In the former ownership for 40 years, fresh from comprehensive restoration
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Saloon
Chassis no. LML/50285
Engine no. LB6B/50640
Aston Martin owner David Brown's 1947 acquisition of Lagonda made the latter's W O Bentley-designed, twin-overhead-camshaft, 2.6-litre six available for a new sportscar. Announced in April 1950, with production commencing the following month, the DB2 owed much to the Claude Hill-designed DB1, using a shortened and modified version of the latter's chassis and identical suspension. Italian-inspired, the timelessly elegant GT bodywork was the creation of Frank Feeley, and with more power (105bhp at 5,000rpm) and less weight, the sleek DB2 comfortably out-performed its predecessor.
Writing in 1952, Autosport's John Bolster enthused: The DB2 is a very fast sports car of immense stamina, as a long list of racing successes has proved. The model is remarkable for its comfort and luxury, and is also about the easiest thing there is to drive, outside of the automatic transmission carriages. Bolster enjoyed the DB2's outstanding performance, particularly that of the 120mph Vantage version, and remarked on the car's inherent safety and versatility: Whether one would go shopping, to the theatre, on a long-distance tour, or even race at Le Mans, one could have no more perfect companion than the Aston Martin.
The body of the DB2 afforded its two occupants a generous amount of interior space and the considerable convenience, from the maintenance and accessibility point of view, of a forward-hinging entire front section. DB2 bodies were coachbuilt in the traditional manner, a situation that resulted in numerous differences between individual examples, most obviously in the treatment of the front grille. A drophead coupé version was announced towards the end of 1950. When production ceased in April 1953, a total of 411 DB2s had been made, 98 of them dropheads.
The owner of this right hand drive DB2 acquired the car from Bonhams auction at the internationally renowned Beaulieu Autojumble in the U.K. in 2008. A true 'barn find' it had just four previous owners and had been laid up for the last 40 years leading to the sale and was substantially complete.
Inspired by the Works Astons of the 1950s, the U.S. buyer chose to fully restore the car to light competition specifications to provide a fast road or circuit car. This exhausting process was begun on the car's arrival in the States and completed last year. In doing so the bodywork was stripped to bare metal, repaired where necessary, primed and refinished in a lustrous deep Midnight Blue hue. The interior was stripped and in place of the original seats and trim, a roll bar and tight fitting competition seats, tastefully upholstered in plaid fabric were fitted (although the originals were retained and remain with the car). To enhance performance, the engine was completely rebuilt to Vantage Specifications including new cams freshly ground by Four Ashes, the crank was built up and ground to the same specs and the Le Mans spec big SUs were added. All mechanical aspects were gone through and rebuilt where necessary to ensure that they were safe at speed and completing it was the fitting of a set of Dunlop Racing tires. Throughout the process no expense was spared to ensure that the car looked great and performed even better!
The car debuted at Lime Rock Park last year, where it was proven to be an effective race car as well as an aesthetic joy. An ever popular mount for long distance events, these cars are eligible for a whole host of retrospectives from the famed Mille Miglia and Tour Auto in Europe to the California Mille and Colorado Grand in this country, as well as many historic circuit events.
Bonhams in inextricably linked with the Aston Martin, each May, we hold the Works Service auction and have handled more of the marque than any other auctioneer. With a fully documented restoration and accompanied by a copy of its original build sheet, the car is quite literally ready to 'Show or Go', and in our opinion is one of the best presented that we have had the privilege to offer.