1953 Aston Martin DB2
Year of manufacture1953
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupé
Chassis no. LML/50/289
Engine no. VB6B/50/1149
Aston Martin owner David Brown's 1947 acquisition of Lagonda made the latter's Willie Watson-designed, twin-overhead-camshaft, 2.6-litre six available for a new sports car: the DB2. (This power unit is commonly referred to as 'the Bentley engine', W O Bentley having been Lagonda's Chief Engineer at the time.) 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 sports car 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: 98 of them dropheads.
This DB2 drophead's guarantee form (copy on file) shows that it was built with the more powerful (125bhp-plus) VB6B 'Vantage' engine and left the factory in left-hand drive configuration. The original colour scheme was Silver Green with beige leather interior. The DB2 was destined for the USA, being delivered to the Arnolt distributorship in February 1953. Its first owner was J.J. Calvillo, Esq of Ferndale, Michigan. Offered today from long-term storage, and subject to EU import taxes, this rare and highly desirable British classic will require an element of recommissioning prior to road use.