Aston Martin DB2 Vantage 1953
In 1947 David Brown bought the Aston Martin and Lagonda companies and incorporated them as Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.. Lagonda's 2.6 L, dual overhead cam, straight-six engine, more powerful than the pushrod 2.0 L unit in the Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, was the main objective in Brown's acquisition of the company. W. O. Bentley had supervised the engine's design, which was largely by William Watson, an engineer with the pre-war Invicta company who had collaborated on Lagonda's pre-war V12 and also designed the short-lived post-war version.
Three pre-production cars were entered for the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans. One, which would become the development car for the production DB2, had the Lagonda straight-6, while the four-cylinder Aston Martin 2-litre unit powered the other two. After six laps the Lagonda-powered car, driven by Leslie Johnson, retired with overheating caused by failure of the water pump. One of the 2-litre cars was in 4th place and running without brakes when it crashed two hours short of the finish, fatally injuring driver Pierre Maréchal. The other finished 7th, crewed by Arthur Jones and Nick Haines. A month later, the larger-engined car, driven by Leslie Johnson and Charles Brackenbury, finished 3rd in the Spa 24-hour race.
For 1950 all three factory team cars were equipped with the Lagonda engine. At the 1950 Le Mans race the one driven by George Abecassis and Lance Macklin finished 5th, with Brackenbury and Reg Parnell bringing another home 6th, which won Aston Martin 1st and 2nd in the 3-litre class. Across the Atlantic, Briggs Cunningham drove his DB2 to 2nd in its class at the inaugural Sebring race meeting in December 1950. The factory team cars continued racing in Europe throughout 1951, including at Le Mans, where Macklin and Eric Thompson took 3rd overall, with Abecassis and Brian Shawe-Taylor 5th.
The DB2 debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950 and continued in production until April 1953, by which time 411 had been made. The first 49 had a chrome-framed front grille in three separate parts, and large rectangular cooling vents in the front wings. Subsequent cars had a one-piece grille with horizontal chrome slats, and no side vents. The single-piece bonnet was hinged at the front. At the rear of the fixed-head coupé a small top-hinged lid gave access to the spare wheel, and luggage space was behind the front seats, accessible only from inside the car.
In April 1950, an engine with larger carburettors, inlet camshaft the same as the exhaust, and higher compression ratio pistons was made available. Aston Martin's first Vantage upgrade option offered 125 hp. Initially the higher compression ratio made the engine unsuitable for the British market, as the postwar austerity measures of the early 1950s restricted UK vehicles to 72 octane 'Pool petrol'. The first DB2 Vantage, LML 50/21, was delivered to, and raced by, Briggs Cunningham in the United States.
The superb Aston Martin we offer here on behalf of its fastidious owner, a well known collector of superior cars, was sold new to Mr Joseph C. Cline, living in Hudson Ohio. These cars when new only had a 3 month warranty according to factory records! The 2nd owner was Mr H.J. Kous of Columbus Ohio.
The car was ordered new in Black with a beige VM 847 special leather interior. A rare lefthanddrive Vantage specification car. It was also specified with windshield vent frames, manual choke and ignition controle and Purolator filter and Dunlop types. In 1954 it had 6360 miles on clock.
The car would stay in the USA until imported by an Aston Martin collector in Italy early ninenties. He ordered a ground up but conservative restoration where all original parts should remain as they were whenever possible.The original leather to the seats was painstakingly repaired and now shows very well. The work was done by Italian restorer Massimo Chiara who used to work for Carrozzeria Bertone and restored cars for the Bertone collection.
The restoration is nicely documented in a book by Mr Chiara. When finished the car was shown at several concours d'elegances and attracted many compliments.
The car was awarded the ASI Gold plate. Now the car has been driven the first 1000 km since its comprehensive restoration and has been fully serviced and tweaked, no expense spared by well known Aston Martin specialists. Work consisted of improvements to brakes, suspension and a fresh set of Michelin tyres. Furthermore it comes with a fresh FIVA passport to A3 classification so you enter one of the many events this spectacular car is eligible for like the Tour Auto and Mille Miglia.
The car shows beautifully and must be one of the nicest and original DB 2 Vantage's in existence.
The car is EEC registered and runs and drives beautifully.