The Le Mans

By Jens koster (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Aston Martin was struggling to make money around 1930, partly because its cars were expensive to produce. The New International of 1931 addressed the cost issue, but wasn’t a sales success, so a new model was developed.

This was known as the Le Mans, in deference to the company’s ongoing success at the famous French endurance race.

Although mechanically similar, the Le Mans had restyled bodywork with a lower, squatter radiator. The aerodynamics were also improved by a hood that folded flush with the bodywork. The Le Mans was offered in two- and four-seater forms; the latter built with a longer chassis.

The engine of the Le Mans was essentially the same 1.5-litre unit used in the International, albeit with uprated magnesium pistons, higher compression ratio, twin electric fuel pumps, and other refinements which gave the engine 70bhp; enough to drive the car to speeds of over 80mph.

Despite the best attempts of the company’s engineers, the Le Mans ended up costing £120 more than the equivalent International. Despite this, it turned out to be a much more successful car for Aston Martin, with more than 100 examples sold in 1932 and 1933. Just 15 of these were the four-seater versions.

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