In October 1953, Aston Martin launched the 2+2 DB2/4 as the successor to the successful DB2. A modified rear chassis and a smaller fuel tank created space within the existing design for two occasional rear seats. These could also be folded down to more than double the luggage space, which could be accessed via a hatchback rear door – at the predecessor, it had to be accessed through the inside only. The newcomer also was distinguishable from the DB2 by a slightly raised roofline, its one-piece windscreen and larger bumpers.
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.
Although it was not in the first place meant to be a racing car, the DB2/4 made an impressive career in this field. For example, in 1955, the Aston Martin Works entered three cars in the Monte Carlo Rallye, and one of them won the tournament.
The Aston Martin offered here reached the U.S. in 1954.
Nearly four decades later, in 1991, a professional racing team got hold of the car. Their plan was to take part in the Carrera Panamericana retrospective race the following year. But, we were told, first the car was entrusted to Automotive Restorations, Inc. of Stratford, Connecticut, to make it race-worthy. To our knowledge, Automotive Restorations did a thorough job, stripping the DB2/4 to bare metal to improve reliability, durability, and performance.
Obviously, comprehensive changes were made to achieve this. As can be seen today, the chassis was reinforced and the suspension and brakes reworked, while the transmission was re-built and the clutch upgraded. The original engine was replaced by a similar Aston Martin engine built to Vantage specifications by renowned Aston Martin specialists Steel Wings.
Special seats, six-point seat belts, a 34-gallon fuel tank and several more details were adjusted to adapt the car to rally situations. According to an older description of the car the total costs were more than US-$ 120,000.
And the investment paid off: As recorded in Volume #4, 1993, of “Vintage Sports Car Club of America Magazine”, the 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 offered here successfully competed in the 1992 Carrera Panamericana retrospective race. This 2,000-miles road race was originally run annually from 1950 to 1954 in five one-day stages, starting near the border from El Paso, Texas, to the Mexico-Guatemalan border. This event was comparable with the Mille Miglia and attracted high-powered European and American factory-sponsored teams such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, and others. The course was a mix of sprints and twisting roads through 10,000-foot elevations, so a real challenge for any car and driver.
Rank 5 was the final result of this particular DB2/4 in the 1992 edition of the Panamericana, so the preparation and race itself can be considered a true success. The car accomplished every stage of the tough course of the 2,000-mile event without incidents and marked some impressive times along the way.
We were told that a well-earned refreshment followed this participation in the La Carrera. The car’s engine was sent back to Steel Wings, while the rest of its major components were disassembled and serviced as needed. In the following years, LML/555 took part in VSCCA and AMOC events, and once set the fastest time for a DB2 at Lime Rock.
The DB2/4 found its friends on the show field, too. It could be seen at several events, including the Aston Martin Gathering at the Classic Sports Sunday at the Mar-a-Lago.
Competition-wise, its most recent event was the 2014 Hillclimb at the Elegance at Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The current German owner bought the car in 2016 in the USA and had it imported to Germany and road registered here as a classic car. He also had the car looked through and had a few things overhauled or replaced, like the exhaust pipe.
LML/555 would be an admission ticket to exclusive driving and vintage racing events. It has proven its capability by successfully finishing the Carrera Panamericana run, which turns it into a well-proven example of the desirable model.
We asked the expert Klaus Kukuk to thoroughly check the car. Kukuk is one of the most renowned motor vehicle experts with decades of experience and a vast expertise in the field of classic cars, sports cars and racing cars. His assessment can be made available to any serious buyers.
The car is available for an inspection by appointment only in 33415 Verl, Germany.