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