One of six left hand drive examples of the model
1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II Drophead Coupe
Chassis no. 300/1137
Tickford body number EH 1004
Named for its creator and a Buckinghamshire hillclimb, the Aston Martin owes much of its development to a man who lent it only his initials. Lionel Martin was a London dealer for Singer. He had raced specials at Aston Hill, near Aston Clinton. In 1913, he and his dealership partner Robert Bamford decided to become manufacturers. The first car was created from a Coventry-Simplex engine and an Isotta Fraschini chassis, in 1915. Before they could build any others, World War I intervened.
After the war, Martin and Bamford regrouped and designed a new Aston Martin. The cars were successful in racing, but sales were meager. The company was bankrupt by 1924. Lady Charnwood purchased the remains of Bamford & Martin, and Martin left - Bamford had departed a few years earlier. Augustus "Bert" Bertelli, formerly with Alldays & Onions, designed a series of sports cars, which achieved moderate success through 1937. After that, a new owner, Sir Arthur Sutherland, decided to concentrate on road cars. Total production before World War II came had amounted to about 700 cars.
In 1947, the company was sold to Sir David Brown, a gear and tractor manufacturer who had recently acquired Lagonda. The first car under his stewardship, the 2-Liter Sports of 1948, used a tubular frame and a pushrod four-cylinder engine designed by Claude Hill, who had been Bertelli's understudy before the war. In 1950 came the DB2 (for "David Brown," the 2-Liter Sports being retrospectively called DB1). It used a six-cylinder double overhead cam engine, developed for Lagonda by W.O. Bentley, in one of Hill's tubular chassis. Production continued through 1953, by which time 411 had been built, mostly fixed-head coupés, but about 100 were dropheads.
The DB2/4, available as a 2+2 hatchback or a drophead, arrived in 1953. It used the same 2.6-liter engine, later enlarged to 2.9 liters. Works teams were organized to contest the Monte Carlo Rally and Mille Miglia, but the company put most emphasis on a new DB3 racing model. In 1955, a restyled DB2/4, designated Mark II, was introduced. In addition to the 2+2 and drophead there was a new two-seat coupé. Just 199 Mark IIs were built through 1957, some 16 of them dropheads.
This Old English White DB2/4 Mark II drophead is one of just six built with left-hand drive. Aston Martin Service in Dorset have checked the factory records for this car, and have found a note on the file that states the car was sold new to Panama, with the address of what would appear to be an agent for sale Mr. T. Spurlock, of Motortune Inc, Apartado, Panama. A later note in March 1965, details some servicing work carried out including an engine tune-up, cleaning of brakes and freeing off of handbrake, an oil chance/service, rewiring and the fitting of a new rev counter unit and rev counter drive, all of which suggests that the car was being re-commissioned at this time, having been laid up. The car would later arrive in North America and has more recently been in Michigan.
It has clearly been the subject of a thorough rebuild in recent times and presents exceptionally well today. The paintwork is very clean and has been done to a high standard, while the interior in darker red leather is immaculate as is the top. On inspection the car seemed complete in all major respects, and retains correct factory details such as the fold down rear seat cover, to provide extended luggage storage. In the run up to the auction the car will have received an engine check-over also.
With just a handful of these super rare left hand drive Mk IIs this represents a possibly unrepeatable auction opportunity.
- Chassis number in the catalog is incorrect; should read AM3001137