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Aston Martin DB2: Buying guide and review (1950-1953)

Aston Martin DB2 Aston Martin DB2 Aston Martin DB2
Taking over from the rather more old-fashioned 2-Litre Sports, the Aston Martin DB2 represented the first of the traditional coupe body shape for the David Brown-owned company. Despite a production run of only 14, the Aston Martin 2-litre Sports – now known as the DB1 – was fundamental to the marque’s future, as its Claude Hill-designed square-tube chassis became the basis of all models until 1958 including the DB2. 
The classic coupé styling that defined the Gran Turismo ethos in the DB2 – first seen in prototype form at Le Mans in 1949 – was penned by Frank Feeley. Thanks to Brown's takeover of Lagonda in 1949, the Aston Martin was fitted with a very advanced 2.6-litre straight-six engine, featuring a double overhead camshaft arrangement as used in Lagondas. Based on a design from William Watson and WO Bentley, the engine was a revelation when compared to the uninspiring pushrod unit fitted to the previous model.
Launched at the 1950 New York Auto Show, the DB2 – with its beautiful aluminium-formed coachwork and innovative forward-folding bonnet – immediately impressed, and a production run of more than 400 of both coupé and drophead amply confirmed the new model’s popularity. Higher performance was available in the Vantage variant, with its raised engine compression ratio and power output of 125bhp.
Some even say that the low weight of the DB2 makes it the much more sporty car than its considerably heavier successors. 

Which one to buy?

A total of 411 DB2 models were built by Aston Martin, with the vast majority of models coming out of the factory as two-door saloons (a total of 309). The remaining examples are mostly drop head coupes, which offer an open-air experience. Five DB2s were sent to Graber of Switzerland for special bodies. Rather than the aluminium body panels of the regular cars, Graber used steel in the production of its convertible models, making them a fair amount heavier than the regular alloy cars. 
All DB2s feel fairly sprightly, but if you want more significant performance then find an example fitted with the higher-compression Vantage-spec engine, which will hit 121mph. If you’re looking to take your DB2 racing, then this is the version you will want to find. As production went on, the DB2 became more luxurious, and focused on comfort rather than outright performance, so take this into consideration when browsing the classifieds. 
Responding to the DB2 issues of cabin space and lack of storage capacity was the DB2/4, nominally a very occasional four-seater but with increased luggage space, an innovative rear hatch and the engine now in Vantage tune. Production figures of 565 in two years, and in Mk2 form a further 199, confirmed the rightness of the approach. But it was the final DB2 flowering in the Mk3 that became the most desirable. It had front disc brakes, optional overdrive, 162bhp on tap – giving a top speed of 117mph – and glorious styling, with handling to match. That meant the price rose to just over £3000 for 550 very fortunate first owners, who included one James Bond in Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger novel.

Performance and specs

Engine 2580cc, straight–six
Power 105bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 125lb ft @ 3100rpm
Top speed 116mph
0-60mph 11.2secs
Fuel consumption approx 20mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 2515mm
Length 4128mm
Width 1651mm
Height 1359mm
Weight 1112kg

Common problems

• The engines are very strong, and relatively unstrained in the DB2, and problems are unlikely in a well-maintained example. Check for oil pressure above 50psi when the engine has warmed up.
• Headgaskets are prone to leakage due to liner issues and very fine tolerances. Check for mayonnaise in the oil, showing that oil and water has mixed.
• If the engine requires a rebuild, an expert must do it, as setting up the liners is a very tricky job, while getting parts can be very tricky.
• It is vital that you check the chassis number and engine number against Aston Martin’s official records, as it is not unusual for cars to have received replacement engines in the past. This might affect future values, so be vigilant. 
• The front suspension, an independent coil spring and trailing arm arrangement, requires frequent attention. If neglected, it will require an expensive rebuild.
• Check the condition of the interior. If you’re planning a full restoration, it pays to find a car with a complete interior, and while things like seats and dashboards can usually be repaired, finding spares can be almost impossible. 

Model history 

1949: Three prototype DB2 coupes entered into the Le Mans 24 Hours
April 1950: Production DB2 unveiled to the public
Late 1950: Drophead Coupe version introduced
January 1951: 125bhp Vantage-spec engine introduced
1952: Brake drums widened to improve performance
April 1953: Production of the DB2 ends, as the DB2/4 is introduced

Owners clubs, forums and websites

www.amoc.orgAston Martin Owners Club and forum
www.amocna.orgNorth American-based owners club

Summary and prices

While the DB2 is the most valuable of all the pre-DB4 standard road cars, it still represents fantastic value when compared against the later models. An above-average two-door saloon is likely to set you back around £250,000. More average examples come in at between £150,000-£200,000. If you’re looking for a restoration project, which is often the best value, you should be looking at something in the £100,000 range. 
As with most Astons, the convertible model is worth considerably more money. The best drophead coupe can cost in excess of £350,000. A restoration project could potentially be picked up from £120,000. Budget around £180,000 for a runner, with an average car fetching upwards of £250,000.
Aston Martin DB2 Aston Martin DB2 Aston Martin DB2
Last updated: 6th Sep 2016
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Aston Martin DB2 cars for sale

4 Search results
Aston Martin DB2
151450 151450 GBP
  • 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupe

    £151,450 £151,450

    1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupe s/n LML/50/302, Engine no. VB6B/50/1126 Light Blue Metallic with Dark Blue Leather Interior Aston Martin’s first successful postwar car, the DB2 represented significant advancements over the 2-liter sports (also referred to as the DB1). In place of the four cylinder pushrod motor of the 2-liter sports, the DB2 utilized a sophisticated 2.6 liter twin overhead cam inline-6 designed by none other than W.O. Bentley. Bentley originally designed the powerplant for Lagonda, and it was specifically to acquire this engine that David Brown purchased Lagonda in 1947, creating a pairing that is now one of motoring’s legendary names: Aston Martin Lagonda. Brown had also purchased Aston Martin in 1947, and the DB2 was the first result of his vision when he purchased the two companies. The car also laid the groundwork for the series of now legendary DB Astons. The DB2 possessed excellent roadholding and braking ability, and was very much a contender for Britain’s best sports car at the time, with the only credible threat coming from the Jaguar XK120. Indeed, Aston achieved racing success with the model in coupe form, entering a trio of DB2s at the 1950

    • Year: 1952
    • Mileage: 21244 mi
    For sale
    Fantasy Junction
    +1 510 653 7555 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Aston Martin DB2 'Washboard'


    Mayfair 020 7125 1400 | Maldon 01621 879579 1950 Aston Martin DB2 ‘Washboard’. 1 of only 50 examples built. Almond Green with Green Hide and carpets, delivered new to Australia, period race history. Subject of a total body off restoration in Australia. Extensive 2000 hour concours detailing including a full re-paint and engine out engine bay detailing by JD Classics in 2015 culminating in a class award at Pebble Beach concours. One of the best early DB2’s in existence. Please contact for further details.

    • Year: 1950
    For sale
  • 1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Project


    The DB2 debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950 and continued in production until April 1953, by which time 411 had been made. The first 49 had a chrome-framed front grille in three separate parts, and large rectangular cooling vents in the front wings. Subsequent cars had a one-piece grille with horizontal chrome slats, and no side vents. The single-piece bonnet was hinged at the front. At the rear of the fixed-head coupé (FHC) a small top-hinged lid gave access to the spare wheel, and luggage space was behind the front seats, accessible only from inside the car. Later in 1950, a Drophead Coupé (DHC) variant was introduced. At least 102 were built.[3] In April 1950, an engine with larger carburettors, inlet camshaft the same as the exhaust (for increased duration), and higher compression ratio pistons (8.16:1) was made available. Aston Martin's first Vantage upgrade option offered 125 hp (93 kW). Initially the higher compression ratio made the engine unsuitable for the British market, as the postwar austerity measures of the early 1950s restricted UK vehicles to 72 octane "Pool petrol". [4] The first DB2 Vantage, LML 50/21, was delivered to, and raced by, Briggs Cunningham

    • Year: 1953
    For sale
  • 1958 Aston Martin DB2 Mk3


    History of AM.300/3/1683 This car was ordered new in 1958 by Mr Alister Malcolm Creswick of Aune Cross, Devon and was designated the registration 353ATA. The car was ordered in the rare shade of Cardinal Grey by Mr Creswick, who was a wealthy landowner and sixty-five years old at the time of purchase. Mr Creswick passed away five years later in 1963 aged seventy. Having no wife or children, Mr Creswick was to bequeath 'all my motor cars and other motor vehicles' to Mr Richard Leslie Rogers, a local farmer who operated on Mr Creswick’s land. Richard Rogers took the car immediately to a dealership and the car was up for sale in 1963 as Richard Rogers headed for a new life in the Channel Islands. As the car awaited its next custodian at the dealership, it received a new coat of dark-green metallic paint and was fitted with a Motorola radio system, presumably to freshen up the car and improve the dealer’s sales potential. During 1963, Frederick W. Anner Jr. was stationed in Verdun, France. Frederick was a clarinet player with the U.S. Marching band and was the owner of a 1954 Aston Martin DB MkII/4. Fred was having problems running his car and decided to take it to England to have some

    • Year: 1958
    For sale
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