1955 Aston Martin DB2
Year of manufacture1955
Ordered new by King Baudouin of Belgium
1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 3.0-Litre Sports Saloon
Chassis no. LML/785
Engine no. VB6J/236
"The Aston Martin DB2/4 is an expensive car designed to cater for the connoisseur of sports cars who is not limited by financial considerations." - Autocar, 2nd October 1953.
With the introduction of the '2+2' DB2/4 in October 1953, Aston Martin extended the DB2's appeal to the hitherto untapped yet increasingly important market comprised of 'sports car enthusiasts with a family'. By modifying the rear of the chassis and reducing the fuel tank capacity from 19 to 17 gallons, Aston's engineers liberated sufficient space within the existing design for two child-sized occasional rear seats. Alternatively, the rear seat backs could be folded down, thus creating a load-carrying platform that more than doubled the luggage space. The latter could be accessed via the 2/4's opening rear door, a pioneering example of the now commonplace 'hatchback' concept.
"This transformation gives the Aston Martin DB2/4 an unrivalled luggage-carrying capacity in a car which should be capable in favourable circumstances of achieving two miles a minute," reported The Motor. "The DB2/4 can truthfully claim to be the fastest car in the world capable of carrying two people with a month's luggage."
In addition, a raised roofline, one-piece windscreen, larger bumpers and other detail styling changes differentiated the newcomer from its predecessor. Otherwise, the DB2/4 remained much the same as the DB2, employing the latter's rectangular-tube chassis, trailing arm independent front suspension and well-located live rear axle. Bodies were supplied by Mulliners of Birmingham until the advent of the MkII version in October 1955, when Tickford - recently acquired by Aston Martin's owner, David Brown - took over.
Designed at Lagonda by Willy Watson, under the supervision of W O Bentley, the 2.6-litre, six-cylinder, twin-cam power unit came in tuned (125bhp) Vantage specification as standard for the 2/4. Despite this, the redesign's inevitable weight gain was not fully compensated for until the arrival of the 3.0-litre, 140bhp engine in 1954. The DB2/4's top speed was now 118mph with 60mph reachable in around 11 seconds, making it one of the fastest British-built cars of the day. In total, 565 of all types had been produced by the time the MkII version arrived in October 1955
The DB2/4 we offer was supplied new in February 1955 to His Majesty King Baudouin of Belgium. Copy build details on file record that the car was delivered via Mannes, the Aston Martin concessionaire in Belgium, and originally was finished in Imperial Crimson with beige Connolly hide upholstery. Accompanying photographs depict King Baudouin with his brother, the future King Albert II, and it is interesting to note the French diplomatic plates; it seems that all members of the Belgian royal family used these and that their cars were always delivered to the Paris embassy, possibly for security reasons.
Completely restored to original specification between 2001 and 2008, 'LML/785' was purchased by the current owner at Bonhams' Paris sale in February 2011 (Lot 324), since when the car has been maintained within his private collection, seeing relatively little use. In May 2019 the Aston was treated to a major service at Esdar Klassische Fahrzeuge in Bielefeld, Germany, which also included overhauling the braking system and fitted new tyres (bill on file). In October 2019 the car was driven from Frankfurt to the Zoute concours and back again, covering some 1,000 kilometres without missing a beat. 'On the button' and ready to use, this historic Aston Martin DB2/4 is offered with German registration papers and the aforementioned records.