1950 Aston Martin DB2 Drophead Coupé
Aston Martin's first successful post-war production car was the DB2. It used engineering principles from both Aston Martin and Lagonda after David Brown purchased both companies in 1947. It became the first successful David Brown Aston Martin and set a trend for many more incredible cars. Not long after introduction, Aston offered the Drophead Coupé variant of which only 98 were ordered.
Equiped with an impressive list of features, the Aston Martin could be considered the best British sports car available in 1950. Laurence Pomeroy wrote for Motor in October 1950 “It would appear that every so often the gods pass over some works or another and with an inclination of the head inspire the production of a car with outstanding virtues. The Aston Martin DB2 stands worthy in the pedigree of real motor cars stretching back through the 4 ½ Bentley to the 30/98 Vauxhall.”
Engineering for the DB2 was first set out with the 2-Litre Sports Aston Martin's first post-war sports car. It had a tubular steel chassis and distinctive two-seat tourer body designed by Frank Freeley. Engineer Ted Cutting shortened the this chassis and fitted Lagonda's highly acclaimed 2.3 liter engine. A highlight was the four-wheel coil-spring suspension and a well braced chassis with triangulation and upper side-rails.
Some of the very first DB2s were prepared for the track. Three interim models were entered for the first post-war 24 hours of LeMans in 1949. Unfortunately, disaster struck, and a fatal crash that killed works driver Pierre Marechal. Soon after LeMans race, a production DB2 was launched at the New York Motor show.
Production versions were very similar to the works racing cars which had a Lagonda 2.6 liter engine, an improved DB1 space frame, stressed aluminum bodywork and the same overall appearance.
During its release at the 1950 New York motor show, the DB2 offered performance of a Lemans race car with the comforts of a highway tourer. The only car British car offering similar performance during that period was the affordable Jaguar XK120. This caught the attention of visitors to the show and 100 cars were ordered during the car's launch.
Phil Hill tested one of the cars and said “the Aston handles as well as any sports car I’ve driven, far better than any passenger car…the DB2 handles like a dream and is a lot of fun to drive.”
During a three year production run DB2s sold as fast as Aston Martin could produce them. A total of 339 coupes and 102 drop head were manufactured. In later years, Aston offered a more potent Vantage version and the DB2/4, a longer more spacious car which had a boot and two rear seats.
The DB2, in all its forms, was replaced by the DB4 launched in 1959. Leading up to the DB4, the DB2 was enlarged into the DB2/4 and Drophead Coupés were offered on all examples.
Story by Richard Owen
Auction Sales History
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupé LML/50/373 - sold for $341,000
One of Only 19 Lef t-Hand-Drive DB2 Vantage Dropheads. Fascinating New England Provenance. Exceptionally Original Condition Throughout. Matching-Numbers Chassis, Engine, and Bodywork. Off the Road from 1965 to 2013; Just 38,600 Miles from New. Sympathetic Mechanical Restoration by Marque Specialist Kevin Kay. Offered with Spare 2.9-Litre Engine and Gearbox. Complete with Books, Documents, and Literature. A Must for the Serious Aston Martin ... read more
Auction Source: Gooding & Company’s 10th Anniversary 2013 Pebble Beach Auction
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupé LML/50/366 - sold for €227,360
Offered from the Collection of a Swiss Gentleman. One of only 98 DB2 Drophead Coupés built. One of about 75 original LHD cars. Restoration to factory specification in Switzerland, 2007/8. Vantage specification.
Immediately upon purchase the car was imported to Switzerland where restoration commenced, including an engine rebuild, repainting and re-trimming in the original colours. As offered, LML/50/366 is complete with a copy of its origina... read more
Auction Source: 2011 London Auction by RM
1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupé LML/50/397 - sold for €166,275
This, then, is the family pedigree of this Vantage-powered DHC from 1952, chassis LML/50/397, which is one of only about 100 examples built. It was sold new by Brooklands of Bond Street, London and was acquired by the current owner in 1975. The prior owner acquired it in France as a true barn find, bearing a French licence plate ending in “75,” indicating it was formerly registered in Paris. In 1998 its restoration commenced, and in 2005 it wa... read more
Auction Source: 2011 Salon Privé Auction by RM
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupe LML50376 - did not sell for $245,000
As offered, LML/50/376 continues to benefit from a complete body-off-frame restoration by Hyannis Restoration of Massachusetts, which was comprehensively freshened just recently. The DB2 is visually striking in its Fiesta Red exterior finish, complemented by grey leather upholstery with red piping, red carpeting and a black cloth top by Johan Merkhofer. Vantage Motorworks of Connecticut rebuilt the factory-fitted Vantage-specification DOHC six... read more
Auction Source: 2011 Automobiles of Arizona by RM Auctions
1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupé LML/50/223 - did not sell for €177,180
One of 98 DB2 drophead coupés built between 1949-53. First registered as NGO 633 on 21 October, 1952. Upgraded to Vantage specification by Aston Martin Works in 1953. Fully documented, including original build sheet.
The car is now finished in light British Racing Green with a tan canvas top, matching leather interior and new chrome wire wheels. A complete and very high quality restoration was carried out in Australia prior to the car being... read more
Auction Source: 2010 Automobiles of London by RM Auctions
1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupe LML50340 - sold for $363,000
Remaining in excellent overall condition, this Aston is finished in British Racing Green and is fitted with a tan leather interior that is nicely accented with green piping and the proper green carpets. Equipped with a desirable four-speed manual transmission, this car also features chrome knock-off wire wheels, a tan top and boot and benefits from professional detailing both inside and out.
Exceptionally maintained in climate-controlled st... read more
Auction Source: RM Auctions' 2010 Sports & Classics of Monterey