Aston Martin endured many turbulent years and dramatic highs and lows throughout much of its existence. From its founding by Anthony Bamford and Lionel Martin, the company had no trouble producing successful racing cars but always struggled to keep the business afloat. In the late 1940s, Aston Martin emerged from the depths of World War II with yet another new owner at the helm. A period of long-term stability finally arrived in 1947 when industrialist David Brown acquired Aston Martin for just £20,500. He set to work rescuing Aston, adding Lagonda to his growing portfolio, specifically to get their superb 2.6-litre twin-cam inline-six from the drawing board of none other than W.O. Bentley.
Officially, the Aston 2-litre Sports was the first of the “DB” series and was retroactively known as the “DB1.” However, it was the six-cylinder DB2 that established David Brown’s legacy and set the stage for Aston Martin’s unprecedented success throughout the coming decades. Brown planned to steer Aston Martin away from thinly disguised racing cars and into the far more lucrative market for grand touring sports cars. After a rocky start with the 2-Litre Sports, Aston hit its stride when a cut-down version of the sports chassis was married to the Lagonda inline-six, topped with W.O. Bentley’s twin overhead-cam cylinder head. Frank Feeley created a handsome and modern body design, with ideal GT proportions of a long bonnet and a tapering fastback roof. There was good stowage space behind the seats and on the later DB2/4, an innovative hatchback design. The DB2 proved its worth in competition and later begat the highly successful DB3 and DB3S sports racers. But most importantly, it established Aston Martin as a leader in a hotly contested market and paved the way for some of the most desirable and memorable Grand Tourers of the 1950s and 1960s.
Chassis LML/50/95 is a superb example of an early DB2, beautifully presented with a high-quality restoration. Copies of the Works Service chassis card show it was delivered new on March 4, 1952, to David Gaunt, Esq. of Leeds, finished in “Steel Dust” with grey Connolly Vaumol hides, and registered HKW 666. It returned to the Works Service Department regularly for maintenance, and records show the factory updated it to the latest high-performance Vantage specification in late March/early April of 1953. The updates included fitting larger carburetors, new cams, and high-compression pistons, boosting peak power from 105 bhp to a handy 125 bhp. In addition to the service records, copies of the original registration log books track the ownership history through the early 1980s, noting the car had been repainted red sometime in the early 1970s.
In 1980, while in the care of Tim Gregory, Esq., the car received a thorough mechanical overhaul and engine rebuild by Aston Service Dorset. In 1985, it was acquired by R.S. McCouat of Somerset. He later embarked on a comprehensive, multi-year nut-and-bolt restoration, returning the car to its correct original specifications, which he completed in 2000. In 2001, McCouat showed the freshly completed DB2 at the AMOC Concours d’Elegance, where it handily won its class and was promoted to the club’s “Elite Class.”
Since its restoration, LML/50/95 has been impeccably maintained by devoted enthusiasts and presents today in outstanding condition. In current ownership since 2015, it has enjoyed expert care and maintenance while in a significant private collection. The Steel Dust gray paintwork is excellent and is beautifully accented with correct early-style bumper, correct brightwork, and gorgeous chrome knock-off wheels fitted with high-performance Michelin Pilote X tires. The doors open with a feeling of assured quality and reveal a cozy, beautifully trimmed cockpit featuring grey leather, matching Wilton carpets, and burgundy dash, door caps, and piping. The leather is lightly broken-in, displaying an appealing and inviting character that encourages regular use. Ancillaries and details are to factory-correct standards, including the Smiths instruments, three-spoke steering wheel, and Lucas switchgear. Once settled in, the cabin is comfortable, with generous space behind the front seats for touring and a reprinted owner’s manual. Accompanying documents include parts and restoration receipts, copies of original registration books, parts book, service manual, and FIVA Identity Card.
Tipping up the clamshell bonnet reveals the beautifully-detailed 2.6-litre twin-cam inline-six. The engine number matches the chassis card, and the engine compartment is authentically detailed with a bias toward driving enjoyment. With a push of the starter button, the ‘six comes to life with an addictive bark from the exhaust. As offered, this LML/50/95 would be the perfect entry into a wide range of pre-57 driving events, where the power, refinement, and comfort are fully appreciated.
The DB2 set the stage for Aston Martin’s postwar revival, and this fabulous coupe exemplifies all that made the DB series so appealing. Boasting excellent history and a fastidiously maintained restoration, it is sure to provide many years of motoring joy.
Offers welcome and trades considered