a modern timing chain tensioner.
The top end was also completely overhauled with new valves, rocker gear and camshaft in the crack tested and ground cylinder head. The carburettors and distributor were also rebuilt. When finished the engine was run on a dyno and the test results are available.
The gearbox was also stripped and rebuilt with new bearings and bushes. The front suspension and steering were rebuilt with a new steering box, kingpins, trunnion bushes and the springs re shimmed with the main leafs being replaced. The braking system was stripped out and refitted and all compensators and actuators repaired where required. A new battery, starter motor, water and fuel pumps were fitted as was a new exhaust and manifold. The radiator was rebuilt and re-cored and a complete new wiring harness was designed, assembled and fitted.
Externally a brand new body tub, boot and door skins, and inner boot panels were fabricated and fitted followed by a concours standard high build primer and paint finish. Chrome components, mostly original were stripped, polished and re chromed.The car was completely re trimmed in high grade bourbon hide complemented by red Wilton carpet and new authentic wheels and tyres were fitted. The hood, side screens, tonneau cover and hood bag were recovered in black "Double Duck" fabric. Ingenious direction indicators are concealed within the wing mounted side lights.
In October 2013 the car achieved 1st. place in the AMOC Concours D' Etat for pre war cars at Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire.
As well as looking amazing we are told KMG 202 drives extremely well with all pressures and temperatures as they should be, and approximately 1500 miles have been completed since the renovation.
This immaculately presented 15/98 is the ultimate classic four seat grand tourer from this famous marque.