Amelia Island | Lot 124
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead Coupe
A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith
$346,500 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
10 March 2017
- An original American-delivery, left-hand-drive, Vantage-specification example
- One of only 98 DB2 drophead coupes built
- High-quality older restoration in classic colors
Est. 125 bhp, 2,580 cc DOHC Vantage inline six-cylinder engine with dual SU carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, trailing links, and anti-roll bar; live rear axle with coil springs, radius rods, and Panhard bar; and Girling four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 99.25 in.
Made famous by its incredible racing successes, in particular 1st in Class at both the 1950 and 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Aston Martin DB2 was the first of David Brown’s cars to bear the manufacturer’s initials. While later DB cars gained a reputation for being a gentleman’s luxury grand tourer, the DB2 was a sports car through and through, merging Lagonda’s impressive W.O. Bentley-designed six-cylinder engine with Aston’s own top-quality chassis construction.
In 1951, the company introduced its first Vantage engine option, a name that would come to stand for Aston Martin’s ultimate performance model. On the DB2, the Vantage engine bore larger intake valves crowned with bigger SU HV6 carburetors, good for an estimated 125 brake horsepower. This engine was an option through the end of production and grew increasingly more popular, as Aston’s performance-minded buyers adored the extra power. It is rare, however, to find the option in combination with the DB2 drophead coupe, in itself a great rarity, with only 98 examples built.
The car offered here is one of approximately 75 DB2 drophead coupes to have been originally built with left-hand drive, and one of fewer still originally fitted with a Vantage engine, both as noted in its original build sheet, a copy of which is on file. Delivery was made to original owner Louis Comito of 47 Revere Road, Roslyn Heights, Long Island, on 24 November 1953. Mr. Comito had his own imported car dealership in Huntington Station and was himself a gentleman sportsman who raced Alfa Romeo Giuliettas at Sebring later in the 1950s. The car later passed in the early 1970s to Charlie Turner of Atlanta (who, at one time or another, owned “every great Aston” during his heyday); to Gene Garratt of Brecksville, Ohio; to Albert Schneider of Cleveland, in 1975; to Aston Martin historian Nick Candee of Ohio, in 1979; to Everett Smith of Illinois, in 1981; and to Steve Mayo of Merrimack, New Hampshire, in 1984.
In the late 1990s, the DB2 received a complete, body-off restoration by Hyannis Restoration of Massachusetts, reportedly later freshened by Vantage Motors of Connecticut with a rebuild of the current Vantage-specification engine, number VB6B/50/1088. The body is finished in Fiesta Red with grey leather upholstery, piped in red; red carpeting; and a black cloth top by Johan Merkhofer, known as the “go-to” trimmer for Astons in the Northeast. The restoration work shows only light patina and remains extremely presentable; the finish shows minor checking and cracking in stress areas but has a fine shine, and the interior is still tight and excellent. Overall the car is a very high-point driver, the position that it proudly occupied in the Smith Collection, recording 1,135 miles at the time of cataloguing. Invoices are on file for $32,172 of work performed for Mr. Smith by the respected Miami firm Vantage Motorworks (not to be confused with the aforementioned restorers in CT), including servicing and a partial rebuild of the engine with new timing gear, installation of electronic ignition, and services to the radiator and carburetors. Another $2,152 was spent installing an improved fan to cool the engine during Florida summers.
An excellent DB2 Vantage drophead, of the best equipment and configuration, this car is ripe for future enjoyment in the tours, rallies, and AMOC North America activities of a new owner’s choice.