Next up was the Nrburgring, where Moss also offered to dip into his own pocket to enter a car. Wyer again relented, and Moss repaid him with a record-setting win. At Le Mans, three cars were entered. Moss' car had a slightly more powerful engine that he used to pressure most of the Ferraris into self-destructing. Unfor-tunately, Moss blew up in the process. Shelby and Salvadori drove a strong race-outlasting Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien's Ferrari-for Aston Martin's first and only Le Mans win. A victory at Goodwood's Tourist Trophy 6-Hour race in September completed an almost perfect season, giving Aston Martin the World Sports Car Championship.

That was to be the zenith and conclusion of Aston Martin's factory racing program. The company entered a single-seater spinoff of the DBR1 in a few grands prix during 1959 and 1960, but the front-engine car was too little (actually too heavy), too late-the rear-engine revolution had begun.

Acquiescing to its French distributor, Aston Martin returned to Le Mans in 1962 and 1963 with a series of swoopy prototypes that were known as the "Project Cars." Graham Hill and Richie Ginther drove a DP 212 in 1962. It actually led a lap before retiring. In 1963, two DP 214s and a DP215 were entered. The DP215 had a more powerful engine, a 4.0-liter, 345-hp six cylinder that enabled Phil Hill to hit 197 mph on the Mulsanne. These cars failed to finish. In a parting shot, Salvadori drove a DB4GT to victory at Monza in August 1963

You might say that Aston Martin's racing career did have a Hollywood ending, because the next year, Sean Connery fired up 007's DB5 to take the battle from the track to the silver screen.

By Patrick C. Paternie
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