1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage

Photos provided by the vendor


  • One of only 411 made
  • Older restoration, from the mid-80s to 1995
  • Upgraded for rally performance with an impressive balance of modernity and traditionalism  
  • Participated in Three Castles from 2013 to 2016 
  • Participated with honours at the Scottish Malts Rally 2016
  • FIVA Identity Card

The Appeal

Introduced in 1950, and built around the company’s recent acquisition of Lagonda, the DB2 was not a long-lived model, but was a highly prized one. Fitted with a rather advanced Lagonda straight-six - with dual overhead camshafts, this was a model that practically set Le Mans alight. 

This was only further cemented with the offering of Aston Martin’s first Vantage upgrade, with larger carbs and higher compression pistons. It was, sadly, badly timed, and in Post-War austerity, unsuitable for the Pool petrol-restricted British market. It was perhaps this that cemented the car’s short life - by 1953, production was over, with the majority of the meagre 411 built going to the United States. 

This example has an interesting, storied history - but things really got interesting in 2012, when the car was given a thorough rework into a highly-impressive rally-ready monster, with a highly impressive 169bhp - a 35% power increase from the standard ‘Vantage.’ Following this, it participated in four years of the Three Castles Rally, and the 2016 Scottish Malts. 

It now carries a FIVA identity card and comes to us in simply exceptional order, with the vendor reporting over £100,00 spent, and having previously been offered for £259,995.

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The History and Paperwork

The following history has been supplied to us by the vendor:

  • First registered in 1953 in Sussex
  • Second ownership began in 1957
  • Third owner in 1964
  • Fourth owner took it off the road in 1966
  • In 1985 it was purchased by an enthusiast who started a thorough restoration
  • The vendor informs us this restoration has a complete photographic record and log
  • This restoration included over 560 miles dedicated to the bodywork alone
  • Following this, it was sold again, then sold to the 7th owner in 2012
  • Going through two more keepers, the previous began a full upgrade for rally spec
  • Class winner at the 2013 Three Castles Rally
  • Displayed at the Aston Martin Owner’s Club Stand at the NEC Classic Car Show in 2013
  • Participated at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Three Castles
  • Class honours at the 2016 Scottish Malts Rally
  • Granted a FIVA Identity Card in 2017
  • Mille Miglia eligible
  • Brakes reportedly overhauled in 2019
  • Gearbox reportedly fettled in 2020
  • Sold to the current owner in 2021
  • MOT expired in October 2022, however, the car has passed every year since at least 2006
  • The vendor informs us that the paperwork file includes:
    • Buff log book
    • Collection of MOT certificates
    • Record of restoration
    • Numerous invoices
    • Rally records (including numerous stickers in the car’s rear right-hand window)

The Interior

  • Car originally rolled off the production line with red upholstery
  • The car matches this description, but due to the vehicle’s age, is likely to be retrimmed
  • Impressive red textured dashboard with wood trimmed binnacle and steering wheel
  • Red leather seating and door cards
  • Fitted with a Brantz Rally Metre, inertia seatbelts, cutoff switches and fire extinguisher

Impressively presented, this red-and-walnut interior is a stylish example of how a vintage can be lovingly upgraded to rally spec, without losing any of its period styling or elegance. This sporty DB2’s cabin still feels impressively original. 

The retrimmed seats are covered in a supple-looking red leather, with both driver and passenger seat displaying no rips or tears we can discern. There’s a really charming patina on show, with gentle creasing and a deep grain making this example’s seats highly beguiling. The rear of the cabin is nicely carpeted, which flows through into the footwells with no visible damage we can spot.

The dashboard’s red leather covering is showing some signs of wear, albeit light, and the wood panel is nicely presented, with every instrument looking to be in superb order, clean and readable with only the slightest patina to the chromework. The knobs and switches are nicely presented and affably tactile throughout. 

One of the compartments has been opened to install a period-accurate oil temperature gauge and the underside of the dash is mounted with a Brantz rally meter. The car is also fitted with the necessary rally toggles, inertia seatbelts and a fire extinguisher. 

The door cards and headlining are in fine fettle, with nothing that raises any concerns upon inspection. It appears to be an excellent example of a competition-ready classic. 

The Exterior 

  • Highly impressive design with an iconic grille, steeply curved wings and finely presented cabin
  • Black paintwork with chrome trims 
  • Chrome wire wheels with Michelin Pilot 600 16 Road Racing Tyres
  • Rally stickers still on display

With its impressive spots of post-war design, the DB2 is a highly distinctive car. It carries an impressive period personality, with just the slightest signs of retro-futurism in its curvy, extravagantly pillared shape - completed with the predecessor to that oh-so-familiar grille we all know and love. 

This example has been cossetted nicely, and looks to be in excellent condition - we can’t spot any dents or dings in the bodywork, while the paintwork is carrying the slightest signs of use around the doors, arches and sills. The chromework still contrasts very nicely, with soft signs of patina. 

The glasswork and lenses are in excellent order, with no chips or cracks, and the rear driver’s-side window is emblazoned with stickers marking the car’s rally experience. 

The car is sitting on its original chrome wire wheels, which are very nicely presented, and wrapped in a full set of Michelin Pilot 600 tyres. We’re informed that the underside of the car is in fine fettle.

The Mechanics 

  • 2.6L Lagonda I6 engine - heavily modified by Four Ashes, respected Aston Martin specialist
  • 4-speed manual transmission
  • Gearbox overhauled with new synchromesh cones and bearings
  • Electrical power-assisted steering
  • Front anti-roll bar
  • Reconditioned front dampers
  • Lower/stiffer springs all-round
  • Quaife partial locking differential to the rear axle
  • Lightened flywheel
  • New clutch
  • Uprated alloy radiator
  • Kenlowe fan
  • K&N air filters
  • Stainless steel exhaust 
  • Converted for unleaded fuel
  • Focus on ignition timing, camshaft timing and compression ratios
  • Full negative-earth rewire 

With all of the modifications and mechanical work listed above, it perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise that this is a highly impressive performer. This DB2 is a deft handler, refined and beyond the relatively simple mechanical nature of its vintage. 

Indeed, the vendor informs us that the Dyno sheet from Mass Racing indicates 169bhp, and 163.8lbft of torque, which sets it at 35% more powerful than the standard factory ‘Vantage’ unit, and even pops it over the 3.4L XK engine from the same period. 

The engine bay is in excellent order, with everything nicely kept and polished. The car is reportedly starting with no issues, and still has a highly beguiling sound when in motion. There are no reported leaks, bangs, knocks or smoke from the engine, and the vendor believes that it’s ready and waiting to hit the rally circuit with little hesitation.

The vendor also purports that all of these changes should be easily reversible - should the vendor wish to keep it as a purely period example. 


Highly presented, utterly unique, and boasting an impressive swathe of modifications, this rally-ready DB2 is like no other example we’ve seen. It’s very rare any examples of this elusive car comes to the market - but beyond rare we see one so perfectly appointed for the historic racing circuit. 

Notice to buyers

This vehicle is subject to third party financing. The amount of finance due on the vehicle is less than the reserve. The seller will discharge the financing debt and all related costs absolutely within two full working days from the end of the auction on a successful sale and will confirm to the buyer that such release has occurred. This obligation will be implied into the contract of sale between the buyer and the seller on auction close.

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1953
  • Make Aston Martin
  • Model DB2 Vantage
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 14,295 Miles
  • Engine size 2600
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Eastbourne
  • Location Essex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
17 bids
  • tc•••• £151,000 29/05/23
  • jo•••• £150,000 29/05/23
  • Ch•••• £136,000 29/05/23
  • jo•••• £135,000 28/05/23
  • jo•••• £74,000 28/05/23
  • mi•••• £67,000 27/05/23
  • ve•••• £66,000 27/05/23
  • mi•••• £62,000 26/05/23
  • kh•••• £60,000 26/05/23
  • ch•••• £52,000 26/05/23

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