Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark II Fixed Head Coupe Notchback

David Brown was very keen on motor racing, and so the first DB2s were actually Factory Works cars which ran quickly and reliably in a variety of races.

A quick look at the mechanical specifications of the DB2 is therefore in order. The engine, a 2.6-litre DOHC inline six-cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, had originally been conceived for Lagonda by Willie Watson under the supervision of Lagonda’s Chief Engineer W.O. Bentley. Depending upon carburetion, compression ratio and cam configuration, this produced in the range of 120 to 150 brake horsepower. David Brown’s Gear Division built the four-speed transmission, which transferred the power through a nine-inch Borg & Beck clutch to a Salisbury rear axle.

The chassis, a very early space-frame configuration, supported a modern independent front coil spring suspension with trailing arms, a transverse torsion bar and Armstrong shock absorbers. The live rear axle was also coil-sprung and located by parallel trailing arms and a transverse Panhard Rod. This was all very advanced, considering that the Jaguars, Ferraris and other marques of the time made-do with essentially “buggy springs” for nearly two decades following Aston’s introduction of four-wheel coil spring suspension in 1949! Twelve-inch drum brakes with a friction area of 152 square inches provided ample stopping, and a 20-gallon fuel tank ensured an adequate continental touring range.

After production ceased at the end of 1952, a little over 400 DB2s had been made. In 1953 this gentleman's sports car grew to a four-place saloon, now called the DB2/4. Fastback bodywork was designed as the standard configuration, effectively creating the world's first modern hatchback. From mid-1954, a new 3.0-litre engine block was developed, generating 140 bhp. This translated into a genuine 120 mph top speed.

The MkII version of the DB2/4 was introduced in 1955, featuring a redesigned bonnet and dashboard and, for the first time, two individual bucket seats in place of the bench of the earlier cars. With the introduction of the Mark II version of the DB2/4, Aston Martin offered a car with a third body style, called the fixed head coupé, which was also commonly known as the “Notchback.” This very attractive car had similar accommodations to the drophead but was priced the same as the more versatile three-door saloon. The occasional rear seats provide more cabin room due to a slightly higher roof line at the rear. As with the other Mark IIs, these bodies were made at the famous Tickford coachbuilding facility in Newport Pagnell. During just two years of production, only 34 examples were completed, making them some of the rarest and most desirable of all the 1950s Aston Martins.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

140 hp at 5,000 rpm, 2,922 cc inline twin cam six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with trailing links, coil springs and torsion bar and hydraulic lever-arm shock absorbers with rear live axle located by parallel radius arms and Panhard rod, with coil springs and hydraulic lever-arm shock absorbers, Girling front disc brakes, 12" drums in the rear. Wheelbase: 99"

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark II Fixed Head Coupe Notchback