1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II 2+2 Coupé
Coachwork by Tickford
Chassis no. AM300/1206
Named for its creator and a Buckinghamshire hillclimb, the Aston Martin owes much of its development to the tractor manufacturer 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 comprised some 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 coupé or as a drophead, arrived in 1953. It used the same 2.6-liter engine, later enlarged to 2.9 liters. In 1955, a restyled DB2/4, designated Mark II, was introduced. David Brown had acquired the Tickford Coachworks of Salmons and Son, and entrusted the construction of Aston Martin bodies to his new company. In addition to the 2+2 and drophead there was a new two-seat coupé. Just 199 Mark IIs were built through 1957, some 150 of them 2+2 hatchbacks.
This DB2/4 Mark II coupe is finished in handsome deep grey, with a light grey roof and hatch section. The interior is done in red leather, with pleated seats and a polished wood dashboard. Restored in 1996, it has been continually maintained and presents well. The paint exhibits a good shine, the leather shows use but no wear, and the engine compartment is clean and correctly detailed. Chrome knock-off wire wheels complete the presentation of this thoroughbred British sporting 2+2.