The story of Jean Bloxam

We recently received notification that one of our old girls, our 1956 Aston Martin DB3S Coupe has been nominated for ‘2022 Car of the Year‘ at the Historic Motoring Awards, presented by Octane Magazine. This had us looking back at what a special example it is and had us re-indulging on the special history behind the car, and more specifically around Jean Bloxam, the woman behind the wheel in the 50’s.

It was in 1958 chassis DB3S/120 was sold by David Brown and the works to celebrated racing driver, Mrs Jean Bloxam, the wife of racing driver Roy Bloxam. He had first introduced his wife to motorsport in 1954, just four years prior, by entering her into the Whit Monday Ladies’ Race at Goodwood, albeit without her knowledge.

She was famously dedicated to the Aston Martin marque and received a great deal of support from the works and John Wyer in particular. Following her purchase of the DB3S, a number of upgrades were carried out by Aston Martin, such as fitting a carburettor intake and a straight-through exhaust which made the car wonderfully noisy. Race reports from the time often commented on the sound, which we can only imagine how it rattled eardrums back in period. One of our favourite stories we unearthed from the archive came from Jean Bloxam, stating that Innes Ireland encouraged her to run through all the gears going through the Mersey Tunnel in Liverpool so that he could hear them. This encouragement was perhaps ill-advised as she found the police waiting for her at the other end.

Mrs Bloxam’s first race of the 1958 season was at Mallory Park, organised by the BARC, following which she then entered the car into a number of other BARC events including the Sussex Trophy at Goodwood, where she competed alongside the likes of Stirling Moss and Peter Collins in their works Aston Martin DBR2 and Ferrari Dino 206 S. Other entrants in the race were 2 Ferrari 250 TRs, driven by Lucien Bianchi and Willy Mairesse.

Following this, Jean raced at Silverstone in July 1958 at the AMOC St John Horsfall Meeting where she retained the Arthur Bryant Trophy, notably beating Graham Whitehead in his ex-works open bodied DB3S, chassis DB3S/6, where she’s pictured above on the starting grid.

Bloxam also had success in a number of hillclimbs, such as the Bouley Bay Hillclimb in 1958 (pictured above) where she finished 2nd in the ‘Over 2,000cc Sports Cars Class’ to Mike Salmon in his Jaguar XK 120C. Mrs Bloxam also set a new course record for 2,001cc – 3,000cc sports cars with a time of 62.0 seconds.

At the August 1958 NSCC event at Silverstone, Jean was racing against her husband Roy in his open bodied Aston Martin DB3S, chassis DB3S/2 in the Formula Libre race. A photograph appeared in the Autosport magazine race report showing Mrs Bloxam chasing down her husband to finish 6th overall.

Pictured: Jean was racing against her husband Roy in his open bodied Aston Martin DB3S, chassis DB3S/2 in the Formula Libre race.

The article from Autosport magazine showing Mrs Bloxam chasing down her husband to
finish 6th overall.

The final race of the season was at Oulton Park in September. It was only shortly after the season had closed, Jean Bloxam decided to part with the car, opting for an open bodied DB3S for the 1959 season. During her time with the car it became a familiar site at races and attracted a lot of attention, especially from spectators who saw it being driven to and from the circuits. It also proved that the DB3S Coupe was both a competitive race machine and a comfortable tourer, capable of adapting to any style of driving that was required of it. The success and attention gained in 1958 was admirable by any standards, but looking back, it’s astonishing to think this success was the result of a female driver in 1950, a time when slicks and tarmac weren’t familiar territory for a woman.

Chassis DB3S/120 is a very special car indeed. It is not only very rare, being 1 of only 3 Fixed Head Coupes ever produced and 1 of 2 still in its original configuration, it also boasts a provenance that is hard to match. The car had been wonderfully cared for throughout its life and is believed to still retain its original chassis, body and engine. It has continued to be well cared for, which is evident by its nomination for which we hope it is deserving for the title of ‘Car of the Year’.