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1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupe

Exceedingly Rare Left Hand Drive Vantage Specification with Matching Numbers. Beautifully Restored with Fresh Show Quality Repaint in Original Colors. Eligible for Premier Events Worldwide.

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Updated 08-14-2017

Price $675,000
VIN LML/50/302
Exterior Color Metallic Blue
Interior Color Navy Leather
Mileage 21244 Miles TMU
Engine 2.6 Litre Inline 6-Cylinder no. VB6B/50/1126
Transmission Feltam 5-Speed
Status Inventory
Stock FJ1882

Comments

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 for the period, 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 Le Mans race, finishing first and second in the three liter class (fifth and sixth overall). Racing driver Phil Hill was very complimentary towards the car in Motor Trend, and gave it the ultimate demonstration of support by buying one new for himself. Additionally, Briggs Cunningham took delivery of the first Vantage specification DB2, which was upgraded with bigger carburetors and a higher compression ratio, which increased the power output from 105hp to 125hp.

Between 400 and 450 DB2s were built, of which 102 were drophead coupes, and even fewer still were Vantage specification cars. This is one such car, and is understood by experts to be one of approximately twenty left hand drive Vantage dropheads built, making it an exceptionally rare and desirable car. Completed 8 March 1953, this example comes with a copy of its original built sheet, which confirms that it is a matching-numbers example originally finished in blue haze with blue interior piped in red. Built as a LHD USA specification car, this example was sold new to a Jesse Porter of Princeton, New Jersey on 3 August 1953. It eventually found its way to well-known enthusiast Mark Smith, who kept it for many years before selling it its current owner, an enthusiastic Northern California keeper whose extremely particular nature and excellent taste are reflected by every car in his remarkable collection, including this DB2 Vantage Drophead.

He had purchased the car in 2013, at which point it had had an engine rebuild and new paint, but had not seen any other recent major restorative work. He enlisted highly-regarded Aston Martin specialist Kevin Kay Restorations to complete the restoration, which included $233,000 of mechanical and cosmetic work including new interior, new top, new chrome, new tires and tubes, restored wheels, new brakes including hydraulics, shoes, and lines, rebuilt suspension, rebuilt differential, engine detail, rebuilt starter and generator, restored radiator, new wheel bearings, rebuilt cylinder head with new valves, seals, and springs, new clutch, upgraded sway bars, rebuilt suspension including shocks, springs, and ball joints, 5-speed transmission conversion (the original is included), new stainless exhaust, and countless other items. The car successfully completed the California Mille in both 2014 and 2015 and saw further service work with Kevin Kay Restorations in 2015 including brake service, carburetor service, new fuel filter and some lines, and new battery.

During late 2016 and 2017 this Aston received an absolutely magnificent, show quality repaint in the original light blue metallic by Pebble Beach award winning California Classics. At this time the panel match, edging, and select brightwork were improved to better than new standards. The result of this extensive work is an exceptional driving car that is suitable for the highest level of concours showing. It is widely eligible, rare, and its 5-speed gearbox further enhances its usability. The car makes a superb cosmetic impression, with a laser-straight and solid body wearing high quality paint that presents crisply.. The glass, lights, and chrome are all excellent and the car has a pair of auxiliary fog lamps. The painted wire wheels are also in superb shape and are a nice departure from the more typically seen chrome finish. The car wears Year of Manufacture black California license plates.

The interior is in beautiful condition, having been recently restored in its entirety by one of the premier Aston Martin specialists in the United States. The leather has all been replaced including the seats, door panels, and dashboard, and is in essentially as new condition. The contrasting pile grey wool carpets are similarly nice and were fitted to high standards. The dashboard wood was restored and is like new, as are the instruments including the counter-rotating tachometer. The steering wheel is excellent and all interior chrome was renewed when the remainder of the interior was restored. The owner of the car is fastidious about ensuring all components work and the entire car shows excellent attention to detail. Even the wood handle of the jack was stripped and carefully re-varnished.

This trend continues in the engine compartment, which has been restored and detailed to very high standards. The aluminum components have been highly polished, and the painted components have also been renewed and are like new. The hardware is superb throughout, as are the exhaust manifolds. The suspension and chassis are highly detailed and nearly unmarked, as is the interior of the bonnet. The spare tire compartment and undercarriage are also very clean and detailed.

The car is a pleasure to drive. Once the engine is warm, it runs beautifully, with a great inline-6 exhaust note and nice linear carburetion with good torque, which makes the car easy to use. It pulls well and is well-complimented by the 5-speed gearbox, which is a pleasure to use and provides good gearing for a wide range of uses. The brakes are linear and symmetrical in operation, and the chassis, suspension, and steering are tight and communicative. Overall, the car has an engaging and well-resolved character that encourages the driver to go for a long drive with the top down, perhaps to Bodega Bay as Tippi Hedren’s character did in her DB2 drophead in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (ideally with less sinister results).

This is an exceptionally rare opportunity to acquire the ideal example of a particularly scarce and desirable car. The car is complete with original tool roll with tools, correct Millennium lifting jack, and original instruction book. One of approximately 20 left hand drive DB2 Vantage Dropheads built, this car has in superb mechanical and cosmetic condition. Nice enough to show but also thoroughly sorted for driving events, this car offers a wide range of possibilities for its next custodian. Certainly as a pre-1957 open car of exceptional beauty and rarity, it is eligible for virtually any driving or concours event, and indeed it has proven itself in one of America’s most prestigious events, the California Mille, for the last two years. Additionally, the car comes with a thick file of service invoices to support the recent no-expense spared restoration work, in addition to original tool roll, jack, and instruction book. In short, this car has it all, and is a truly top drawer example of one of the most rare and desirable DB2 variants for the connoisseur seeking the very best to show or rally.

 


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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