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1955 Aston Martin DB2/4
Historic Cars

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THE REIGN OF THE DB At the end of the Second World War, many car manufacturers were in serious financial difficulties. Aston Martin's survival was a miracle, thanks to the enthusiasm of a wealthy English industrialist and tractor manufacturer, David Brown. He bought the company in 1947 and in 1948 put the company back on the road to glory with an unexpected victory in the 24 Hours of Spa. A new era began for Aston Martin, under the reign of the D.B... Martin, as in Lionel Martin, who created his company in 1922, and Aston, in reference to the Aston-Hilton race he won in 1913. This shows that the origins of the brand have always been linked to motor racing. Today, we like to talk about Aston, as a shortcut, but also as a reminder that its creator did not remain attached to his automobile adventure for long. With the Atom prototype developed in 1939, Claude Hill invented a tubular structure of the chassis-shell type (ancestor of the space-frame) with a swing arm suspension and coil springs at the front and a rigid axle with coil springs at the rear. Put aside during the war, the car was reborn as a "2-liter sport" with a redesigned body. This model would later become the very first "DB" in history and frequently referred to as the DB1. Shortly after Brown bought the Lagonda company, W.O. Bentley, former Bentley founder hired by Aston Martin in 1931, took a well-deserved retirement, after having directed the development of the model that would sign Aston Martin's great return to the forefront: the DB2. DB2 The DB2 is much more modern in design than the DB1. First of all, the convertible is abandoned in favor of a closed coupe shape like the DB Mark II prototype entered at Le Mans. This streamlined coupe with its fastback rear end marks its arrival with a strong participation in the 24H du Mans 1949. 6 cars are on the starting line, including 3 by the factory itself. Its aluminium bodywork, designed by Frank Feeley, was inspired by the best Farina creations of the time. Moreover, it was designed in relation with Touring in Milan then built by Mulliner. After having produced 49 examples, one notices a new grille in the shape of inverted T, formed of only one opening as on the DB3-S of 1954, instead of the 3 chromed elements of the DB1, and which will remain the official signature of Aston even today. Compared to its rivals of the time, Ferrari 212, Jaguar XK, Bristol 401, the Aston Martin has nothing to be ashamed of and its high price reflects the ambitions of the brand. The warm welcome it received at its official presentation in April 1950 was exceptional, and obviously the car's great similarity to the one entered at Le Mans was no stranger to this. The Aston Martin DB2 directly inherits the chassis created for the Atom. The body is fixed on a chassis made of a rectangular tube structure. Note that the DB2 is also available as a convertible (or Drop Head Coupe), which will account for a quarter of total sales of the model. The four large drums brakes and the 16" wheels with spokes are the attributes of a car of its time. The build quality is also remarkable. Conolly leather upholstery, wooden dashboard, delicately applied chrome. Already at Aston Martin sport rhymes with elegance. The new Aston DB2 inaugurates an evolution of the engine developed at Lagonda (also owned by Brown) by engineer Willie Wilson under the supervision of W.O.Bentley. The 2.6-liter in-line 6-cylinder engine with double overhead camshafts delivers 105 hp at 5,000 rpm and 180 Nm of torque from 2,750 rpm. A power that allows already remarkable performances to this coupe weighing just over 1100 Kg. Depending on the gear ratio chosen, the beautiful English car accelerates from 0 to 96 km/h in 11.2 seconds and runs at 190 km/h. For the needs of the Sarthe race, the power of the 6-cylinder 2.6L was boosted to 123 hp by a modified cylinder head and larger carburetors. In January 1951, a special version of the DB2 called Vantage was added to the range. With the 123 horsepower of the race car, it attracted the attention of many customers who saw its potential on the racetrack or in rallies. DB2/4 At that time, the competition between sports car manufacturers became more intense than ever. Year after year, the level of performance is raised! So much so that the Feltham-based company had to optimize its model. Moreover, David Brown thinks that a sports car that has practical aspects should be able to find a wider clientele. An improved version of the DB2, called DB2/4, arrived at the London Motor Show in 1953 with many improvements. Externally, the headlights were positioned higher, and the turn signals were moved to the bottom. The wheelbase was lengthened by 18 cm and the roofline was also redesigned to offer 2 additional seats, with folding backrests. The DB2 becomes a 2+2 (or 2/4 seater in English) and, even if these seats are not spacious at all, the car is called "family saloon" in the commercial brochures. The new rear hatch facilitates the access to luggage and the loading volume, thus showing itself to be very innovative compared to the classic sports coupes. There are a few rare creations signed Bertone (3 spiders, 1 berlinetta) or Allemano, with a very different design. The engine, on the other hand, is not new, except for a power increased to 125 hp as standard, which barely compensates for the higher weight. But from 1954 the 6-cylinder engine gains in volume and reaches now 2922 cm3 by increasing the bore (83 mm) for a power of 142 hp. The DB2/4 reaches the symbolic 200 km/h mark and is thus positioned among the best sports cars of the moment. In a Europe of free speed, the Aston Martin seduces wealthy gentlemen ready to spend 3 and a half million francs (in 1955) to buy this jewel. A financial effort that was rewarded as soon as the 6-cylinder engine was started up, with its raucous, metallic sound that enlivened the driving experience. Moreover, although firmly suspended, the DB2 proves to be a GT before its time, smooth and reliable as well as fun to drive. DB2/4 MK II & MK III From 1955, the DB2/4 is assembled at Tickford in Newport Pagnell. A short-lived version called "Fixed Head Coupé" made an appearance that was contested by its line, and in 1958 Aston abandoned it and the MK III replaced it. This version was the last evolution based on the Atom chassis with the engine designed by W.O. Bentley. In 1958, the company moves to the Tickford factory which is integrated into the group and in October, David Brown presents the replacement of the DB2, the DB4, which marks the final stop of the model in July 1959. PRODUCTION ASTON MARTIN DB2 DB2: 309 coupés, 100 cabriolets DB2/4 MKI : 492 coupés, 73 cabriolets DB2/4 MKII : 141 coupés, 24 cabriolets, 34 fixed head coupés DB2/4 MKIII : 551 units CONCLUSION Produced for 9 years, the Aston Martin DB2 is the concretization of David Brown's passion for high quality sports cars. The DB2 will remain as the ambassador of the great return of the firm to the international level, which after having been close to bankruptcy after the war will continue its ascent to the top of the emerging category of "Grand Tourism". For the fanatics of the brand, it remains the best lineage of Aston, the one which privileged the sport to the comfort. Delivered new by the Aston Martin importer in France Mirabeau Garage to M PAGAZY who lived 250 rue de Rivoli on 06-01-1955. Our Aston is produced in a seducing Grey color with a Red interior its first registration is 1250 DM 75. The car is then registered to Levesque and then Hue, before the current owner bought it 20 years ago in 2003, when it was owned by Patrick Peter since 1999. Still equipped with its original 3L engine block (VB6J), it has been very well maintained mechanically during its almost 20 years. The car has had an engine rebuilt in 2006 and again in 2012 at Dorset, a power steering system installed in 2014, and an engine overhaul in 2018-19. The car has always been used regularly in major rallies such as the Tour Auto, the Automobile Club de France rallies, the Coupe des Alpes and the Rallye de Paris. Ready to be driven, it is only waiting for its new owner to drive it on the roads of Europe again.