Aston Martin DB2/4

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The Most Raced DB2/4 in Existence

United KingdomLocation: United Kingdom

The DB2, in production from May 1950 until April 1953, was David Brown's first Aston Sporting Saloon. Its tubular steel chassis was based on that of the two-litre Sports, but newly hired engineer Ted Cutting shortened the wheelbase, added cruciform members, triangulation and an extra upper side-rail, providing, in essence, a stiff tubular space frame.

The DB2 production engine "borrowed" from David Brown's other car company, Lagonda, was the 2.6-litre, twin cam six-cylinder that had originally been designed by W.O. Bentley in 1943, while the talented ex-Lagonda designer Frank Feeley penned the beautiful yet powerful coupé bodywork.

Its four-wheel coil spring suspension was so advanced that it did not feature on a Jaguar or Ferrari for a least a further decade. The front suspension was independent and the live rear-axle was located by trailing arms and a Panhard rod. The four-speed gearbox was sourced in-house from the David Brown Gear Division while a Salisbury hypoid rear axle was fitted. The 12-inch hydraulic drum brakes were often equipped with optional "Al-fin" aluminium drums for competition use. Engine output was governed by the various available options but ranged from 105 bhp to 145 bhp at 5,000 rpm and provided a zero-to-sixty time of about 12 seconds and a top speed of 110 to 135 mph, blisteringly quick by the day's standards.

England's motoring guru of the time, Laurence Pomeroy, eloquently wrote in his October 1950 article in The Motor: "It would appear that every so often the gods pass over some works or another and with an inclination of the head inspire the production of a car with outstanding virtues. The Aston Martin DB2 stands worthy in the pedigree of real motor cars."

This example "UWL 333" is chassis number LML 528 and was the 25th DB2/4 produced. The DB2/4's main improvement over the DB2 was the ability to be not only a quick road or competition car but also to be used every day in a relatively practical manner. The DB2/4 was available in drophead or saloon variants, the saloon benefitted from a new innovation, a hatchback. The DB2/4 being the first car to feature a hatchback which enabled owners to use the car for long journeys or to take the occasional passenger. However the real genius of the DB2/4 is that the car lost none of the competitive edge that the DB2s had shown between 1950 and 1953. UWL 333 was purchased new by G.F Parkes a British Gentleman racer best known for leading Jaguar to victory in the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally. The Aston was first registered in October 1953 and spent the remainder of 1953 and indeed 1954 as a road car. By day Bobby Parkes would drive the Aston to Preston Railway station where he would catch the train into Manchester to be met in Manchester by his driver who would complete the journey to the office. However in 1955 Bobby decided to race UWL 333. The car completed 10 events through the 1955 season finishing on every occasion. The most notable result came in May when the car was placed first overall in the gruelling L.A.C Morcambe Rally. Autocar remarked in 1955 that "G.H.F Parkes and his Aston Martin stood in the lead with only 105.5 marks lost." He claimed victory by some margin. In total 1955 would bring Bobby no less than five victor's trophies. It has also been claimed that UWL 333 took part in the 1955 Acropolis Rally and that the car was driven to and from Athens!

UWL 333 has seen racing through a number of owners. Mr Reed who owned the car for some eight years frequently competed at Goodwood, Brands Hatch and Silverstone. Mr P Riley who purchased the car on 1984 continued the race at these events and between them Riley and Reed competed in 24 races, in which UWL 333 finished every single event within the top four and failed to make the podium on only two occasions. Of these 22 podium finishes UWL 333 was victorious in over half of those races a truly remarkable record.

The current custodian of UWL 333 has continued the car's fine racing pedigree and has competed in no fewer than 30 events including the multiple Le Mans Classic and the Woodcote Trophy; undoubtedly three of the finest events in historic motor racing. The engine was fully rebuilt around one year ago and is ready to start racing again. UWL 333 presented in her original colour combination of midnight blue with contrasting pillar box red wheels and grill is a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of Aston Martin Heritage: the most successful DB2/4 in existence.

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  • Aston Martin DB2/4
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  • DK Database ID: #261

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