With the intention of building more beautiful cars for the British Car industry, David Ogle founded "David Ogle Ltd." in 1960 at Letchworth, Herts, in the North of London.
Ogle was a well established British Industrial Designer with an excellent reputation for his designs and engineering. In 1959 he decided to branch out into car design and manufacture, his first car the Ogle 1.5, swiftly entered production. This first model used Riley 1.5 running gear with later Ogle designs using mainly Mini Cooper power plants.
Perhaps the most important concept car by 'Ogle Design' was the 1972 Aston Martin DBS V8 'Ogle'. This unusual and eccentric Aston Martin was first shown at the Montreal Motor Show in January 1972, with the cost of the car being met by a tobacco company in order to boost sale results and known as the 'Sotheby Special'. The car was designed and built in 1971 under the guidance of Tom Karen.
Based on an Aston Martin DBS V8 chassis and engine unit, the bodywork was made of glassfibre and above the waistline it was totally formed from glass supported by a strong tubular metal frame of Reynolds531 (a steel once very popular with the cycle racing fraternity. The whole rear panel was made of a single sheet of brushed stainless steel with 22 holes cut into it for the rear lamps and braking lights. The harder the driver braked, the more lights were illuminated! The headlamps were secreted behind a pair of pneumatically operated panels that would automatically drop down when the lamps were in use. Also of note is that the car had a single transverse rear seat, presumably making the Ogle the only post war three-seater Aston Martin.
Also the reduction of weight gained through the lighter body made the Ogle significantly quicker then a standard DBS V8.
At the same Geneva Motor show were the famous Giugiaro-designed Maserati Boomerang was unveiled in 1972, Ogle displayed the Aston Martin once more. At that time Italdesign founder G. Giugiaro came over to the 'Ogle' stand in order to congratulate Tom Karen for his creative design of the car, pointing out various new and innovative details such as the special sideways position of the single rear seat and a complete glass roof.
Only two hand-made Aston Martin 'Ogle' models, each selling for £ 28,750 at the time, or the equivalent of three regular Aston Martin DBS V8 coupes.
A letter from the manager of Aston Martin Heritage Operations, sums the car up perfectly: "I am able to confirm that the above vehicle was shipped to Ogle Design of Letchworth, Herts in 1971 by Aston Martin as the prototype for the Sotheby Special Project, financed by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd. This vehicle is the first of three Sotheby Specials produced at Ogle Design."
The vehicle was finished in Dark Blue adorned with Gold pin striping and unveiled as a centrepiece of the Montreal Motor Show of January 1972. It also appeared at the ensuing Geneva Salon a couple of months later, and was reviewed by Raymond Baxter for the then popular television programme 'Tomorrow's World'. The Sotheby Special certainly seems to have impressed Motor magazine, as they devoted their January 15, 1972 front cover to the car. Unfortunately, history relates that Wills's Sotheby brand of cigarette was not a great success and, now redundant, the motor show car (that had never been road registered), was partially stripped for parts and placed in storage.