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Thursday, July 23, 2009

1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Mark ll - For Sale (Click Here)

Description:

Classic cars For Sale:
Chassis Number: AM300/1121. Engine Number: VB6J 676.
U.K. Registration Number: XKR 850. Date of first reg: 21st August 1956.
Exterior colour: Dark Blue Metallic. Interior colour: Red Leather.
Current Odometer reading: miles (Not Warranted).
Right Hand Steering, Manual transmission.
Painted Wire Wheels
Power Steering

Background: The DB2/4 Mark II was introduced at the London Motor Show; it shared the chassis and mechanical specification with its predecessor. The key changes were in the bodywork and reflected the fact that the body was built at Tickfords, the first Aston Martin to be built by the Newport Pagnell concern since its acquisition by David Brown in 1953. Although little changed in general appearance, the new car was longer, higher and heavier than the DB2/4. The differences were in the detail. A welcome raise in the roofline delivered more passenger headroom in the rear; however, the requirement to retain the same windscreen saw the gap filled by a wide chrome strip above the screen. The production process for the casting of the sills and door posts were changed and the bonnet/wing assembly simplified to allow the side panels behind the front wheel arches to remain fixed. It made the bonnet lighter but with no loss of engine access and allowed permanent ventilation to be added. As was the vogue at the time, rear fins were blended into the design and repeater indicators replaced the old semaphore units and the petrol filler was hidden behind a flap opened from inside the car. The changes in the indicators left a space that was disguised with a chrome strip with the Tickford badge proudly displayed below it. Interior changes were mostly about comfort - more lateral support in the seats, more headroom and courtesy switches for the interior lights. On the controls, Aston Martin had responded to the badgering of the media by replacing the umbrella style handbrake with a more sporting fly-off type. The standard engine specification was the 140 bhp version of the 2922 cc engine but with the option of having an uprated version which, through larger valves and a high lift cam delivered 165 bhp. Although the Works Race Department were focussed on the DB3S, sporting customers could order a plethora of extras for competition purposes. Customers could specify twin exhausts, close ratio gearbox, high compression pistons, 40 DCO Weber carburettors and Alfin brake drums. The Suez crisis at this time and its impact of petrol rationing undoubtedly had a significant impact of sales - only 199 were sold in the two years of its life. While the car was losing ground in performance to some of its rivals, John Bolster summarised his test for Autosport by calling the DB2/4 Mark II " a very sporting car that you can drive in a dinner jacket." Then in 1957 Aston Martin announced a price cut on the DB2/4 Mark II - at the time, they stated that the right hand drive sales had been adversely affected by the petrol crisis and this was an effort to bring sales in line with left hand drive models. Perhaps it was solid decision making by John Wyer, formerly the Race Manager and now General Manager of the Automotive Division, perhaps it was to clear the decks for the launch of the DB Mark III that was launched at Geneva and in the United States in March of that year.

Vehicle History: The history file on this wonderful collector car for sale DB2/4 Mark ll Drophead has a copy of the original build sheet as well as two folding log books. So whilst the early service and maintenance record for the car is a little hazy, the original specification and the identity of its earliest keepers are carefully recorded. Registered on 21st August 1956, the car was delivered 3 days later to a Mr JR Sharpe of Maidstone in Kent through the dealers, Martin Walter Limited. It is interesting to note the specification of the car which included a hand throttle control and "trafficators in lieu of winkers" - a customer who didn't like one of the Mark ll's improvements. In August 1963, the car changed hands and went to Richard Williams of Folkestone in Kent and five years later to John Higgins in the same town. In January 1970, the car was registered to a transport company in Ramsgate in Kent then in 1972 found its way to a Michael Simpson in Earls Court, London. In 1977, the last entry in the second folding log book shows ownership passing to Tim O'Rorke in London W11. It is in the ownership of Mr O'Rorke that the service history of the car resumes in the history file. Two other names appear on subsequent invoices - Ian Colquhoun of Thames Ditton and a Mr Crosby of Hunstanton - before the modern V5 Registration Document takes up the story with John Gibson of Newcastle acquired the car in 2000 before it finished its journey with the current owner in Prestwick in Scotland. So a journey of ownership from one end of the country to the other and we are pleased to say that the current owner took possession of the car and immediately commissioned specialist restorers, the Aston Workshop, to undertake a comprehensive restoration of the car. That restoration is recorded, not only in the work invoices, but also a comprehensive photographic record of the process.

Service and Restoration Records: The Aston Workshop had taken AM300/1121 into stock and commenced the dismantling of the car before the current owner acquired the project and there is a section of the restoration record valued at over £9,000, clearly annotated "The following work was carried out on DB2 Drophead prior to you purchasing the car." It goes on to record, in diary form, the careful removal of various parts of the car - the hood, the boot floor, the seats, the doors and, where appropriate, the use of removed parts, for example, the roof header rail, to make a template for a new part. This early work was carried out from 26th July 2001 through to 22nd April 2002, on which date it is noted that the engine, gearbox and propshaft were removed. The work continued after the current owner acquired the car with all areas of structural and cosmetic bodywork being attended to with corroded materials removed and new panels and sections fabricated where appropriate. The progress sheets note the correct procedure of TIG welding being used for aluminium panels and the photographic record will provide prospective purchasers of reassurance as to the thoroughness and quality of the workmanship. The engine was completely stripped and overhauled and converted to run on unleaded fuel and with the fitment of an uprated camshaft. The history file records that the engine was an early casualty of the owner's "shakedown" of the car on the completion of the rebuild. A consequence of an unforeseen failure of an internal part, the engine was completely rebuilt for a second time with a replacement cylinder block, crankshaft, con rods, pistons, oil pump timing chains, big end bearings, main bearings, main bearing cheeses, cylinder liners and inlet/exhaust valves. The current owner took the car to performance specialist Tim Samways in January 2008 when the cylinder head was refaced and new valve guides and springs were fitted. It offers the same level of reassurance as to the mechanical integrity of the car as there is in the bodywork. The suspension of the car was rebuilt with new uprated springs and reconditioned shock absorbers, the final element of this work is again courtesy of Tim Samways who was contracted to fit power steering and rebuild / reset the suspension and steering geometry in order to make the car better to drive in modern traffic conditions.

Summary: This Investment car Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark ll Drophead had a creditable history and service record with successive owners maintaining focus on its mechanical performance. The immaculate restoration of the car, together with the photographic record of that restoration adds another level of rationale to any prospective purchaser. The list of "nice to haves" in the restoration add immeasurably to the ownership pleasure of the car and lend emphasis to the quality of the restoration. A gas flowed cylinder head, a one off, stainless steel straight through exhaust system, a competition "banana" exhaust manifold, twin Alpine / normal switch -over horns, rebuilt instruments, Cosworth forged pistons, special "fast road" cam shaft, triple 40dcoe Weber carburettors, new steel crankshaft, high performance con roads and a brand new steering wheel made to the model of the old one. But the jewel in this particular crown the current owner's attention to finishing detail - the handling work done to the car and the addition of power steering make this car a pleasure to use in modern traffic conditions. With the burgeoning market for the Feltham built cars, this Tickford bodied drophead is worth urgent consideration.

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2 comments:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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