1953 Aston Martin DB2
Year of manufacture1953
Number of seats2
Rare original left-hand drive
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Sports Saloon
Chassis no. LML/50/307
Engine no. VB6B/50/1132
Aston Martin owner David Brown's 1947 acquisition of Lagonda made the latter's twin-overhead-camshaft, 2.6-litre six, designed by engineer Willie Watson under the supervision of W O Bentley, available for a new sports car. 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 sportscar 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.
An original left-hand drive car fitted from new with the more powerful (125bhp) Vantage engine, this ultra-rare DB2 variant was delivered new on 7th March 1953 to Joseph C Cline of Hudson, Ohio via the local agent, Stanley Harold 'Wacky' Arnolt, the man later responsible for the Arnolt-Bristol sports car. The Aston's original colour combination was black with beige interior, while the guarantee form also reveals that it was built with left-hand drive, windshield vent frames, Purolator oil filter, and manual control of the choke and ignition. The engine listed on the build sheet is 'VB6B/50/1132', a Vantage specification unit. Only one other owner is listed: H J Kous of Columbus, Ohio (change not dated).
The DB2 stayed in the USA until brought back to Europe in the early 1990s by an Aston Martin collector who commissioned a 'ground upwards' bodywork restoration aimed at preserving as much of the car's originality as possible. To this end the interior was painstakingly reconditioned rather than re-trimmed, and as a result has a delightful patina. The restoration was carried out in Italy in 2011/2013 by Massimo Chiara, a former employee of Carrozzeria Bertone, who has restored cars for the Bertone Collection. Mr Chiara's book documenting the restoration is available. At the same time the engine and mechanicals were overhauled by renowned UK-based marque specialists Trinity Engineering, as listed in their detailed invoice for £13,352 on file.
Following completion, the Aston was exhibited at numerous concours events, attracting much favourable attention, and has received an ASI Gold Plate. The vendor describes this rare LHD Vantage DB2 as in excellent condition both mechanically and cosmetically. Accompanying documentation consists of a copy of the guarantee form, assorted correspondence, FIVA Identity Card, and current Dutch registration papers.