1950 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage

Sold For £302,400

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - LONDON 7 SEPTEMBER 2015

Chassis No.
Engine No.

Documents: US Title

  • The very first Aston Martin Vantage; sold new to renowned amateur racer Bill Spear
  • Participant in the inaugural Sebring six-hour race; finished 2nd in class
  • Rare “washboard” three-piece front grille; one of just three built to Vantage specification
  • Eligible for the Mille Miglia and Le Mans Classic

125 bhp, 2,580 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder engine with twin SU HV6 carburettors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with a trailing link, coil springs, and Armstrong lever dampers, live Salisbury rear axle with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,515 mm

This DB2, chassis number LML/50/19, is thought to be the first-ever Aston Martin Vantage. The Vantage-specification engine referred to the use of larger SU HV6 carburettors and a higher 8.16:1 compression ratio, combining to achieve 125 brake horsepower at 5,000 rpm.

This Aston Martin was the 19th DB2 of any variation built, and it is one of just three DB2 Vantages to feature the “washboard” triple grille. Factory build sheet records confirm that it was originally finished in Red with “Rust”-coloured trim and fitted with engine number LB6V/50/240. It also received racing valves, a distributor, three spare wheels and tyres, two spare carburettors, and the latest-type brake shoes. Clearly, its first owner intended to campaign chassis number LML/50/19, and the car was delivered in a specification that would enable it to compete at the highest level.

Adding to its special history, that first owner of chassis LML/50/19 was none other than William “Bill” Spear, the wealthy amateur American racer and close friend of Briggs Cunningham, the famed American gentleman racer and sports car builder. The car was supplied to Spear through New York agent Hoffman Motor Car Co. and delivered to him on 8 December 1950. In the same month it was delivered, Spear entered his DB2 into the first-ever Sebring six-hour race on 31 December 1950. George Rand and George Marshall piloted the car in the Sam Collier Memorial Grand Prix of Endurance, wearing #9, and it would go on to finish a very respectable 15th overall and 2nd in class. The car was later featured in The Sebring Story by Alec Ulmann, the chairman of activities and founder of the Sebring races.

With a continuous racing history, chassis number LML/50/19 has resided for most of its life in the US. In 1978, it was then purchased by an Aston Martin enthusiast in Portland, Oregon, who retained the car for more than 30 years, regularly campaigning it in various HMSA events in Portland and Laguna Seca.

Prior to its participation in the 2009 Mille Miglia Storica, the car was sent to renowned American Aston Martin specialist Kevin Kay for work on such items as the wiring, lights, and new front spring towers. Whilst no major mechanical work was needed, the car underwent a thorough investigation, primarily for safety, in order to complete the gruelling course, which it did with relative ease. This car remains eligible for participation in the increasingly popular Mille Miglia, an event at which its legs could be stretched and in which the first Aston Martin Vantage would surely be welcomed, once again.

Chassis number LML/50/19 remains an incredibly important Aston Martin, as it is the first in a long and distinguished bloodline of AM Vantages. Adding to its rarity is the fact that it is just one of three early Vantages with the “washboard” grille and it was raced in period by the renowned Bill Spear. Wearing its patina well, this car represents a fantastic opportunity in which to campaign on the historic racing circuit, just as the first Aston Martin Vantage surely should!

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