Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, the Brem­garten… XMC’S dis­tin­guished rac­ing ca­reer

VANTAGE - - Track Test Db2 Lightweight -

COM­PLETED IN EARLY 1951, XMC 76 made its de­but at the BRDC In­ter­na­tional Tro­phy meet­ing at Sil­ver­stone in May, Reg Parnell fin­ish­ing 6th over­all and first in class. The die was cast. Six weeks later at Le Mans, Parnell and David Hamp­shire brought it home in 7th place over­all and 3rd in the 3-litre class. It was a good year for As­ton at Le Mans. John Wyer re­marked in his book Rac­ing with the david brown As­ton­martins: ‘With five cars start­ing and five fin­ish­ing, the 1951 Le Mans was one of our finest hours and did us an enor­mous amount of good.’

The fi­nal race of 1951 was the Tourist Tro­phy at Dun­drod, where Brian Shawe-tay­lor took the car to 7th over­all and 2nd in class at 79mph – and that was on Ir­ish B-roads! In 1952, while the DB3 was hav­ing teething prob­lems, the DB2 was still prov­ing a valu­able car in the works team.

In May, Reg Parnell took the car to Italy for the rugged Mille Miglia road race. Af­ter 13 hours he fin­ished 13th over­all and 2nd in class: an in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment. Just two weeks later, it made its fi­nal works ap­pear­ance, at the spec­tac­u­lar Brem­garten cir­cuit in the Prix de Berne, Parnell driv­ing it to 5th over­all. Its works days were over – al­most.

In 1954 Tommy Wis­dom, with sup­port from the works, en­tered the Alpine Rally in XMC but an­other car col­lided with it and forced its re­tire­ment. An­gela Brown, the boss’s daugh­ter, also raced it at AMOC Sil­ver­stone in 1954, fin­ish­ing 2nd. There­after the car was rested, though in re­cent years it has been used reg­u­larly by en­thu­si­as­tic own­ers. It was re­built in the 1990s by Rex Woodgate and then raced by Rowan Atkin­son. Now in its sev­enth decade of com­pe­ti­tion, it con­tin­ues to be a trusty rac­ing car.

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