Lot 166

London 2016

1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage


£185,000 - £215,000 GBP | Not Sold

United Kingdom | London, United Kingdom



Chassis No.
Engine No.
British Columbia Vehicle Registration
  • Original factory Vantage specification, with recent power upgrade
  • Matching-numbers engine
  • Known enthusiast ownership from new, with impressive history file
  • Career rally car; Mille Miglia eligible

180 bhp, 2,580 cc DOHC Vantage six-cylinder engine with dual SU carburettors, five-speed ZF S5-18/3 manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, trailing links, and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with coil springs, radius rods, and a Panhard anti-sway bar, and Girling four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,515 mm

Addendum: Please note that contrary to the printed catalogue description, this car is a 1953 model.

Made famous for its incredible motor racing success, most notably at the 1950 and 1951 Le Mans, the Aston Martin DB2 was the first of David Brown’s cars to bear his initials. Although later DB cars would gain a reputation for being a gentleman’s luxury grand tourer, the DB2 was a sports car through and through.

With somewhat lacklustre production figures surrounding the 2-Litre Sports, David Brown knew he could make a better, more powerful car to compete in the emerging enthusiast market of the early post-war period. Merging Lagonda’s impressive W.O. Bentley-designed six-cylinder engine with Aston Martin’s top-of-the-line chassis construction, he began production on the DB2 in early 1950. In 1951, the company offered, for the first time, a more powerful Vantage option which produced an increased standard power output of 125 brake horsepower. The DB2 impressively swept the field of motorsport, placing 1st in class at both the 1950 and 1951 Le Mans and the 1952 Mille Miglia.

The DB2 on offer here was delivered new to Mr R. Michalkiewicz of Kent on 23 April 1953. Chassis LML/50/390 was originally liveried in Moonbeam grey with a red leather interior. The year 1954 saw Michalkiewicz enter the RAC Rally, the Scottish International Rally, and an RAC Rally at Prescott. Minor bodywork repairs followed each rally, including the reinforcement of the bonnet frame by the factory. That same year, the car was fitted with a Works 4.1:1 differential by Aston Martin for these events, which is retains to this day.

At the end of 1954, Michalkiewicz sold his Aston to the wealthy 20-year-old enthusiast William Scott, who was an avid motorcycle racer and competed at the Isle of Man TT races on multiple occasions. He re-registered the car TPC 846 as Michalkiewicz retained the car’s original number plates. The Aston Martin Heritage Trust Archive hold records of AMOC member H.R. Fortescue JP, who continued to rally the car between 1970 and 1972, now registered TKR 51. Correspondence with Fortescue is included on file. The car was exported to Canada in 1974 and registered to Gilles Desroches of Montreal, who had the car painted burgundy and enjoyed it for a few years before selling it to Bruce Miller of Toronto in 1976 (shipping documents and correspondence with Desroches are also on file). The car passed through collector Homer Tsakis of New York before going to Paul Wilson of Fairfield, Virginia, who would own the car for 13 years. John Vardanian of Walnut Creek, California, purchased the DB2 in August of 1994. Vardanian painted the car French Racing Blue and added leather bonnet straps and some other accessories and drove it frequently during his ownership. It was then purchased by the current owner from Vardanian in 2002, and today it remains true to its rallying past.

In the present ownership, this DB2 has undergone an extensive yet sympathetic restoration. The interior has been refurbished except for the seats, which remain remarkably covered in the original red leather – too charming to replace. The exterior was properly stripped to bare metal before being resprayed in Ecurie Ecosse blue. During this time, every removable panel was taken off the car and rebuilt where required. Originality was of paramount concern and original trim and panels were retained wherever possible. Furthermore, it is important to note that during this process, the body number was found to be stamped on every panel and can also be found on numerous pieces of trim, further attesting to the DB2’s authenticity.

Mechanically, the DB2’s engine was fully rebuilt and upgraded to handle the extremes of modern rallies, maintaining the original Vantage engine. A special billet crankshaft made by Arrow Precision Engineering in concert with forged Venolia pistons, forged connecting rods, stainless steel valves, upgraded cams, and a lightened flywheel increased output to approximately 180 horsepower. Competition-type Alfin brake drums were added, as were new splined hubs, along with a new five-speed ZF gearbox, which was fitted to aid in cruising power (though the original gearbox survives and is provided). The past decade has seen the car rallied in the Canadian British Columbia 1000-mile Spring Thaw multiple times, and the Monte Shelton NW Classic, among many others. Following a freshening respray just last year along with an engine overhaul with about 2,000 miles of trouble-free cruising accumulated since, the car presents spectacularly and is surely ready for more rallies and tours.

LML/50/390 has been enthusiastically enjoyed for over 60 years on two continents and shows no signs of stopping. Cosmetically handsome and mechanically excellent, this DB2 will be a first-rate partner for any owner looking to make their mark on the contemporary vintage rally scene, perhaps even with an appearance at the Mille Miglia in its future.