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SLIDER: 1934 Aston Martin Mark II

The Aston Martin Mark II was launched at the 1934 Olympia Auto Show, in short-chassis and long-chassis form.  It was an evolution of the earlier 1½-litre cars, incorporating almost nine years of continual development.  There were short 2/4 seater and long chassis variations, with open 4-seater touring, drophead coupe and saloon coachwork built on the longer chassis.

This is a car from the so-called ‘Bertelli’ period of Aston Martin.  Augustus (Bert) Bertelli and Bill Renwick had bought the name in 1926 and with other investors started to make their own design, completely different from the original Bamford and Martin cars.

The cars used Renwick and Bertelli’s own overhead-cam 4-cylinder 1½-litre engine that they had wanted to sell to other manufacturers.  When Aston Martin failed in 1926 and they could take the company over, they decided to put their engine in their own car.

The talented design engineer Claude Hill did much development work on the Mark II to refine the original Bertelli designs.  The chassis was considerably stiffer and better braced, and the engine was no longer a stiffening element of the chassis but simply sat on it.  The engine produced 73 bhp, and gave excellent performance for such a small-engined car.

Two distinctive features of the Mark II are the thermostatically controlled radiator shutters and the cycle-type front wings which turn with the steering.

This lovely example was spotted at VSCC Prescott on 6th August 2017, at the end of the day, when a long line of Astons of this period had reduced to just two. We have widened the view from our normal Slider pictures to try to capture the relaxed atmosphere at the end of a very successful day – and, in particular, to keep in view the lady grasping her last opportunity to take a photo of the little Austin Seven.

We know whose car this Aston Martin is, but we haven’t told him about this Slider.  We wonder if he will recognise it from the side!


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