TWO LITRE SPORTS (DB1)
Based on the one-off, open-wheeled Two-Litre that won the 1948 Spa 24hr race, which in turn was based on the tube-framed chassis of the experimental pre-war Atom saloon, the convertible 2-seater Two-Litre Sports – later referred to as the DB1 – was first revealed at the 1948 London Motorshow. Featuring the first incarnation of the trademark Aston grille shape, the Two-Litre was powered by a Claude Hill designed 4cyl, pushrod engine producing 90bhp. With a top speed of 93mph, just 14 cars were built up until 1950.
Unveiled at the 1950 New York Motorshow, the 2-seater DB2’s lightweight aluminium body featured a unique, front-hinged bonnet that allowed easy access to the 105bhp, 6-cyl 2,580cc twin overhead cam Lagonda engine that had been designed under W.O. Bentley’s guidance. Top speed was around 110mph, although that could be upped to 117mph with the optional, big carb 125bhp Vantage engine. With generous luggage space the DB2’s appeal was undoubtedly boosted by its success at the 1950 Le Mans 24hr race and 411 DB2s rolled out of the Feltham factory until production ended in 1953.
A development of the DB2, the DB2/4 was introduced at the 1953 London Motorshow and featured two small rear seats as well as, a hatchback-style tailgate opening. Also available as a drophead, the hardtop DB2/4s roofline was raised for improved headroom for front and rear seat occupants, while the DB2’s split windscreen was replaced with a curved one-piece item. Initially powered by the DB2’s 125bhp Vantage spec engine, in Sept ’53 a 140bhp 2.9-litre motor was introduced and the Mk II version became good for 0-60 in 12.6 secs and a genuine 120mph.
DB Mk III
The last of the cars based on Claude Hill's chassis with the 6cyl dohc Lagonda engine, the DB Mk III was launched at the Geneva Motorshow in March 1957. Having been redesigned by Tadek Marek, the Mk III’s engine featured a host of modifications including a new block and crankshaft. With its race-developed carburation and breathing it made 162bhp and could accelerate from 0-60 in 8.2 secs. Front disc brakes also became a feature, and with a radiator intake inspired by the shape of the racing DB3S’, the Mk III remained in production for a further nine months after the DB4 was introduced.