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Aston Martin DB 1 (1948 - 1950)
our thanks to www.astonmartins.com


Aston Martins three car entry to Le Mans in 1949 included a car which represents to prototype to the DB2. This car featured a coupe body designed by Frank Freeley, tubular chassis similar to the DB1 by Claude Hill and a 2.6 litre six cylinder, twin overhead cam engine by Willie Wilson (but under the supervision of W.O.Bentley) from the Lagonda company (recently purchased by David Brown). The car was not successful due to a water pump failure, but did finish third at the 1949 Spa race.

The DB2 production car was first shown in April 1950 at the New York Motor Show. Demand was incredibly strong and Astons were not able to build cars fast enough. The success of the team cars  during the 1950 Le Mans 24 hour race (hastily snatched from the production line) will certainly have made the DB2 a more attractive car to the post war sporting motorist.

During a production run of three years a total of 411 DB2's were built including 102 examples of an attractive drophead coupe.

db2  Tim Cottingham 2002

The early cars (the first 49) feature a three part grille similar to that of the DB1, a large rectangular side vent behind each front wheel and bright trim along the side beneath the door.

The three part grille was replaced by a simpler arraignment of horizontal bars, which lasted through to the DB2/4 mark 2 in 1957. The rear 'boot' lid is really for entry to the spare wheel. Since the DB2 is strictly a two seater, there's plenty of space for luggage behind the seats. This particular car has the addition of indicators which were not available from the factory when the car was new.

db2  Tim Cottingham 2002 db2  Tim Cottingham 2002


This DB2 was privately entered at Le Mans, finishing well in both 1951 and 1952. And the car is still racing today as I pictured this in the paddock at Donnington Park at the AMOC race meeting in 1997 and racing in 1999.

Low weight together with an six cylinder , twin overhead cam engine of 2580cc initially producing 105bhp, made the DB2 a very quick car for the time.  Motor tested the DB2 to a maximum of 110mph, with a 0-60 time of 12.4 seconds. Post war low octane 'pool' kept the compression ration low at 6.5 to 1

From January 1951, an optional 125bhp Vantage engine with bigger carburettors and a 8.2 to 1 compression ratio made the DB2 even quicker. At this time, the 'vantage' option represented a more powerful engine but nothing else. Access to the engine is easy with the massive front hinged single piece.

db2  Tim Cottingham 2002 db2  Tim Cottingham 2002 db2  Tim Cottingham 2002

Designer Frank Feeley
dimensions & weights
Wheelbase 2515 mm 99 in  
Track front 1372 mm 54 in  
rear 1372 mm 54 in  
Length 4299 mm 169.3 in  
Width 1651 mm 65 in  
Height 1359 mm 53.5 in  
Kerb weight 1207 kg 2661 lb  
Type S-6
12 valves total
2 valves per cylinder
Bore stroke 78.00mm 90.00mm
3.07 in 3.54 in
Bore/Stroke ratio 0.87
Displacement 2580 cc
(157.441 cu in)
Unitary capacity 430 cc/cylinder
Compression ratio 6.50:1
Fuel system 2 SU carbs
Aspiration Normal
Max. output 106.5 PS (105.0 bhp) (78.3 kW)
@5000 rpm
Max. torque 169.0 Nm (125 lbft) (17.2 kgm)
@3100 rpm
Coolant Water
Specific output 40.7 bhp/litre
0.67 bhp/cu in
Specific torque 65.5 Nm/litre
0-50mph (80 km/h) 9.90s
0-60mph 12.40s
Top speed 177 km/h
Power-to-weight 86.99 bhp/ton
Engine location Front
Engine alignment Longitudinal
Drive RWD
Top gear ratio 1.00
Final drive ratio 3.77