1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II
6-cyl. 2922cc/142hp 2x1bbl
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With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The Aston Martin DB2 began production in the spring of 1950, and continued in various forms through 1957 with about 1,100 cars in total produced. In 1953, Aston changed the designation to DB2/4, and in 1955 the name was changed to DB2/4 Mark II. Aston marketed these cars “for speed and comfort in long-distance touring” rather than as pure sports cars, but some of the panache of the race-winning DB3S certainly rubbed off on the more luxurious street cars of the era.
The DB2 was available as a two-seat, two-door fixed head coupe, or as a drop head coupe. When the change was made to the DB2/4 in 1953, Aston added a fastback coupe to the line, which was technically a 2+2 with limited back seat space.
Astons of this era featured hand-formed aluminum bodywork hung on a tubular steel chassis. The DB line was expensive for the era, costing about $6,000 at a time when a new Corvette cost less than half that figure.
Power for the DB2 came courtesy of a 2.6-liter Lagonda inline six-cylinder engine. With double overhead cams, the engine initially produced about 105 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque with twin SU carburetors, but was shortly upgraded to higher compression and larger SU carbs to produce up to 125 hp and 144 lb-ft in the Vantage trim. With the switch to the DB2/4 model in 1953, the Lagonda engine was again upgraded to 2.9 liters and 140 hp with 178 lb-ft of torque. Changes to the head and increased compression raised the output of the 2.9-liter plant to 165 hp and 180 lb-ft for the Mark II model released in 1955.
Shifting was always by a 4-speed manual transmission driving a solid rear axle, with a close ratio gearbox and alternate rear end ratios available as options. Brakes were by drums, but special bi-metallic lightweight drums were available as an option.
Top speed on the DB series at this time was about 120 mph, with 0-60 times in the range of 10 to 11 seconds and quarter-mile times of about 18 to 19 seconds.
Records are imperfect, but a rough estimate is that of the roughly 1,200 cars produced from 1950-57, about 100 were drop head coupes and 309 were fastback coupes. The DB2/4 Mark I line produced 459 hatchback coupes, 102 drop head coupes and four Bertone-bodied convertibles. The DB2/4 Mark II era produced about 139 hatchback coupes, 34 fixed head coupes, 24 drop head coupes and two special Spiders produced by Touring.
Collectors will note that there are no bad Aston-Martins to consider from this era. As always, condition and provenance are paramount, as any Aston DB series will be an expensive purchase. U.S. sales figures hovered around 25-60 cars per year in this era, with the bulk of the remainder sold in the UK.