Aston Martin DB2

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Aston Martin DB2
Aston Martin DB2 Coupe 1950.jpg
A 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Coupé
Overview
Manufacturer Aston Martin
Production 1950–1953
411 produced[1]
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-seat coupé
2-seat drophead
Layout FR layout
Related Aston Martin DB3
Powertrain
Engine 2.6 L Lagonda I6
Dimensions
Wheelbase 99 in (2,500 mm)[2]
Length 162.5 in (4,130 mm)[2]
Width 65 in (1,700 mm)[2]
Height 53.5 in (1,360 mm)[2]
Chronology
Predecessor 2-Litre Sports "DB1"
Successor Aston Martin DB2/4
Aston Martin DB2 Drophead Coupé 1951
Aston Martin DB2 Coupé 1951
Aston Martin DB2 Coupé 1952

The Aston Martin DB2 is a sports car sold by Aston Martin from May 1950 through to April 1953. It was a major advancement over the 2-Litre Sports model it replaced, with a dual overhead cam straight-6 in place of the previously used pushrod straight-4. The car featured a 2.6 L engine, and was designed as a closed coupé (described as a sports-saloon by Aston Martin). A later drophead coupé model was also introduced, accounting for ¼ of the model's total sales. The DB2 was extremely successful in racing, setting David Brown's company up for future success.

Development[edit]

The prototype for the DB2 appeared as one of three Aston Martins at the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car was based on Claude Hill's tube-frame chassis, created for the 2-Litre Sports "DB1", with a closed coupé body design by Frank Feeley.

The straight-6 engine was derived from Lagonda, which Aston Martin owner, David Brown, purchased for this reason. This engine was designed by W. O. Bentley, namesake of the Bentley motorcar company, and engineer William (Willie) Watson also of the pre-war Invicta, collaborating designer of the pre-war V12 Lagonda & designer of the short-lived post-war V12.

The production DB2 debuted at the New York Auto Show in April 1950. Although demand was high, the second, third, and fourth DB2 models to be produced competed at Le Mans in 1950. They achieved first and second in class that year; all three continued competing through 1951. The 21st example was raced by American sportsman Briggs Cunningham in the first Sebring race, December 1950 attaining second in class. Success brought fame to David Brown's resurgent company, convincing the company to begin a series of purpose-built racing models, starting with the DB3.

Production[edit]

In total 411 DB2s were produced from their 1950 introduction through 1953. The first 49 cars used a square three-part grille in front with large rectangular side vents. This was soon updated with the more familiar integrated, rounded Aston Martin grille with horizontal slats. The three racing models were similarly upgraded establishing the company's new face. Among these 49 cars: two "Vantage spec" models. The first Vantage was LML 50/21 delivered in 1950 to racing driver Briggs Cunningham.

The car was a fixed-head coupé (FHC) with a tiny top-hinged boot in back containing a spare wheel. Luggage space was behind the front seats, accessed somewhat inconveniently from inside the car. A large single-piece bonnet was hinged at the front.

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 (increased duration) & higher compression ratio pistons (8.16:1) was "offered optionally", as Aston Martin's first Vantage upgrade. This was a power-only upgrade, with 125 hp (93 kW) available. However, the higher compression ratio engine was initially unsuitable for domestic market customers, since in the early 1950s Britain retained the war time austerity regime whereby UK fuel customers were restricted to 72 octane "Pool petrol".[4]

Many cars went back to Aston Martin to have later 3 ltr engines fitted, many more have been converted since.[citation needed]

The name "Vantage" was chosen after leafing through a thesaurus looking for suitable tags for higher performance variants of the then current model. In the same tradition later the names Volante for a convertible and Virage for a model in the 90s were created.

Performance[edit]

A saloon tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 116.4 mph (187.3 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 11.2 seconds. A fuel consumption of 20 miles per imperial gallon (14 L/100 km; 17 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1914 including taxes.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sedgwick, M.; Gillies (1993). A-Z of cars 1945–70. UK: Bay View Books. ISBN 1-870979-39-7. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "The Aston Martin DB 2 Sports saloon". The Motor. 27 September 1950. 
  3. ^ Serio, Steve (August 2010). "1950 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Coupé". Sports Car Market 22 (8): 58–59. 
  4. ^ "Aston Martin CB2 Sports Saloon (road test)". Autocar. 21 April 1950. "With the 6.5 to 1 ratio in the car tested not the slightest sign of pinking or running-on was experienced on 72 octane Pool fuel under any circumstances; with the 8.2 ratio a higher octane fuel would be necessary or highly desirable." 
  • "Aston Martin DB2". AstonMartins.com. Retrieved 23 June 2005. 
  • AMOC register for production dates and information on Willie Watson

External links[edit]