1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 43
1954 ASTON MARTIN DB2/4 SPORTS SALOON

Sold for US$ 209,000 inc. premium
1954 ASTON MARTIN DB2/4 SPORTS SALOON

Chassis no. LML/555
Engine no. DBA/1365

2,922cc DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
3 Weber Carburetors
200+bhp at 5,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front Independent Suspension – Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Disc Brakes


*Well-built Competition Special
*La Carrera Panamericana veteran
*Set the fastest lap time at Lime Rock for a DB2
*Accompanied by comprehensive restoration records



THE ASTON MARTIN DB2/4

The need to widen the appeal of the already-successful DB2 resulted in the launch of the 2+2 DB2/4 in October 1953. Modifications to the rear of the chassis, plus a reduction in fuel tank capacity from nineteen to seventeen gallons, liberated sufficient space within the existing design for two child-sized occasional rear seats. Alternatively, the rear seat backs could be folded down, thus creating a load-carrying platform that more than doubled the luggage space, the latter being accessed via a hatchback rear door (one of this now-common feature's earliest applications). In addition, a raised roofline, one-piece windscreen, larger bumpers and other detail styling changes differentiated the newcomer from its predecessor.

Technically, the DB2/4 remained much the same as the DB2, employing the latter's rectangular-tube chassis, trailing arm independent front suspension and well-located live rear axle. The W.O. Bentley-designed, 2.6-liter, six-cylinder, twin-cam power unit came in tuned (125bhp) Vantage specification as standard for the 2/4. Despite this, the redesign's inevitable weight gain was not fully compensated for until the arrival of the 3.0-liter, DB3S-derived, 140bhp engine in 1954. The car's top speed was now 118mph, with 60mph reached in around 11 seconds.

Although the DB2/4 was never intended to be a racing car, it did have an impressive competition career which began early in 1955 when the Aston Martin Works entered three cars in the Monte Carlo Rally. Reg Parnell was partnered by motor racing photographer Louis Klemantaski in one car, Peter Collins and Graham Whitehead shared the second, while the third was crewed by two former Monte winners, Dutchman Maurice Gatsonides and Frenchman Marcel Becquart. Parnell and Collins put themselves out of the competition by going flat-out from the start and were penalized for arriving at the checkpoints too early. Parnell was then disqualified before the car got back to Monte Carlo, but Collins was able to continue and won the traditional race around the Monaco GP Circuit. Gatsonides and Becquart led the rally until they passed a secret time-check, and dropped to seventieth place. They were awarded the RAC Trophy for 'Comfort and Safety' for their impressive performance.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This Aston Martin arrived in the U.S. in 1954, and is believed to have been purchased new by a private owner for personal use. In 1991, the car was acquired by a professional racing team and prepared explicitly for the Carrera Panamericana retrospective race the following year. The car was entrusted to Automotive Restorations, Inc. of Stratford, Connecticut, for the work required to make it race-worthy. Automotive Restorations stripped the DB2/4 to bare metal to improve reliability, durability, and performance.

The chassis was reinforced and the suspension and brakes reworked, while the transmission was rebuilt and the clutch was upgraded. The original engine was replaced by a similar Aston Martin engine built to Vantage specifications by renowned Aston Martin specialists Steel Wings. This engine build included the installment of forged alloy pistons and Carillo connecting rods, while triple Webers and custom headers were fitted externally. To keep the extra power in check, the braking system was uprated to use larger DB4 series front and rear calipers, on dual master cylinder plumbing. The suspension was restored, retaining its original design and pickup points while incorporating an added negative chamber, a heavier anti-sway bar, and uprated dampers throughout. The steering was updated to use a Saginaw gear inside of the original box design.

The car was also properly outfitted for rally situations, with Nimrod Motors rally seats, six-point seat belts, a 34-gallon fuel tank, a dual-range alternator, a massive radiator, extra mirrors and skid plates – everything to keep it moving! This methodical attention to detail extended to the bodywork and the safety of the car's occupants: existing welds were reinforced, extra welds were added in vulnerable areas, and a permanent roll cage was installed. In terms of appearance, the car was properly finished in white with blue stripes, which complemented a black interior. A comprehensive file that chronicles the work (which, all in all, totaled in excess of $120,000) accompanies the car.

As documented in Vintage Sports Car Club of America Magazine, Volume #4 from 1993, the 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 offered here successfully competed in the 1992 Carrera Panamericana retrospective race. The border-to-border 2,000-mile road race was originally run annually from 1950 to 1954 in five one-day stages. Taking place mostly along the Pan-American Highway from Ciudad Juárez just south of the border from El Paso, Texas, to the Mexico-Guatemalan border, it was a grueling world-class event on par with the Mille Miglia and attracted high-powered European and American factory-sponsored teams such as Ferrari, Lancia, Mercedes-Benz, Oldsmobile, Lincoln, and others. The challenging race consisted of open stretches for high-speed sprints as well as twisting roadways at 10,000-foot elevations that called for rally-style maneuvers; truly a stress test for any car or driver.

This particular DB2/4 completed the 1992 edition of the race with an impressive fifth-place finish. Although a podium finish was not achieved, the preparation and race itself was a true success. LML/555 accomplished every stage of the 2,000-mile event without a debilitating incident, while managing to throw down some very impressive times along the way.

Following the La Carrera LML/555 was fully freshened, with the engine going back to Steel Wings and the rest of its major components being disassembled and serviced as needed. The car continued to partake in AMOC and VSCCA events, where it set the fastest time for a DB2 at Lime Rock. Not only a successful competition car, LML/555 has also been very popular on the show field as well. The car has been to a number of events, including the Aston Martin Gathering at the Classic Sports Sunday at the Mar-a-Lago, where LML/555 was featured among some of the make's finest examples. Its most recent competitive event was the 2014 Hillclimb at the Elegance at Hershey in Pennsylvania.

LML/555 is a ticket to a number of exclusive driving events such as the Copperstate 1000 or the Colorado Grand, or vintage racing events like the Monterey Historics or Goodwood. With a successful Carrera Panamericana run in its past, this sporting Aston Martin is a well-proven example of the desirable model.

Footnotes

  • Please note car is titled 1953

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the title for this car is in transit.
Contacts
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
1954 Aston Martin  DB 2/4 Sports Saloon
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

Please Note: Buyer's premium for this auction is 10% of the hammer price.

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Special Car Dealer Notices

For all registerable Vehicles, Bonhams is acting as an Arizona dealer, number L00012102

App