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Lot 126: Aston Martin DB 2/4 MkI 3-Litre

Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia, Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers (24 June 2009)

Fine car though it was, the DB2 appealed to only a limited market because it had just two seats and could only carry minimal luggage. Aston Martin addressed these shortcomings in October 1953 with the launch of the DB2/4 which had two occasional seats in the back which folded forward to create a very useful luggage space. The roof-line was also raised and a larger rear window incorporated into a lifting tailgate to create what was effectively the world's first hatchback.

The new model boasted such niceties as a telescopic steering column and adjustable backrests. Beneath the lightweight aluminum body the rigid steel chassis retained its independent trailing link/coil spring front suspension, with transverse torsion bar, and a live coil-sprung rear axle located by parallel arms and Panhard rod. Brakes were large and powerful drums all round.

Initially powered by a 125bhp 2,580cc version of the famous Willie Watson / WO Bentley designed DOHC straight-six engine, the adoption of a larger 83mm bore saw capacity rise to 2,922cc in mid 1954. Now producing 140bhp and 178lbft of torque in standard tune, the DB2/4 3-litre was capable of 0-60mph in 10 seconds on its way to a top speed of 120mph.

DB2s finished first, second and third in class at the 1951 Le Mans 24 Hours, and third overall against the likes of Jaguar's iconic C-Type sports racers, a remarkable achievement. Three works-prepared DB2/4s took the Team Prize in the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally, with one of them just missing outright victory due to a simple navigation error. A fine machine in the best Aston Martin tradition, The Motor stated that: "The DB2/4 can truthfully claim to be the fastest car in the world capable of carrying two people with a month's luggage." DB2/4 production had amounted to 565 cars by the time the MkII was introduced in October 1955.

First registered in July 1955, this particular DB2/4 MkI 3-litre was sold new to Captain ABO Parish of Holme Chase Hotel, Ashburton, Devon, by Tice & Son Ltd of Dorchester. it returned to the factory in 1957 for some repairs and it's believed that Captain Parish had the brakes upgraded to discs and the grille to MK111 specification retaining the original MK1 bonnet. Little is know of the cars history between 1957 and 1969 when it was bought by the last owner who in 1990 decided to treat it to a full restoration.

The car was duly handed over to Phoenix Car Restorations of Eardisley, now most famous for their concours-standard rebuilds of XK Jaguars. They spent the next four years subjecting the car to a total nut-and-bolt rebuild which cost around �50,000 (more like �150,000 at today's labour costs), the whole process being recorded by photographs. This included a full strip and rebuild of the engine with an unleaded head conversion. Work continued through to 2001 with a full interior retrim. In 2007 it was put back on the road for the first time since the restoration started in 1990. The owner then decided to sell it in October 2008.

During the last eight months it has been subjected to extensive further work including a full strip and respray which was mainly due to touch ups that had been done since the original restoration. All the chromework has been re-chromed, the dash re-veneered, the steering wheel refurbished, all the brakes reconditioned, a full service with all fluids being changed, the carburettors tuned and the engine bay fully detailed. It now looks like a fresh nut-and-bolt restoration with the underside and engine bay looking as good as the bodywork.

Now ready to show, drive, and enjoy, it is taxed and comes with an MOT until June 2010. Supplied with copies of the original factory build sheets, some records of early works carried out on the car at the factory, and two photo albums of bills and photographs detailing the vast amount of restoration work.

Altogether a most attractive example of this fast-appreciating model with possibly just two or three owners from new, that still retains its original engine, gearbox and registration number.

Lot Details
Auction Classic Car, Motorcycle & Automobilia
Brightwells Auctioneers and Valuers, Leominster
TypeCar
Lot Number126
Estimate£70000-£80000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£58500
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1995
Condition rating0
Registration numberTTT 707
Mileage-
Chassis numberLML 1033
Engine numberVB6J 555
Engine capacity (cc)2922
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors