Aston Martin has a long and illustrious history of sporting success, which was mirrored by a long history of financial struggles and close encounters with the receivers. After the successful “Bertelli” days prior to WWII, the firm’s post-war resurgence took some time to get underway as they were short on cash and resources to fully develop a fresh car for the new era. It took the arrival of Yorkshire industrialist David Brown to not only get Aston Martin back on its feet, but to fully establish it as a world-class sports car manufacturer. Pre-war Astons were little more than thinly disguised racers sold to select clients to fund the racing team, but post war buyers were demanding more, and thankfully, with David Brown’s much needed injection of cash, Aston Martin could now deliver. Brown came to Aston with more than just money, however. He also brought Lagonda, who had previously acquired the services of W.O. Bentley following his fallout with Rolls-Royce. Bentley’s magnificent twin-cam inline six, originally destined for Lagonda, would form the foundation of Aston’s recovery and subsequent success.
Aston’s first proper post-war car was the DB1, officially known as the “Two Litre Sports”. It proved to be a false start with only a handful built before the arrival of the modern and properly developed DB2. The DB2 featured a slick new fully-enveloped aluminum alloy body designed by Frank Feeley, as well as a shortened version of the tubular chassis from the DB1 and Lagonda’s delectable 2.6 liter twin-cam inline six, which was designed by W.O. Bentley and William Watson. The DB2 was a tremendous success for Aston Martin, with the works racing cars continuing Aston’s pre-war success on track at LeMans, Spa and at home at events like the RAC Tourist Trophy. After several prototypes were built and successfully campaigned on track, road car production began in 1950, with 410 examples built over the next three years. The majority of those cars wore the fixed head coupe coachwork, while just 98 left the works in drophead coupe form. Of those, just a handful remain and are highly sought after by enthusiasts.
We are very pleased to offer this handsome 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Drophead, serial number LML/50/217. One of very few surviving examples, this car has been fully restored by a noted enthusiast and presents in a striking combination of silver over a red interior. According to the BMIHT Heritage Certificate, it was originally a left-drive export model delivered new to the USA. At some point in its life it was converted to right drive for home-market use. The most recent owner, who is an experienced restorer, collector and racer, acquired the DB2 in the early 2000s and comprehensive restoration took place with a great deal of the meticulous work performed by the owner himself. Starting with what was a very sound car, the alloy bodywork was carefully restored with great care paid to preserving the original panels, which were then painted an attractive bright silver. The DB2’s shape did not rely on heavy chrome accents, but the limited brightwork (door handles, lamps, bumper trims and miscellaneous fittings) has all been very well restored and presents in beautiful condition. The DB2 sits on proper painted wire wheels, shod with correct 6.00-16 Dunlop Roadspeed tires.
Contrasting the silver body is a vibrant red interior, fully restored to a high standard. The seats and door cards are trimmed in bright red hides, with complementing red Wilton carpets, all piped in gray. The leather presents in very good condition, remaining beautiful with slightly mellowed character since the restoration. Wood trim adorns the door tops, steering wheel rim and instrument cluster, all of which is beautifully restored and finished. Gauges and switchgear are correct and in fine order. Behind the seats, the parcel shelf includes a custom fitted suitcase in matching red leather - allowing enough room for a weekend getaway. A new top was fitted in black canvas and trimmed in red piping to provide a subtle contrast against the silver body. With the top down, a red leather boot can be fitted to cover the soft top.
The impressive presentation continues when the clamshell bonnet it opened, revealing the polished cam covers and bright red cylinder head of W.O. Bentley’s twin-cam inline six. The engine, which is a slightly later replacement in correct specification, has been fully detailed yet remains a strong runner that delivers excellent performance. One of the best features of the Lagonda-sourced engine is the sharp, raspy exhaust note that is only enhanced when the roof is folded. Aston Martin cleverly packaged the jack and wheel tools under the bonnet, all of which are present and have been correctly restored to the same meticulous standard as the rest of this fine car.
All of the effort put into the restoration paid off in the form of a Best in Class at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2008, as well as an AACA Senior National First Prize in 2008, which was backed up with a Grand National First Prize in 2010 and a Best in Show at the 2015 Keels and Wheels. The car has also been shown and taken home class wins at numerous other events including the Hilton Head Concours, Meadowbrook, The Glenmoor Gathering and Keenland Concours. Since its restoration, the DB2 has been used gently and maintained in very fine condition throughout. The sale includes factory parts books and workshop manual, along with copies of original factory literature and a British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate. This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire a very fine example of the landmark car that set Aston Martin on the path to greatness.