1956 Aston Martin DB2
Year of manufacture1956
Number of seats2
1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupé
Coachwork by Tickford
Chassis no. AM300/1241
The need to widen the appeal of the already-successful DB2 resulted in the launch in October 1953 of the 2+2 DB2/4. Extensive revisions to the car's rear end arrangements made room for two occasional seats and more luggage, the latter being accessed via a hatchback rear door, one of this now-common feature's earliest applications. 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. The W O Bentley-designed, 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-litre, 140bhp engine in 1954. The car's top speed was now 118mph (190km/h) with 60mph (97km/h) reached in around 11 seconds.
David Brown's acquisition of Tickford Ltd in 1953 led to bodywork for the revised MkII model, launched at the London Motor Show in October 1955, being manufactured by the Newport Pagnell coachbuilder. For the first time there was a third body type on offer: a fixed-head coupé in 'notch back' style. Very attractive, the latter afforded accommodation similar to that of the drophead version but was priced the same as the three-door sports saloon.
While mechanically very little different from its predecessor, the DB2/4 MkII was readily identifiable by its subtly altered lines, the most significant change being a ¾" increase in roof height that afforded greater headroom. Flashing indicators and discreet tail fins made an appearance, as did chromed trim strips running from the front wheelarch tops to the door shuts, below which the bonnet sides were now fixed, thus lightening the bonnet assembly. Interior improvements included better seats and a proper fly-off handbrake. The Aston six had been enlarged from 2.6 to 3.0 litres part way through production of the DB2/4 MkI and continued unchanged in the MkII, though a special series VB6J engine suffixed 'L' or 'L1' producing 165bhp was available as an option. Of the 199 DB2/4 MkIIs produced up to October 1957, saloons accounted for the majority, with 24 built as drophead coupés, 34 as fixed-head coupés and four supplied as chassis only.
One of the 34 fixed-head coupés made, 16 of which were delivered in the UK, the car we offer is one of the rarest and thus most desirable of all post-war Aston Martins. Chassis number 'AM300/1241' was delivered on 22nd November 1956 to the well-known Aston Martin/Lagonda agent, Brooklands of Bond Street and subsequently was purchased by Ashtons Development, a steel fabrications company based in Essex. Special features included non-polished aluminium castings, a wood-rim steering wheel and striking two-tone livery of Ice Blue with Peacock Blue hardtop and blue-grey interior, all of which the car retains today. The AMOC Register lists the original UK registration as 'ULM 333', though it should be noted that the car was pictured in Australia carrying 'ULH 33' (see press cutting on file).
The accompanying logbook records the next owner (from February 1960) as a Mr Maurice Goldman, an Essex resident who kept the Aston for some 20 months, selling it in October 1961 to Mr Anthony Percival Amato of London. Over the course of approximately the next 17 years the car passed through the hands of four owners in the UK before being sold to Australian resident Christopher A Green in April 1978. The AMOC Register records '1241' as winning a 1st place concours award at the Australian National Rally, Shepperton in 1982 and lists only one other owner in Australia P de Janko who entered it in the Melbourne Classic Car Show in 1987, winning another 1st place award.
Brought back to Europe via the Houtekamp Collection in 2010 and purchased subsequently by the immediately preceding owner, the Aston is believed to have undergone a full restoration in Australia, appearing very presentable and possessing a nice patina. Since its purchase by the current vendor in 2014, '1241' has been kept in dry storage. At time of acquisition it was reported that all the gauges were fully functioning and that the car started easily, ran strongly and tracked well. Only minimal re-commissioning should be required before returning it to the road.
A significant addition to any important private collection, this example of a most desirable 'factory coachbuilt' Aston Martin is offered with tool kit, sundry service invoices, an old Australian registration document and Netherlands customs papers.