1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk I ‘barn find / restoration project’
Aston Martin has produced bespoke sports cars for over 100 years. The company began in 1913, when founders Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford realised their desire to build distinctive, high quality sports cars that were both exhilarating to drive and a beauty to behold. Martin regularly competed in hill climb races at Aston Clinton, and a simple combination of the name of the event and the driver gave birth to one of the most famous automotive marques. Source: www.astonmartin.com.
Whilst Aston Martin produced some wonderful cars in their early years, business was always a struggle and the company was severely disrupted during both World War I and II. The company went bankrupt on more than one occasion and has endured many different owners throughout its history.
David Brown acquired Aston Martin in February 1947 and the first car produced during his ownership was the Aston Martin 2 Litre Sports, later known as the DB1, which was built in extremely limited numbers from 1948 to 1950. This was succeeded by the Aston Martin DB2 in 1950, which featured a new double overhead cam straight six engine of 2.6 litre (2580 cc) capacity, and was a car that really put post war Aston Martin on the map. Some 411 cars were built from 1950 to 1953, of which circa 100 were the convertible or drop head coupes. Its successor, known as the DB2/4, was first shown at the London Motor Show in 1953 and production started soon thereafter. Initially the car had the same engine as its predecessor, however, it was enlarged to 2922cc in April 1954. Compared to the DB2 the DB2/4 had an extended roof line with a larger rear window, a one piece curved windscreen and ‘real’ bumper bars. The biggest difference between the two cars was inside the cabin where the successor had far more room with two small occasional rear seats. The DB2/4 sold well through until 1957. In total 764 DB2/4’s were built which included 565 of the Mk I’s and 199 of the Mk II’s. The biggest change for the Mk II was that the bodies were made ‘in-house’ by the recently acquired Tickford Coachbuilding Works in Newport Pagnell, otherwise the differences between the Mk I and Mk II were subtle. The DB2/4 was available as a four seat fixed head coupe or two seat drop head coupe from the start of production with a two seat coupe introduced on the Mk II. The DB2/4 MkII was succeeded by the DB MkIII and 551 examples were built from 1957 through until 1959.
The David Brown era was arguably Aston Martin’s finest with the company winning LeMans in 1959 and the iconic early DB series cars of the 1950’s paving the way for the legendary DB4, DB5 and DB6 models of the 1960’s.
Oldtimer Australia is proud to offer a 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 MkI ‘barn find / restoration project’.
The Aston Martin build sheets and factory records on file confirm that this example was sold on the 16th May 1955 to a Mr Anthony Shead from London SW1 in the UK. The car was delivered new in black with a beige interior and it was originally registered as CRC777. The records note five subsequent owners and significant maintenance works carried out regularly through until May 1966. The car looks to have had an interesting early life and there is a notation on the 30th November 1959 stating:‘T’ type block replaced. The car has also had a few speedo changes throughout its life so we are unsure of its exact mileage.
There is an MOT on file dated 29th March 1973, issued by Peach’s Garage, Thatcham, and the car is noted as being registered as 774DXB and the recorded mileage as 20,912 miles.
There is also a photo of the car on file, wearing number 23, competing in the Aston Martin Owner’s Club Hill Climb on the 14th of April 1973. There is a second similar photo of the car, though this time wearing number 26, competing in the same event 12 months later. In both these photos the car is showing the registration 774DXB. At that time the car was owned by a Mr AJ House. There are entry tags or scrutineers tags on file for both events.
The car was sold and imported into Australia shortly thereafter and there is a NSW registration certificate on file dated the 9th of September 1975 in the name of Lance Hill from Bowral in the NSW highlands. At that time the car was registered as LH 711.
Mr Hill was an old school gentleman racer and antique store owner who had a passion for collecting cars. Interestingly, this car was sparingly used and it remained parked up in a shed for almost 40 years covered in leaves and dust! Unfortunately Mr Hill passed away in 2018 and the car was sold from his estate in late 2019 as a real ‘barn find’ to a classic car enthusiast who lived in northern NSW. The car’s new owner started to disassemble the car but didn’t get far and progress stopped due to his ill health. Soon after purchasing the car the engine was started but it was found to have a blown head gasket which was probably the reason why it was parked up all those years ago!
Apart from the removal of some loose debris and leaves the car is presented today as it was when removed from its storage shed after 40 years of slumber in 2019.
This Aston Martin DB2/4 is incredibly original and it may well retain its original paint and trim. The car must have been very well stored as it has survived the passages of time and it is in remarkably good condition for a ‘barn find’. We have had a look at the car on the hoist and the underside is also in surprisingly good condition. The chassis looks to be structurally very good. The car has an aluminium body, however, there is some rust evident in the bottom of the doors (the frame underneath) which is steel. The car has had an engine block change, most likely in November 1959, which is very common for these early Aston Martins. Importantly, it still retains a period correct Aston Martin block. The car also retains its original Aston Martin ID plate.
Accompanying the car is its original Aston Martin DB2/4 handbook, workshop manuals, Aston Martin build sheets & factory records, an original MOT from 1973, some period photos and its original NSW registration certificate from 1975.
The car looks to be complete and it presents an incredibly unique opportunity for someone to return this fabulous old car to its former glory.
- Aston Martin DB2/4 MkI
- 23,521 miles