ALL THE ROAD CARS 1930s-1950s

VANTAGE - - The Specialist | Gtc Engineering -

15/98 1937-1939

Us­ing the new 2-litre en­gine in wet-sump form, the 15/98 range (15 from the RAC rat­ing, 98 the peak bhp) in­cluded sa­loons and tour­ers, but they were heavy and hence slow (slow-sell­ing, too: a planned run of 100 cars was slashed to 50). Bet­ter was an at­trac­tive short-chas­sis road­ster (pic­tured). There was also a unique ‘mono­posto’ stream­lined sin­gle-seater de­signed to go for the 2-litre outer cir­cuit record at Brook­lands. The out­break of war meant it was put into ex­tended stor­age be­fore its po­ten­tial was re­alised.

DB2 1950-1953

The DB2 was the first of­fi­cially to wear the ini­tials of As­ton’s new owner, David Brown. It also fea­tured the mar­que’s first six-cylin­der en­gine – in fact a Lagonda unit de­signed un­der WO Bent­ley and picked up when Brown ac­quired Lagonda shortly af­ter bag­ging As­ton. This 2.6-litre twin-cam was ini­tially tem­per­a­men­tal, but once sorted it en­dowed the sleek, Frank Fee­ley-de­signed DB2 with im­pres­sive per­for­mance, es­pe­cially in 125bhp Van­tage form from 1951. A to­tal of 411 DB2S were built, in­clud­ing 102 drop­heads.

DB MKIII 1957-1959

The MKIII (note: not DB3) was ef­fec­tively the third se­ries of the DB2/4, but As­ton dropped the 2/4 nomen­cla­ture for its 1957-1959 range of coupes, drop­heads and fixed-heads. The lines were smoother and more pur­pose­ful, the grille pre­view­ing decades of As­tons to come, and even in its lowli­est tune the Wil­lie Wat­son six was now making well over 150bhp (up to 190bhp on triple We­bers). The MKIII ac­tu­ally over­lapped with the in­tro­duc­tion of the DB4 by sev­eral months, and to­tal pro­duc­tion of all three vari­ants hit 551.

2-litre Sports (DB1) 1948-1950

Ret­ro­spec­tively known as the DB1, the 2-litre Sports was the first As­ton Martin to ap­pear af­ter the Sec­ond World War and the first un­der the own­er­ship of wealthy in­dus­tri­al­ist David Brown. It was based largely on a pre-war pro­to­type known as the Atom, and it fea­tured re­fine­ments such as all-round coil spring sus­pen­sion as well as a new 2-litre pushrod four-cylin­der en­gine de­signed by Claude Hill. Lack­lus­tre per­for­mance, largely a re­sult of the heavy body­work, and a high price meant only 16 ex­am­ples were sold.

DB2/4 1953-1957

The ‘4’ tacked onto the end of the DB2’S ti­tle de­notes the ad­di­tion of two ex­tra seats. The 2+2 seat­ing was made more hab­it­able by a higher rear roofline, and there was a handy ‘hatch­back’ open­ing rear win­dow. The ex­tra weight slightly took the edge off the per­for­mance, so As­ton boosted ca­pac­ity to 2.9 litres in 1954, tak­ing power to 140bhp. The mkii of 1955 in­cor­po­rated a rear-end restyle, and there was also a rare ‘notch­back’ hard­top ver­sion of the drop­head. Around 750 DB2/4S were pro­duced in to­tal.

DB4/DB4 GT 1958-1963

The de­fin­i­tive As­ton shape was born with the DB4, the work of Ital­ian de­sign house Tour­ing, its ‘su­per­leg­gera’ alu­minium body­work be­ing wrapped around a steel plat­form. The DB4 also in­tro­duced a new, Tadek Marek-de­signed all-al­loy twin-cam straight-six, orig­i­nally in 240bhp 3.7-litre form. In all there were five se­ries of DB4S, each adding sub­tle re­fine­ments to the orig­i­nal for­mula. Van­tage ver­sions had 266bhp, and the short-wheel­base track­bi­ased GT a for­mi­da­ble 302bhp. To­tal pro­duc­tion: 1210.

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 3670cc, in-line 6 Power 240bhp @ 5500rpm Torque 240lb ft @ 4250rpm 0-60mph 9.0sec Top speed 140mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 2922cc, in-line 6 Power 162bhp @ 5500rpm Torque n/a 0-60mph 9.3sec Top speed 120mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 2580cc, in-line 6 Power 105bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph 12.4sec Top speed 116mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 2922cc, in-line 6 Power 140bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph 10.5sec Top speed 120mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1949cc, in-line 4 Power 98bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 85mph

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TION En­gine 1949cc, in-line 4 Power 90bhp Torque n/a 0-60mph n/a Top speed 93mph

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