41952 ASTON MARTIN DB2 SALOON
Chassis No. LML 50 109
Engine No. VBCB 50 1027
Blue with burgundy leather upholstery
Engine: six-cylinder, twin overhead camshafts, 2,580cc, 125bhp at 5,000rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Brakes: four wheel drum; Suspension: front, independant suspension with coil springs, rear, independant live axle with coil springs. Right hand drive.
In 1947 David Brown, who had made his fortune in transmissions and farm tractors, acquired two ailing companies, Lagonda and Aston Martin. When he inherited both companies he was fortunate to have an advanced chassis design from the Aston Martin Atom. This featured a triangulated spaceframe of rectangular tubing and independent front suspension by coil springs, trailing links and an anti-roll bar. A light, open two- seater competition car was developed from this and produced a fine victory in the 1948 Spa 24 hour race. The production model became the DB1. Few were made, however it formed the basis of the next model when David Brown, in an inspired move had the chassis modified to accept the Lagonda 2.6 liter twin cam engine. This engine had been designed under the guidance of the legendary W.O. Bentley. It was a superb engine design which remained the mainstay of all Aston Martins until the arrival of a new V8 in late 1969. The smooth aerodynamic two-seater coachwork was designed by Frank Freely and the prototype race car with the six cylinder engine proved very fast at Le Mans.
Though undoubtedly beautiful, the DB2 was intially more a competition car than a full fledged road machine. Its hand-built aluminum body featured a hinged front section-hood, nose and both fenders that tilted forward for engine access and was ideal for the track, achieving a maximum speed of 105-110mph. These initial tests were carried out with an engine rated at 105bhp and from January 1951 a more powerful Vantage engine (125bhp at 5,000rpm) became available. This had a higher compression ratio and larger carburetors. The trailing link suspension was a revelation when the DB2 appeared and handling seemed unaffected by road clamber. Phil Hill was ecstatic about his new DB2 and he reported in Road & Track that he averaged over 80mph for two hours on a Reno trip. Pundits, owners and magazine road testers all agreed that, despite being an expensive proposition, the DB2 had a superb chassis, great performance, stylish looks and an immense amount of character.
This magnificently restored example is thought to have been one of the factory show cars. It was believed to have been purchased by a local enthusiast in Hollister, California from Hollywood Sports Cars in L.A. It was raced extensively at Pebble Beach, Golden Gate, and elsewhere on the West Coast. The car was laid up in a shed and forgotten for over 25 years until it was purchased by the current owner in 1989.
In 1989 a complete body up restoration was started to return the car to the condition it would have been in as a show vehicle. Since 1989 over $70,000 has been spent (not including the owner's labor) on this meticulous restoration. The bodywork is of a considerably higher finish than production models, as was the custom with Aston show cars. Also several suspension pieces are nickel plated. The engine, which is a vantage specification one, was reputedly delivered from the factory with several special modifications including high compression pistons. It was rebuilt using racing standards and has been magnafluxed, re-machined, and had a special steel crank built. The owner reports that this car is extremely fast, very smooth and rattle free. Since the restoration was completed, the car has covered around 6,500 miles and should make a splendid addition to any collection or show.