Just saying the name, Aston Martin, is enough to invoke images in the mind of James Bond and classic cars.
Today there may be few remnants of the heyday of the British motoring industry, but some classic names live on. The Aston Martin name is one of the all time classic British car manufacturers, and the 1953 DB2/4 is one of its most prestigious cars.
The DB2/4 was the firm’s family sports car model. With an additional two seats on top of its predecessor, the DB2, it also introduced a wraparound windscreen to the new car. The Aston Martin DB2/4 was expensive when brought new but it did provide some serious power and speed for the outlay.
The Aston Martin DB2/4 was ahead of its time, in addition to the wraparound windscreen, the car was fitted with large front and rear bumpers. The newly positioned headlights, though, were a result of government legislation rather than innovation.
The initial run for the rear wheel drive car had a Lagonda 125bhp 2.6-litre twin OHC ‘W.O. Bentley’ engine; this was replaced in 1954 by the more powerful 2.9-litre 140bhp engine. The engine was an I’ configuration with 6 cylinders. Brakes were Girling drums for both front and back sets. For its time the DB2/4 was one of the fastest cars on the British roads, topping out at 120mph.
In total there were 566 Mark I models produced in the two year production run. This run included 102 2-seat drophead coupes, whilst there was a further 12 rolling chassis made. Of the 12 rolling chassis Aston Martin delivered 8 to Bertone, the Italian car styling and coach building company. Of the 8 received in Turin, only four or five of them were turned into Spyders.
At Bertone, Franco Scaglione was the designer for the 1954 Spyders. Using the existing Aston Martin lines, Scaglione added sharpness to the car by introducing a crease along the extremities of the bumpers. The Spyders were commissioned by Stanley Harold Arnolt, who had a foldable top and removable rear windows incorporated into the build to make a truly exquisite automobile. The car was also finished off with three gauges in front of the steering wheel giving it a modern look to it.
The Aston Martin DB2/4 was aimed at an exclusive market, and a high retail price, equivalent to the cost of a decent sized house, and limited run ensured its exclusivity. The Bertone Spyder is one of the rarest conversions and the last time when one came on to the open market is raised $360,000 at the 2002 Christie’s Pebble Beach Auction.