The need to widen the appeal of the already-successful DB2 resulted in the launch of the 2+2 DB2/4 in October 1953. Modifications to the rear of the chassis plus a reduction in fuel tank capacity from 19 to 17 gallons liberated sufficient space within the existing design for two child-sized occasional rear seats. Alternatively, the rear seat backs could be folded down, thus creating a load-carrying platform that more than doubled the luggage space, the latter being accessed via a hatchback rear door – one of this now-common feature’s earliest applications. In addition, a raised roofline, one-piece windscreen, larger bumpers and other detail styling changes differentiated the newcomer from its predecessor.
Technically, the DB2/4 remained much the same as the DB2, employing the latter’s rectangular-tube chassis, trailing arm independent front suspension and well-located live rear axle. The W.O. Bentley-designed, 2.6-liter, six-cylinder, twin-cam power unit came in tuned (125bhp) Vantage specification as standard for the 2/4. Despite this, the redesign’s inevitable weight gain was not fully compensated for until the arrival of the 3.0-liter, DB3S-derived, 140bhp engine in 1954. The car’s top speed was now 118mph, with 60mph reached in around 11 seconds.
The DB2/4 was never intended to be a racing car but did have an impressive competition career, which began early in 1955 when the Aston Martin Works entered three cars in the Monte Carlo Rally. Reg Parnell was partnered by motor racing photographer Louis Klemantaski in one car, Peter Collins and Graham Whitehead shared the second, while the third was crewed by two former Monte winners, Dutchman Maurice Gatsonides ad Frenchman Marcel Becquart. Parnell and Collins put themselves out of the competition by going flat-out from the start and getting penalized for arriving at the checkpoints too early. Parnell was then disqualified before the car got back to Monte Carlo, but Collins was able to continue and won the traditional race around the Monaco GP Circuit. Gatsonides and Becquart led the rally until they passed a secret time-check, and dropped to seventieth place. They were awarded the RAC Trophy for ‘Comfort and Safety’ for their impressive performance.
DB2/4 production had amounted to 565 cars by the time of the MkII’s introduction in October 1955, only some 73 of which were Drophead Coupes. Today, these smart-looking, hand-built Aston Martins are high on collector’s lists worldwide, prized for their enviable blend of elegance, performance and usability.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
First shown to the public at the 1953 Earls Court Motor Show, the DB2/4 succeeded the two seat only DB2 and is widely thought to be the fist ever production car with Hatchback access to the rear.
Retaining the W O Bentley designed 2.6 litre twin cam 6-cylinder engine, the DB2/4 satisfied the demand for 2+2 seating, whilst retaining the performance of the race bred DB2.
Over the 2 years of production, just 565 examples were built. Delivered when new via Aston Martin agents Brooklands of Bond Street in 1954. Mulliner bodied and finished in Blue Haze with mid Blue hides and contrasting piping chassis LML/631 was first registered KMR 567 in 1954, this number being retained on the car to today.
A succession of recorded keepers follows, before single ownership between 1973 – 1993. After some 20 years of ownership, the car was resold in 1994 requiring restoration. Commencing some 15 years later, the body off and total restoration was been completed in 2014 to concours standard by professional restorers, leaving no aspect of the car untouched. A comprehensive photographic record, with detailed statements of the restoration, clearly shows the extent and detail of the restoration works completed.
Subsequently used only occasionally, for show and display purposes the car is in particularly outstanding condition. Resplendent in its original colours, with matching number engine and original registration, KMR 567 is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of the DB2/4 we have seen and is ready to be enjoyed or grace any of the finest collections.