1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII

1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII Supersonic Coupe
Coachwork: Ghia
Chassis #: AM300/1131
Sold for $2,310,000 at 2013 RM Auction - Art of the Automobile.
Aston Martin sold several DB2/4 chassis to different Italian coachworks. This car was purchased by race driver Harry Schell who had it fitted with a Ghia Supersonic body. The aluminum skin is slightly taller than the Fiat Supersonic, but not quite as futuristic. The car was first shown at the Turin Motor Show in 1956.

The special one-off coachwork by Ghia was designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi and dubbed the Supersonic. As the name suggests, it was inspired by the 1950's jet craze. Unlike many of the American 'jet' designs, Savonuzzi kept the aircraft touches relatively subtle. Resembling a jet engine's afterburner, the taillights and the jet fuselage-inspired rear fenders are examples of this treatment. Ghia produced a total of 13 Supersonics for four different marques: one Alfa Romeo 1900, eight Fiat 8Vs, three Jaguar XK-120s and one Aston Martin DB2/4.

This car is the last Supersonic built. The body is constructed of aluminum over a steel framework. The original owner was the race car driver Harry Schell. Photographs of the car on the street in Spa were first published in Autosport Magazine June 15, 1956. The car was also shown on the Ghia stand at the 1956 Turin Auto Salon. In 1957 the car was in NYC and finally ended up in Detroit in the 1960s.

It was discovered in a much deteriorated state in 1974 in a gas station parking lot of all places. Eventually, the current owner acquired the car and started the restoration in his facility, Classic & Exotic Service. This seemingly gargantuan task was finished in 2011.

1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII Fastback Coupe
By 1953 Aston Martin realized that their DB2 model needed further refinement, and the DB 2/4 is the result. The obvious improvements include a one-piece windscreen and two tiny rear seats making this car a true 2+2. The new 3-liter inline 6-cylinder engine generates a respectable 140 horsepower and is capable of 120 mph. Coupe bodies were originally contracted to H.J. Mulliner and Sons, but later David Brown shifted this work to Tickford, who already built the convertibles. This example is one of the 199 MKIIs produced.
1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII Fastback Coupe
Chassis #: AM300/1206
Sold for $170,500 at 2010 Gooding and Company - Scottsdale Auction.
Sold for $249,000 at 2011 Bonhams - Greenwich Concours d'Elegance: Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia.
Following the introduction of the DB3 which was built solely for competition, the DB2 was developed into a true GT car, given occasional back seats, and renamed the DB2/4. The MK II debuted in 1956 with a new, upgraded 3-liter engine in both standard and uprated versions.

There were just 199 examples of the DB2/4 MK II built. This example was one of the few that had the upgraded, 165 horsepower Special Series engine installed from the factory. These engines are often referred to as the 'L' or 'L1' engines. They had larger valves and featured a higher-lift camshaft.

This car left the factory in the same color scheme that it wears today, a two-tone gray over red trim. It was dispatched from the factory on October 16, 1956, and destined for Paris where its original owner most likely resided. In 1996, the car was given a full restoration. In 2007, the car was entered in the Colorado Grand.

In 2010, this DB2/4 MK II was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The car was estimated to sell for $175,000 - $225,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $170,500, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2010
1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII 1956 Aston Martin DB2-4 MKII Drophead Coupe
Chassis #: AM/300/1137
Engine # VB6J718
This Aston Martin is painted in Old English white over a dark red leather interior and equipped with chrome wire wheels, a black convertible top, and the classic W.O. Bentley-designed straight-six engine. There are small tailfins, wooden veneers and Smiths instruments. It is an original, left-hand drive Aston Martin, and one of less than 200 BD 2/4 MK II models built.

In 2010, this DB 2/4 Mark II was offered for sale at Gooding & Company Auction held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $225,000 - $275,000. As bidding came to a close, bidding had reached $210,000 but was not enough to satisfy the car's reserve. It would leave unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2010
The Aston Martin DB2 was debuted to the public at the New York Motor Show. This was not the vehicles first appearance. It had been race at the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans where one of the drivers, Pierre Marechal, had been involved in a fatal accident. The DB2 was designed by Frank Freeley and configured as a two-seater touring vehicle. It was Aston Martin's first real production vehicle. The name was derived from the initials of the company's founder, David Brown. The production designs were very similar to the vehicles raced at LeMans, offering LeMans performance and touring comfort. Power was supplied by a twin-cam, W.O. Bentley designed Lagonda six-cylinder engine capable of producing 115 horsepower. With the 'Vantage' option that became available in 1951, the output increased to 125 horsepower, thanks in part to SU HV6 carburetors and high compression pistons.
During the DB2's lifespan lasting from 1950 through 1953, 441 examples were produced.

In 1953 Aston Martin introduced the DB2/4 MK1. This version was available in 2+2 Saloon Coupe configuration or as a Drophead Coupe. The Saloon version had featured a hatchback rear window, an uncommon design at the time. There were only 73 Dropheads created guarantying their exclusivity in modern times.

The DB2/4 had been modified both mechanically and aesthetically from its predecessor. The front received updates that gave it a 'cleaner' design. The 2.6 Liter Vantage engine was placed under the hood and provided power for the rear wheels. Due to the extra weight of the DB2/4 MK1, a more powerful 3.0 liter engine capable of producing 140 horsepower was used in 1954.

During the DB2/4 MK1 lifespan lasting from 1953 through 1955, 565 examples were produced.

In 1955 Aston Martin introduced the successor to the MK1, the MK2. There was little to distinguish the MK2. It had the same mechanics as its predecessor and only minor exterior modifications. The main differences were a square rear wing and the addition of the notchback-hardtop that was added to the body-style configurations. There were only thirty of these created. Nearing the end of the MK2, the power was increased to 165 horsepower from the six-cylinder engine. It was capable of racing from zero to sixty in 11.1 seconds and capturing a top speed of 120 miles-per-hour.

During the DB2/4 MK2 lifespan lasting from 1955 through 1957, 199 examples were created.

In 1957 Aston Martin introduced the MK III. It was available as a coupe or convertible, both were two-door and capable of seating four individuals. This was the final installment of the DB2 family. It received several mechanical updates including Girling disc brakes, hydraulic clutch, automatic and overdrive transmission options. This marked the first time that Aston Martin offered disc brakes as standard equipment on a vehicle. Al-Fin drum brakes were used in the rear. Aesthetically, it was similar to its predecessors but had received modifications to the front, including the DB3S grille. The modifications were enough to make the MKIII the most beautiful of all the DB2 models.

Under the hood sat a six-cylinder engine producing 162 horsepower. The zero-to-sixty time was now rated at 9.3 seconds with the top speed at 120 miles-per-hour. In standard form with the optional dual exhausts, horsepower was raised to 178 horsepower. By adding Webers, high compression pistons and an oil cooler, the horsepower rating skyrocketed to an astonishing 220. These improvements were courtesy of the knowledge Aston Martin had ascertained on the racing track.

During the DB MK III lifespan lasting from 1957 through 1959, 551 examples were produced.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
The first Aston Martin was built in 1913 by London Singer dealers Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin. It was comprised of a Coventry Simplex engine and an Isotta Fraschini chassis. They were later joined by Count Louis Zborowski, who provided finical backing and was an avid racer. Under the patronage of Augustus Bertelli, the legacy of Aston Martin continued to grow in motorsports throughout the years. Motorsports was expensive, and by 1925 the company had entered into receivership, a trend common to the company throughout its lifetime.

In 1926 the Aston Martin Motors Ltd. was incorporated with A.C. (Bert) Bertelli as one of the new directors. With the help of Bertelli, the company weathered the run years and the various financial backers. To many, Bertelli is the father of Aston Martin and some of the greatest pre-War era cars were created under his guidance. Their Ulster and 1.5-liter cars enjoyed much success including at the 24 Hours of LeMans.

A.C. Bertelli left Aston Martin in 1937, soon after the arrival of the new 2-liter car. This car was a shift in the way the company did business, as it was less sporty and marketed more towards civilized driving. In 1939 the company introduced a prototype designed by Claude Hill dubbed the Atom. It was comprised of a steel spaceframe chassis and given a four door sedan body. When gearbox manufacturer David Brown was given the opportunity to drive the Atom in 1947, he decided to buy the company.

The Atom was a slightly odd looking vehicle but possessed many modern features which would become the starting-point for many new models in the years to come. Aston Martins push-rod engines, however, were deemed inadequate by Mr. Brown. Rather than creating a new engine design he simply purchased Lagonda and the rights to produce the W.O. Bentley designed twin-cam six-cylinder engine. This engine would become the basis for Aston Martin engines in the years to come, and would give the company many podium finishes.

While negotiations were still in process with Lagonda, a small number of two-liter Aston Martins were created based on the Atom design. At the time, they were called 2-Liter Sports; in modern times they are commonly referred to as the DB1.

A six-cylinder Aston Martin racer made its racing debut at the first 24 Hours of LeMans in the post-War era. The production version was show in April of 1950 at the New York Auto Show. It was called the DB2 and powered by a 2.6-liter Lagonda six clothed in a two-door coupe body designed by Frank Freely. The design was well received by the public and it appeared as though financial stability would soon become part of the company's lineage. The small factory struggled to keep pace with the demand for the new coupe as more interest was created by the Works DB2s as they scored several important victories including first and second in class at LeMans in 1950.

The first fifty cars created had large grilles which were later removed. In 1951, the Vantage model was introduced which was an upgraded version of the DB2. The DB3 became the company's racing entrant while the DB2 was their road going model.

The two-seater DB2's first major update came in 1953 when it was given two rear seats and a name change to DB2/4. This, as was the DB2, was available in either fixed or drop head configuration. Several chassis were delivered to custom coachbuilders to be fitted with unique creations orchestrated by customers desires and demands. Among them were the 'Wacky' Arnolt commissioned Bertone Spiders which were very attractive and equally as popular.

Though meant for the road, the DB2/4 models were used by privateers in many various sporting events with much success. This inspired the Works to prepare three examples for the Rallye Monte Carlo in 1955. Their efforts were rewarded with a first in class and a Team Prize.

Another major revision occurred in 1956 with the introduction of the DB2/4 MKII featuring a three-liter version of the six-cylinder engine producing 140 horsepower. An even more powerful version was available, featuring a high-lift camshaft, larger valves, and 165 horsepower. Coachbuilders were still given the opportunity to create their versions of the car. The most memorable was a Touring created Spyder shown at the 1956 Earls Court show in London. Three additional orders were placed but never materialized. Nevertheless, this would be the start of a relationship between the British based Aston Martin Company and the Touring Coachbuilding firm, resulting in spectacular creations throughout the years.

The fourth and final update to the DB2/4 was the MKIII, also known as the DB MK III, introduced in 1957. The basic design of the prior DB cars was retained, as it had proven to be very popular and versatile. The most noticeable change was to the front which received a revised frontal region. The big changes occurred elsewhere, with the vehicles mechanical components, including the standard 162 horsepower engine and front disc brakes. Both of these changes greatly improved the vehicles performance and handling capabilities.

In 1958 the DB2 Series was replaced by the DB4 which were powered by a 3.7-liter version of the six-cylinder engine.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007

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