The Aston Martin DB2 is a distinguished sports touring car that was manufactured by Aston Martin between May 1950 and April 1953. The first prototype DB2 appeared as one of the three Aston Martins that entered the 1949 24 Le Mans. It was based on the Claude Hill designed tubular framed chassis of the “DB1” but was wrapped in a closed coupe body designed by Frank Feeley. It was powered by a 2.6 litre straight-6 engine, conceived originally by W.O Bentley and William Watson (of pre-war Invicta fame) which replaced the out-dated 2 litre straight-4 of the DB1. This was offered in either “standard” tune, or “Vantage” specification, with a higher compression ratio that boosted power to 123bhp.
The production DB2 made its debut at the New York motor show in 1950. Interest, demand and praise were high from the outset, with Autocar saying “It is difficult to give too much praise to the handling and performance of the DB2 sports saloon.” In the same year, the DB2 proved itself to be a formidably successful force on the racetrack, when it placed both 1st and 2nd in its class at the gruelling 24 hour Le Mans. Road & Track commented that “For a 2,580-cc car to put up such a performance against the larger engine cars is indeed a triumph!”
In total 411 DB2s were produced from 1950-1953; the first 49 cars used a square three-part grille in front with large rectangular side vents. This was soon updated with the more familiar integrated, rounded Aston Martin grille with horizontal slats. The three racing models were similarly upgraded establishing the company's new face.
To complement the provenance of a DB2 is to compete in the famous Mille Miglia as our 1952 supplied car did in 1993.
Not long after introduction, Aston offered the Drophead Coupé variant of which only 98 were ever built. We understand from factory records, less than half that number were supplied in left hand drive.
Equipped with an impressive list of features, the DB2 was considered the best British sports car available in 1950’s. Laurence Pomeroy wrote for Motor in October 1950;
“Every so often the gods pass over some works or another and with an inclination of the head inspire the production of a car with outstanding virtues; the Aston Martin DB2 stands worthy in the pedigree of real motor cars stretching back to cars like the 4 ½ Bentley Engineering for the DB2 was first set out with the 2-Litre Sports Aston Martin's first post-war sports car”.
Our ultra-rare LHD DB2 Drophead Coupé found a home back in America where she was originally supplied.
Fine car though the Aston Martin DB2 was, its sales had been affected by the limitations of two seats and minimal luggage space. Aston Martin thus re-designed the rear of the car to enable two occasional rear seats to be installed and at the same time raising the roof line slightly to increase headroom and fitting a larger rear window in an opening lid. As such, this Aston, appropriately renamed the DB2/4 was arguably the world’s first hatchback. The windscreen also became a one-piece moulding, the quarter light windows were reshaped~ headlights repositioned higher in the bonnet and the overall length increased by six inches.
Beneath the aluminium body the rigid steel chassis retained its independent trailing link/coil spring front suspension with transverse torsion bar, a live coil-sprung spring rear axle located by parallel arms and Panhard rods. Brakes were large and powerful drums all round. The DB2/4 made its debut at the 1953 London Motor Show and met with considerable public acclaim.
A very rare example of the DB2/4 was the Mk ll Notchback by Tickford. 1 of 16 supplied to the UK, Sports Classics London supplied the first car built which was used as a works demonstrator.
The Aston Martin DB Mark III (often referred to as simply the Mark III) was produced by Aston Martin between 1957 and 1959. An evolution of the distinguished and highly acclaimed DB2/4, the Mark III was powered by a 2,9L straight-6, which was a re-bored and updated version of the W.O. Bentley / Willy Watson that was found in the DB2.
Other mechanical changes and improvements that were found on this model included a hydraulic clutch, Girling disk brakes and an optional Laycock-de-Normanville overdrive. The standard DBA engine that was fitted to the model came with twin SU carburetors and produced a thoroughly respectable 162 bhp. cosmetically; the model sported the same grille as the DB3S racing car (the first example of the famous Aston Martin grille that is still seen on models today) and a new instrument panel.
Amongst the many MK lll Saloons we have had the pleasure of supplying was one of the finest examples we had ever laid our eyes on, fitted with the 195bhp ultra-rare DBB engine.
The landmark DB models of the 1950’s is considered by many marque enthusiasts to be the first true post-war Aston Martin model produced. The ultimate and most highly-refined variant being the DB Mark III which was introduced in March 1957 and produced in both Fixed-Head and open Drop Head Coupe. The ultimate variant being the Drop Head Coupé, with only eighty-four cars ever produced making it one of the most sought-after convertibles ever built by Aston Martin.
Styling and body fittings were updated, most notably with a revised grille opening inspired by the famed DB3S sports car, this new grille of the DB Mark III influenced Aston Martin styling for many years to follow, with this now-iconic basic design cue providing unmistakable brand continuity and essentially remaining in effect through the V-8 models of the late 1980s. Among the many other updates of the Mark III, a revised instrument panel designed by Frank Feeley echoed the grille’s shape and now relocated the gauges directly in front of the driver. In popular culture, while the later DB5 is most often associated with Her Majesty’s Secret Agent James Bond, Ian Fleming the creator of James bond actually had 007 driving a DB Mark III.
A 1959 review by Road & Track magazine praised the car for everything but its US $7,450.00 "A car for connoisseurs" they called it. "The Aston has many virtues and few faults"
We proudly commissioned a complete “body off” 100-point restoration to a 1 off 84 RHD 1958 example that included a complete engine rebuild, which alone cost in excess of £50,000.00!