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Lot 270

1950 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Saloon

  • Chassis no. LML/50/19

Sold for €291.200


Twin overhead camshaft 2,580 cc inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed centre-change DB gearbox, independent front suspension with trailing link, coil springs and Armstrong lever dampers, live Salisbury rear axle with coil springs, front and rear hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,515 mm (99")

This superb DB2 was sold new to William “Bill” Spear, wealthy amateur American racer and a close friend of Briggs Cunningham, the famed American gentleman racer and sports car builder. In fact, the two of them each ordered a new DB2 in November 1950, two years before they would race a Cunningham C-4R at Le Mans and finish fourth overall.

LML/50/19 is the 19th car built, an original right-hand drive example and one of the very rare cars with the early three-piece front grille and side vents. It was supplied to Spear through New York agent Hoffman Motor Car Co. and delivered to him on 8th December 1950. Factory build sheet records confirm that it was red with rust-coloured trim and with the engine (no. LB6V/50/240) fitted with racing valves, distributor, three spare wheels and tyres, two spare carburettors and the latest type brake shoes. It is, according to the AMOC, the first Vantage-engined Aston Martin in the world. The Vantage specification engine referred to larger SU carburettors as well as a higher compression ratio engine giving 125 bhp at 5,000 rpm.

Spear entered LML/50/19 into the first ever Sebring six-hour race on 31st December 1950 in the Sam Collier Memorial Grand Prix of Endurance, where Rand & Marshall drove it (car number 9) and finished second in class, 15th overall. The car was later featured in The Sebring Story by Alec Ulmann, Chairman of Activities and founder of the Sebring races. Thereafter, Spear continued to campaign his Vantage-spec Aston in various SCCA events on the east coast of the U.S.

According to Mr. Neil Murray, AMHT/AMOC Registrar, the Aston Club has had contact with the car for most years since 1962. By 1978, a well known Aston Martin enthusiast in Portland, Oregon purchased LML/50/19 and kept it for over 30 years, regularly campaigning it in HMSA events. By then it had been painted in the current matte grey, but one can still see much of the original red in the spare wheel area and in other locations. The interior is lovely and original too, with deep red leather seats and grey trim.

Upon its acquisition by the current owner, it was sent to Aston Martin specialist Kevin Kay to have it fettled, with such things as the wiring, lights and new front spring towers. The original polished DB2 wheels were replaced with period correct but more understated black wires. No major mechanical work was needed, although a thorough check, primarily for safety, was conducted. A new set of Vredestein tyres were fitted just before the car was shipped to Europe to make its debut in the 2009 Mille Miglia Storica, wherein it performed beautifully.

The engine sounds and feels very strong with an excellent gearbox. It should be noted that the engine number is missing on the timing case cover – a common occurrence on these early Aston Martins. So far as is known, the engine has been in the car at least since the 1960s and is understood to be the original unit. The vendor discovered on the Mille Miglia that when this Aston was driven in tandem with a modern car, the DB2 was doing 75 mph at 3,000 rpm, thus with plenty more speed on tap. The interior shows a charming patina, and the vendor describes it as “lovely, with of course some rattles but genuinely delightful to drive.” The roll bar was fitted many years ago, and the vendor has also fitted new, period-style lap belts for safety.

Complete with a current FIVA passport, this is altogether an important, early-chassis DB2 with period race history that carries the distinction of being the first Vantage Aston Martin in the world.

FRENCHTEXT

Moteur à deux arbres a cames en tête, 6 cylindres en ligne, 2580 ccm, boîte de vitesses manuelle DB a 4 rapports, suspension avant indépendante à tirants, ressorts hélicoïdaux et amortisseurs Armstrong à bras de levier, pont arrière rigide Salisbury avec ressorts hélicoïdaux, freins hydrauliques a tambours avant et arrières. Empattement: 2,515 mm (99")

Cette superbe DB2 fut vendue neuve a William “Bill” Spear, pilote amateur Américain fortuné et ami proche de Briggs Cunningham, le célèbre gentleman driver Américain et constructeur de voitures de sport. Ainsi ils avaient chacun commandé une DB2 neuve en Novembre 1950, deux ans avant de partager le volant d’une Cunningham C-4R au Mans finissant quatrièmes au classement général.

LML/50/19 est la 19éme construite, une conduite a droite d’origine et une des très rares versions avec la grille du modèle initial avec la calandre à trois éléments et prises d’air latérales. Elle fut fournie a Spear par le concessionnaire de New York Max Hoffman Motor Car Co. et lui fut livrée le 8 Décembre 1950. Les fiches d’assemblage de l’usine confirment qu’elle était rouge avec intérieur couleur rouille et le moteur (no. LB6V/50/240) comprenant des soupapes version course, un distributeur, trois roues et pneus supplémentaires et une nouvelle version de sabots de freins. Elle est, d’après l’AMOC (Aston Martin Owners Club) la toute première Aston Martin a moteur Vantage au monde. Le moteur type Vantage bénéficiait de carburateurs SU plus généreux et d’un taux de compression plus élevé produisant 125ch a 5000tr/min.

Spear engagea LML/50/19 dans la toute première édition des six heures de Sebring, le 31 Décembre 1950, pour le Sam Collier Memorial of endurance. Elle y fût pilotée par Rand & Marshall (avec le numéro 9) et termina seconde de sa classe, 15éme au général.

L’auto fût plus tard évoquée en détail dans le livre The Sebring Story par Alec Ulmann, fondateur et directeur des courses de Sebring. Par la suite Spear continua à participer avec son Aston Vantage dans diverses courses SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) sur la côte est des USA.

D’après Mr. Neil Murray, responsable du Registre AMOC/AMHT, le Club Aston a été en contact quasiment ininterrompu avec l’auto depuis 1962. En 1978 un passionné d’Aston Martin bien connu de Portland, Oregon acquit LML/50/19 et la garda pendant plus de 30 ans, participant régulièrement avec dans des courses HMSA (Historic Motor Sports Association). Elle avait précédemment été peinte dans le gris actuel mais on peut clairement entrevoir le rouge original dans l’emplacement de roue de secours et autres recoins. L’intérieur est en très bon état et d’origine, avec des sièges au cuir rouge vif et un garnissage gris.

Après son achat par le propriétaire actuel, elle fût envoyée chez le spécialiste Aston Martin Kevin Kay, pour un examen approfondi comprenant la réfection du circuit électrique des feux et l’installation de nouvelles embases de ressorts avant. Les roues originales DB2 polies furent remplacées par roues à rayons noires, correctes pour l’époque mais plus discrètes. Aucun travail mécanique important ne s’avéra nécessaire, cependant une inspection très complète eut lieu, principalement axée sur la sécurité. Un nouveau train de pneus Vredestein fut monté juste avant le départ de l’auto vers l’Europe pour faire son début dans les Mille Miglia Storica en 2009, elle y donna toute satisfaction.

Le moteur tourne rond avec un très bon rendement et une boite excellente. Il faut noter que le numéro du moteur manque sur le carter de volant moteur, chose courante parmi ces premières Aston Martins. Pour autant que l’on sache ce moteur a été dans l’auto depuis au moins les années soixante et est estimé être le moteur original. Aux Mille Miles alors qu’il roulait en tandem avec une voiture moderne le propriétaire actuel nota que cette DB2 roulait a 120km/h a 3000 tours/minute et qu’il en restait donc beaucoup sous la pédale. L’intérieur est patiné de manière agréable a l’œil et l’actuel propriétaire décrit l’auto comme étant “très plaisante avec bien sur un peu de vacarme mais réellement délicieuse a conduire.” l’arceau de sécurité fut installé il y a fort longtemps et l’actuel propriétaire a installé des ceintures de sécurité deux points neuves mais du style de l’époque.

Cette DB2 Offerte avec un passeport FIVA à jour, est une auto importante avec le châssis première version et la distinction d’être la toute première Aston Martin Vantage au monde.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

Cameron Smyth

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Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

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David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

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Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

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Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more