1957 Aston Martin DB2
Year of manufacture1957
Number of seats2
Formerly the property of Richard Attwood
1957 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Saloon
Registration no. ULC 432
Chassis no. AM300/1211
Engine no. VB6J/834/L1
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, with 60mph 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. 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.
Sold new in September 1957 via Brooklands of Bond Street to a Mr Bemrose, this DB2/4 MkII formerly belonged to Richard Attwood, the ex-Formula 1 driver and Le Mans winner. Born in 1940, Attwood began racing in 1960 driving a Triumph TR3 and was recruited by F1 team BRM following a succession of good results in Formula 2. Somehow, and despite his undoubted talent, the right drive never materialised in F1, and sports car racing became Richard's main priority. He struck up a fruitful relationship with David Piper, sharing the latter's Ferraris and securing a number of podium finishes in World Sportscar Championship events, and was instrumental in developing the Ford GT40. In 1969 he signed for the Porsche factory, usually being paired with fellow Brit Vic Elford, with whom he shared a 908 and then a 917. Driving a 917LH, the pair led for much of the 1969 Le Mans 24-Hour Race only to be forced into retirement by a gearbox failure with only two hours remaining.
The crowning achievement of his career came in 1970 when, teamed with Hans Hermann in a works 917K, he won the coveted endurance classic at La Sarthe. The same driver pairing finished in second place the following year, again driving a Porsche 917 but this time for John Wyer, and following a win at the Zeltweg 1,000km Attwood retired from motor sport at the end of the 1971 season. He made a brief reappearance as part of the Aston Martin Nimrod project in 1984 and then retired from front line racing for good. Today, Richard remains actively involved in historic motor sports and is a frequent visitor to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and other prestigious events.
Richard acquired this DB2/4 in March 1982, by which time it had already had some eight owners. Chassis number 'AM300/1211' is fitted with engine number 'VB6J/834/L/1', the 'L/1' suffix denoting that this is a special series unit equipped with larger valves and higher lift camshafts, developing 165bhp. The car was also equipped with a twin exhaust system.
The current vendor purchased the DB2/4 when Richard offered it for sale at Bonhams' auction at Aston Martin Works Service in May 2008 (Lot 339). 'ULC 432' had not been run for 30-or-so years prior to sale in 2008 and since acquisition has been converted to left-hand drive and repainted. Sold strictly as viewed, the car comes with copy guarantee form, two old-style logbooks, old-style V5 registration document and two expired MoTs for the period 1975-1977.
Should the vehicle remain in the EU, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.