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1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe

Phenomenal Example in Every Regard. Matching Numbers, Interesting History, Event Eligible, Professionally Prepared.

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Exterior Color Black
Interior Color Beige Leather
Mileage 50756 Miles (TMU)
Engine 2.9-Litre 6-Cylinder no. VB6J/120
Transmission 5-Speed Manual T-5 (fitted), 4-Speed included
Status Sold
Stock FJ2027


1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe
s/n LML 551, Engine No. VB6J/120
Black with Beige Leather Interior

The story of Aston Martin is steeped in racing, performance, and personal fortitude. Thrust up against the formidable challenge of other British stalwarts, Aston Martin had to deliver not only performance and elegance, but also had to offer something more – a unique sensor delight unlike anything else on the market. Much like many pre-war car companies, it was difficult to compete without offering something new. Such daring and flair ensued when David Brown took the helm, preparing to go head to head with Jaguar. Brown immediately arranged for the purchase of Lagonda, specifically for the use of their sophisticated 2.6 liter twin cam inline-6 designed by none other than W.O. Bentley.

First offered as the DB2, Aston Martin quickly realized that it was becoming more important to accommodate the family needs of motoring enthusiasts. The DB2/4 Saloon emerged with two rear jump seats, more rear luggage space (primarily due to the drop down rear seats), and of course the distinctive rear “hatch”. All this, including chassis upgrades, made the new model DB2/4 Saloon capable of carrying luggage and two passengers rather comfortably at high speeds. So much so that The Motor magazine boasted “The DB2/4 can truthfully claim to be the fastest car in the world capable of carrying two people with a month’s luggage”. The 2.6-litre 'VB6E' engine with 125bhp (Vantage tune) evolved early in 1954 to the 2.9-litre 140bhp 'VB6J' engine, capable of achieving 100mph in third gear with around 120mph top speed.

Of course all this came with fantastic handling and bespoke interior trimmed in fine leather and burled walnut. Between 1953 and 1955, just 451 DB2/4 Saloons were assembled at the DB works factory, while the earliest hand-crafted aluminum bodies were under the direction of Mulliner and later Tickford.

This Aston Martin DB2/4 is a matching numbers left-hand drive Coupe with interesting California history and a very refined and proper factory appearance. According to factory records, LML 551 was finished in fall 1954, equipped with the updated 2.9-litre VB6/J engine, heavy-duty Armstrong shock absorbers, 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, and KLG spark plugs. The handsome Feltham-built Saloon was originally finished in the same striking black over beige leather as it currently appears today. The car was ordered through S.H. Arnolt of Chicago and delivered on September 17, 1954, to Foreign Car Center in Carmel, California. Statements from prior owners indicate that William Randolph Hearst, Jr. and H.M. Handley were part of the earlier ownership history of this car.

It is believed that Mr. Handley campaigned his Aston Martin in various race venues along the California coast, including Stockton, Santa Rosa and Santa Barbara. Although specific racing results are not recorded, an image dating from this period illustrates the distinctive Aston Martin taking part in a California D Production race.

In 1975, Californian Stan Davis purchased this car, registering it as “54 Aston” on blue and yellow California license plates. After nearly two decades of ownership, Mr. Davis delivered the car to Michael Ginsberg of Metrics Mike Automotive in Rancho Cordova, specialists in Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Aston Martin. In 2004, unable to carry out his restoration plans, Mr. Davis sold the car to Mr. Ginsberg.

Mr. Ginsberg completed a sympathetic cosmetic restoration focusing on the outward appearance of the Aston Martin. The completed DB2/4 was displayed at the 2007 Niello Concours at Serrano in the featured Aston Martin class. Fred Dulien of Costa Mesa, California, purchased the car shortly after the show, entrusting marque expert Kevin Kay to perform a comprehensive mechanical restoration. Between November 2007 and August 2009, the engine, suspension and brakes were rebuilt as needed. And, a T-5 five-speed gearbox was installed resulting in vastly improved drivability. Shortly after this extensive work was done, the current owner purchased the car and performed additional upgrades to improve the driving experience for tours and spirited driving.

Currently, the car presents in very nice condition overall with excellent paint, smooth gloss, and very good panel fit given the challenges often found in handmade aluminum coachwork. Paint quality is seen in the large sweeping curved surfaces with excellent reflections throughout. The chrome trim, door handles and various exterior emblems are all beautifully finished and properly functional. The wire wheels and rims are also wonderfully finished with excellent gloss accenting the black exterior. The interior has been treated to a dual-purpose configuration, allowing for racing and touring performance, (with modern racing seats and roll bar) or show quality likely original trim (with original seats). The mechanical performance of the car has been improved by the 5-speed transmission (original 4-speed is included with the car), updated front disc brakes, and the capability to switch the car to modern racing seats and modern roll bar. The car is shown in both race and original trim and can be configured to the owner’s choice without troublesome alterations. The remaining finishes throughout the interior are very nicely done, with excellent instruments, bright dial faces, and beautiful clear finish over the burled walnut dashboard. The novel rear hatch is easily opened, revealing luggage space, and traditional leather straps. The car includes a bespoke trunk carpet to protect the beautifully painted floor.

The engine compartment is very nicely finished with attention to originality and reliability. The distinctive clam-shell hood raises and lowers with ease, revealing the unique independent coil spring front suspension and chassis components as well as the 2.9 liter Lagonda twin-cam engine, resplendent with polished aluminum features, traditional red head casting, and original era details, hoses, correctly specified components, and proper finishes.

The undercarriage further verifies the excellent workmanship and proper restoration that has been faithfully done to this deserving DB2/4 Saloon. While some modern materials and upgrades have been added to elevate the driving and reliability levels of this car, the underlying theme has been to restore and maintain the car to a highly usable but largely original standard. The results are clearly achieved without compromising the intent of the original.

Driving this car is a pure delight. The original Aston Martin engineering has been faithfully retained while offering thoughtful upgrades to create a very spirited and rewarding driving experience. The car starts easily, settling into a smooth idle without hesitation. Shifting is very easy through the upgraded 5-speed gearbox. The clutch engages easily in all gears and power is smoothly delivered as one moves through each of the 5 speeds. The car delivers a very rewarding ride with comfortable steering and excellent braking via the upgraded front disc brakes.

Included with the car is the original 4-speed gearbox and front drum brake assemblies, a fitted tool set, an original leather-bound instruction book, a copy of the original build sheet, and a certified copy of the factory record for the car from the British Industry Heritage Trust. Copious receipts documenting over $63,000.00 in expenses with Kevin Kay Restorations, along with other records accompany the car. The black racing seats, proper harnesses, roll bar, and associated hardware to reconfigure the interior are included as well.

Considering the remarkable qualities of this car and the growing appreciation for early David Brown Aston Martins, this wonderfully presented DB2/4 Saloon presents an excellent opportunity as an ideal entrant for prestigious driving events such as the California Mille and the Copperstate 1000. Properly sorted and ready for touring, local concours events, and AMOC gatherings, LML 551 is ready to share its balanced combination of excellent restoration and thoughtful safety/performance upgrades with its next delighted enthusiast.


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

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