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

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

10 Search results
Aston Martin DB2
233000 475000 GBP
  • 1: Just Arrived, 1993 JAGUAR XJ220

    €475,000(£424,507.50) €475,000(£424,507.50)

    SUPER CAR OF THE NINETIES, ONE OF JUST 285 EXAMPLES MADE Brand Jaguar Type XJ220 Color Blue Interior Grey Year of build 1992 Price € 475.000,- 1993 JAGUAR XJ 220 One of only 285 examples made Supercar of the nineties With the original Owner’s Handbook and the Service Record and Warranty card Only 3.600 kilometers since new A dream has come true. I still remember the day that my parents gave me a 1:18 size scale model when I was approximately 7 years old. We were in central London and it was my favorite out of hundreds of scale models. The XJ 220 was a toy which I took everywhere but nobody else was allowed to play with it except myself. After 3 years I first saw the XJ 220 in real. A customer of a Land Rover dealer where I was washing cars came by with his Jaguar XJ 220. In Holland it was even more unique to see such a supercar as we have an extra road tax and therefore a Jaguar XJ 220 was costing over 1.000.000,- guilders which is nowadays the same in Euro’s. After quite a big research we have been able to buy after many years a Jaguar XJ 220 in silver. This car we sold as we cannot keep all cars ourselves unfortunately but luckily we recently found this blue example. The color of

    • Year: 1992
    For sale
    The Houtkamp Collection


    SOLD TO SWITZERLAND Brand Aston Martin Type DB2 1St. Sanction Color Green Interior Beige Year of build 1951 Price Sold 1951 ASTON MARTIN DB2 1ST. SANCTION This Aston Martin DB2 is sold to a customer in Switzerland. If you are interested in a similar model or If you are willing to sell a rare/unique automobile or your entire collection, we are looking forward to hear from you. Our collection is changing on a daily base and exists of approximately 90 cars. Due to the fact that some cars are transported or restored we do not offer all of our cars on the web. If you have specific requests, please let us know as we might have the car in our collection or we can help you in find your specific car. Please contact us if you are interested in buying or selling a rare/unique automobile. MORE INFORMATION For more information or an appointment, please contact Rutger Houtkamp by phone :+31 6 25 09 81 50 or send an e-mail to Rutger@Houtkamp.nl . Please feel free to contact us during evening hours or weekends. The Houtkamp Collection is located near Amsterdam, 10 minutes from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Please contact us directly or fill in the form to receive more information on this specific ca

    • Year: 1951
    For sale
  • 2: Just Arrived, 1958 ASTON MARTIN DB 2/4 MKIII DROPHEAD COUPE


    JUST ARRIVED, 14-07. ONE OF JUST 84 DROPHEADS MANUFACTURED BETWEEN 1957-1959 Brand Aston Martin Type DB 2/4 MKIII Drophead Coupe Color Blue Interior Blue Year of build 1958 Price Price On Request 1958 ASTON MARTIN DB 2/4 MKIII DROPHEAD COUPE One of only 84 Mk III Drophead Coupes built Brilliantly and thoroughly restored One of the rarest of post-war Aston Martin models Unbeknown to many, the DB MkIII is another ‘James Bond’ Aston Martin, appearing in Ian Fleming’s novel ‘Goldfinger’, though by the time the book made it to the screen the DB5 was the current model, so that was used instead Like all British car manufacturers, Aston Martin was left to pick up the ashes at the end of World War II and try their best to get back on their feet. Luckily, the company was rescued from liquidation by an industrialist by the name of David Brown. While the first post-war Aston, the 2-Litre Sports, only found 14 buyers, the car that followed would be a resounding success, with its W.O. Bentley-designed six-cylinder engine appropriated from Lagonda, which Brown acquired in parallel with Aston Martin. The DB2 was introduced in 1949 in prototype form, and it incorporated everything that anyone could

    • Year: 1958
    For sale
  • 2: Just Arrived, 1965 ASTON MARTIN DB5


    JUST ARRIVED, 14-07 Brand Aston Martin Type DB5 Color Green Interior Green Year of build 1965 Price Price On Request 1965 ASTON MARTIN DB5 Aston Martin DB5, well known as being the most famous car in the world One of the most iconic classic cars Superb color combination By driving the car, you definitely feel yourself a bit James Bond The Aston Martin DB5 is one of the most iconic classic cars and because of that a serious investment. Nearly fifty years after its screen debut in 1964, the DB5 has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Due to the amazing impact James Bond had and and still has, the DB5 is a car which has to be part in almost every serious classic car collection. In the late 1950s, Aston Martin was still a small, highly exclusive car manufacturer that produced less than 250 hand-built cars per year. Their clientele was an exclusive base of discerning connoisseurs of grand touring motor cars, many who were attracted to the company due to its successes in sports car racing. The DB5 was costing roughly twice of a new Jaguar E-type. In 1963, Aston Martin introduced the DB5 at the Earl’s Court Motor Show in London. The design was similar to the DB4, but the six-cylind

    • Year: 1965
    For sale
  • 3: Just Arrived, 1958 ASTON MARTIN DB MKIII


    JUST ARRIVED, 10-07. OVER 260.000,- EURO INVESTED TO RESTORE THIS ASTON MARTIN Brand Aston Martin Type DB2/4 MKIII Color Green Interior Tan Year of build 1958 Price Price On Request 1958 ASTON MARTIN DB MKIII Over 260.000,- Euro invested in restore this Aston Martin Rare and collectible; one of 462 built 1957-1959 The ultimate development of the DB2, the first “true” postwar Aston Martin Impressively nice restored in Holland Fitted with desirable overdrive since new Fitted with hydraulic power steering The landmark DB2, considered the first “true” postwar Aston Martin, was introduced in May 1950. The ultimate and most highly refined variant, the DB Mark III, debuted in March 1957 and was produced through July 1959, when the DB4 ultimately succeeded it. Legendary Aston Martin engineer Tadek Marek thoroughly revised the existing six-cylinder W.O. Bentley/Lagonda engine design, with output rising to 162 bhp or 178 bhp with the optional twin-exhaust system. Front disc brakes supplemented “Alfin” finned aluminum rear drum brakes, with the upgrade optional on the first 100 DB Mark IIIs and standard on the final Mark IIIB variant of 1958-1959. Styling and body fittings were updated, most

    • Year: 1958
    For sale

    €275,000(£245,767.50) €275,000(£245,767.50)

    4 OWNERS SINCE NEW, MILLE MIGLIA ELIGIBLE Brand Aston Martin Type DB2 Color Green Interior Red Year of build 1952 Price € 275.000,- 1952 ASTON MARTIN DB2 4 owners since new Superb color combination Mille Miglia Eligible 1 of only 441 DB2’s ever built The Aston Martin DB2 was unveiled at the public at the New York Motor Show of 1950. This was not the first time that the public could see this very special cars. 3 examples had raced at the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans in 1949. In 1950, the production of the Aston Martin DB2 started and in 1951, Aston Martin entered with 3 DB2’s and became first second and third in their class at the grueling Le Mans. Amongst the success at Le Mans, Aston Martin was also active in the Mille Miglia. In 1952 Tony Wisdom drove the DB2 and finished 12th overall. Reg Parnell drove the other Works DB2 with chassis number LML/50/50, registration number XMC76 and finished 13th overall. There were 2 other DB2’s in the 1954 Mille Miglia, one driven by the famous driver George Abecassis. Due to the fact that the Aston Martin DB2 drove the Mille Miglia in between 1927 and 1957, the car is nowadays eligible for the world’s greatest road race! The DB2 has been design

    • Year: 1952
    For sale

    €295,000(£263,641.50) €295,000(£263,641.50)

    LEFT HAND DRIVE, MILLE MIGLIA ELIGIBLE Brand Aston Martin Type DB2 Vantage Color Maroon Interior Beige Year of build 1952 Price € 295.000,- 1952 ASTON MARTIN DB2 Mille Miglia Eligible Left Hand Drive In between 1950 and 1953 only 411 DB2’s were built. 309 of these were coupes and 102 were Drophead Coupes Complete with Fiva Identity Card Our collection of Aston Martin DB2’s started as a hobby, due to the fact that the Aston Martin DB2 is according to us an extremely nice car with a beautiful line. If you look for example at the rear of the car, the roundings are so extremely nice. Almost like a piece of art. The Aston Martin DB2 was produced from 1950 to 1953. A total amount of only 411 cars were made in this period. The DB2 was based on an Aston Martin which drove the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1949. The final introduction of the DB2 was at the New York Autoshow in 1950. The DB2 was very succesfull at Le Mans and became first and second in class. All three continued to race through the year and had different other successes. The DB2 was the first real production car from Aston Martin. It is a full aluminium bodied car with a multi-tube chassis and independent front suspension. This spe

    • Year: 1952
    For sale
  • Aston Martin DB2 Works Competition Lightweight


    Mayfair 020 7125 1400 | Maldon 01621 879579 Aston Martin DB2 Works Competition Lightweight This exceptionally important Aston Martin is one of just two lightweight DB2s constructed by the works to contend the 1951 season. XMC76 and its sister car, XMC77, were built at Aston Martin’s Feltham factory, Middlesex in 1951 and designed from the outset to be purebred racing sports cars. Unlike production DB2s, they featured an extensively drilled chassis and employed lighter gauge aluminium in their bodies, which, combined with bucket seats, minimal trim, and selective use of Perspex instead of glass, delivered a weight reduction of almost 20% compared to a road car. Performance was further enhanced by an uprated 2.6 Litre engine with high compression aluminium cylinder head and triple weber carburettors, which delivered a potent 138bhp. XMC76’s competition debut came at the Daily Express International Trophy meeting at Silverstone on May 5th 1951. Against a field packed with XK120s driven by the likes of Stirling Moss, Leslie Johnson and Duncan Hamilton, Parnell managed to bring home the Aston home in 7th place overall and win the 3 Litre class. The next outing, held 6 weeks later on 23r

    • Year: 1951
    For sale
  • 1952 Aston Martin DB2 vantage LHD


    Full Description This beautiful DB2 is one of 309 DB2 Saloons built. It has been treated to a full body off restoration by Steel Wings with no expenses spared and to the highest standards. We are getting close to completion and plan to have the restoration complete by the end of 2017. This is an exciting opportunity to purchase a DB2 that is fully restored and fresh without having to wait years for the job to be completed Interior colors can still be determined by the buyer despite the fact that work on the interior has already started The engine will be fully rebuilt with solid cheeses, new oil pump, valves, springs, pistons, cylinders, bearings, chains, etc. and fully dyno tested The gearbox will be rebuilt with all new syncros, bearings and seals The original rims have been restored and are painted silver

    • Year: 1952
    • Mileage: 33195 mi
    For sale
  • 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupe

    $233,000(£178,804.20) $233,000(£178,804.20)

    This car is currently not at Fantasy Junction but can be viewed by appointment. 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

    • Year: 1952
    • Mileage: 21244 mi
    For sale
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