1-Of-98: 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Drophead Coupe

Seeing a beautiful classic car that has been left to succumb to the ravages of time is always a heartbreaking experience, but when that classic also happens to be extremely rare, that makes the experience even more unbearable. The Aston Martin DB2 remained in production from 1950 until 1953, and during that time, the company only produced 411 examples. The rarest of them all was the Drophead Coupe, with only 98 cars rolling out of the Aston Martin factory. This 1952 model DB2 is one of those 98 cars, and it has fallen upon hard times. It would appear as though it has been in storage for many years, and it will require a full restoration. This is not going to be a cheap or easy process, but the end result should be a truly beautiful classic that will command a staggering value. Located in Astoria, New York, you will find the Aston listed for sale here at Gullwing Motor Cars. The price of admission on this one isn’t cheap at $135,000, but as you will see, it could be well worth the money.

One quality that really characterized Aston Martin right up until the early 1970s was their very ordinary record-keeping abilities. There is no doubt that the DB2 build total was 411 cars, but the total for the Drophead Coupe seems to be a matter of some conjecture. Various sources put this total at somewhere between the 98 cars that the seller is claiming, and up to 102 cars from other sources. Regardless of which figure might be correct, we’re still talking about an average of around the 100-car mark. This one has obviously been sitting for quite some considerable time, and a full nut-and-bolt restoration is going to be required if the car is to be returned to its former glory. I suspect that the black paint that the car currently wears isn’t original, and there are some indications that it might have rolled off the line finished in a color called Almond Green. The color is probably the least of the next owner’s concerns because the whole car will need to be stripped back to bare metal if the restoration is to be performed properly. There is obvious rust in the rockers, while the panels wear a fair collection of dings and dents. It is a bit hard to see the state of the floors, and the owner provides no information on the state of the frame. The floors would present no real problems if they do require replacement, but the condition of the frame is crucial. If that is in good condition, then that will make the physical restoration fairly straightforward.

Taking a look in the engine bay reveals a 2,580cc DOHC 6-cylinder engine, which would be backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. This engine produced 109hp when the DB2 was new, although a Vantage version was released in April of 1950, and this produced 125hp. However, its higher compression ratio made it incompatible with British fuel of the day, so it was not offered on the domestic market. The good news here is that the Aston contains a full drivetrain. The bad news is the fact that this engine isn’t original to the car. Now obviously, the lack of a numbers-matching status is going to impact the vehicle’s ultimate value, but by just how much is an unknown quantity. Once again, the drivetrain is going to require a full restoration, but the owner doesn’t mention whether the engine turns freely. Assuming that it does, at least the owner should have a reasonable starting point for this restoration.

The condition of the Aston’s interior is enough to make a grown man weep. It must have been quite a sight in its green leather when it was new, but the deterioration has been enormous. At least the gauge cluster is present and appears to be in restorable condition. The seat frames are present, but the springs and padding seem to be long gone. To give you an idea of the sort of costs involved here, leather seat covers cost around $1,000 each, so a complete interior retrim is going to cost a pretty penny. The reason for this comes down to a matter of supply and demand. Interior trim for cars like the Jaguar E-Type are more affordable because of production totals. Because of the low production totals with the DB2, demand is much lower, and this has the effect of inflating the price.

Restoring this DB2 is potentially not going to be cheap, and I don’t see much change out of $150,000 if it is to be done properly. That means that by the time you allow for the initial purchase price, we’re looking at a total outlay of $285,000, or maybe slightly more. Values on the DB2 have taken something of a hit over the past 12-months, but they are heading upwards once again. A really good example will command a price of over $350,000 with little difficulty, while one in pristine condition can easily top $400,000. The lack of an original engine could impact that slightly, but even if we are talking around 10%, this Aston would seem to be a project that is financially viable. If you have a healthy wallet and would love to own a classic and rare British sports car, then this could be it.

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Comments

  1. Will Fox

    Looks alot like the one Tippy Hendren drove in “The Birds”, although I was told that car was a `53.

    Like 8
    • Bob C.

      Actually hers was a 1954. It also had a one piece windshield, and the body was a little more squared off.

      Like 2
  2. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    Watch for it in five years at Pebble beach, it will be light turquoise metallic with a matching leather interior.

    Like 7
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Nice pics. So did the dealer tow it, or trailer out to this picturesque location for these shots? And about that asking price . . .

    Like 8
  4. p

    Pass

    Like 6
  5. Gaspumpchas

    I wonder if the bridge comes with the car? A supposedly prestige dealer like gull wing puts this ruffian out there with no pics of the underbelly, and no idea it it turns over?? Looker over good. Good luck. Stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 8
    • macvaugh

      Anyone buying that car will fly out to see it. Else send a representative from the restoration house to do the pre-purchase inspection for them.

      Like 8
  6. luke arnott Member

    Aston Martin have gone bust 7 times,and I suspect the 8th is not far off.Overpriced and overrated.

    Like 2
  7. Don Sicura

    This one must be their “loss leader”

    Like 2
  8. norm bissonnette

    Would make a great rat rod…

    Like 2
    • Husky

      Yea!

      As it isnt a numbers matching car -how about a .318 Poly Swap????

      Like 1
  9. Douglas Plumer

    This, like so many listed here recently, falls under the heading “Used To Be Barn Finds” Like the other million dollar Gull Wings and Ferraris. This is an example of someone who has ALREADY found it and is now trying flip it.
    My interest, and purchases, are with cars that are actually new finds, and not old ones elevated to the millionaire boys club status, regardless of condition or vintage. Lets do more of those please. Great site generally, but lets get real.

    Like 5
    • Amorypaz Amorypaz

      Could not agree more. Doesn’t Gullwing have a website? Can’t we just go there if we want to see the cars they have already snatched up? I get that you may never have the chance to list an actual DB2 Drophead Coupe barn find here…okay…then we don’t get one. I’ll live. I don’t want to get to the point where this blog is like those free car magazines that used to list owner cars for sale and are now just places for dealerships to advertise.

      Be careful or Barn Finds will go the way of the Dodo.

      Like 2
  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    What’s that BIG round thing just to the right of the steering wheel ?

  11. Robert Thomas

    Early David Brown series. Good source of spare parts is Aston Service in Dorset, ask for David Forshaw, I knew his dad Ivan (RIP)

    Like 3
  12. OhU8one2

    Sure it’s going to take deep pockets, a top notch shop to do it right? But, when was the last time you’ve seen one? For me, it has all the right thing’s going for it. LHD, non-original motor, so it should be driven instead of sitting for display. It’s a blank slate. But go ALL in or don’t go at all. I look forward to seeing this car done.

    Like 7
  13. schooner

    I think done by these guys would more than make up for the non-orig engine on provenance alone… http://astonmartinworks.com/heritage-services

    Like 8
  14. JohnfromSC

    Absolutely agree that quality of resto trumps matching #s here. Ironically if it is very classic, the scarcer the car, the less hit on matching #s. Look at the very rare Ferraris, special Jags like real D’s, etc.

    I do think this is a $200K job. And if this is like most English cars of this time period, check the wooden members as well as the steel and aluminum bits.

    Like 3
  15. robbert

    Non matching numbers is it’s biggest downfall restoring it with that knowledge should temper what you could expect as it’s final value. Regardless a worthwhile project and interesting piece of automotive history. That’s the Sydney Harbour bridge in the background I know I live just around the corner from where the shots were taken.

    Like 3
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Sorry, I don’t believe that is the Sydney Harbour bridge. Similar appearing center span, but not right otherwise. The one in the photo appears to be in nearly as much need of a paint job as the car, lol.

      This bridge is in the USA somewhere, probably near the seller’s location.

      I’ve been to Sydney twice. The first time included an excursion to the TOP of the Harbour bridge superstructure! Great view of the Opera House from there…. Second visit included a tour of the Opera House. What an extraordinary place.

      Like 3
    • Tony

      you obviously have never been in the proximity of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as this, most certainly, is not it! Living in Sydney I travelled over the Bridge at least twice a day for many years.
      Get your facts right before pen touches paper

      Like 1
  16. Sarah_W

    There was a DB2/4 in the same shop when my Healey was during her restoation. It had an aluminum body over steel tubing, as this likely has. They also had the alloy 300SL Gullwing that sold later for $4.6 million.

    In my Healey club, there are two members who owned the same DB5 at different times. They now both own BJ8 Healeys. The comments from both were that the Aston-Martin was constantly 2-bitting them with things constantly going wrong. Healeys are way more reliable, even if not as expensive to purchase IMHO.

  17. Bernie H

    Peter Kumar, How much did you really pay for this bent up metal?.

    Like 1
  18. Grappa

    Thats the Hells Gate bridge near Astoria Queens NY… the other pic is under the Triborough (RFK) bridge which is right nearby

    Like 1
  19. Kenn

    Jeez Louise, a nearly half-million dollar vehicle apparently forgotten and left to rot, looking like outside at that. That’s called more money than sense. I always wonder how someone who treats a vehicle like that has the smarts to earn the money to buy one.
    P.S. It’s been sold.

    Like 1
  20. Ferruccio Camerlengo

    I now have this car for restoration. I will not do the job immediately, ’cause I have 2 other Aston Martin cabriolets of similar years to restore, one of them is almost ok, but I will re -do everything, the other one is a good resto project .
    I can say these cars have a big value when restored, and the work is not so very difficult for an expert. But if they have some peculiars parts missing, it is not easy, or almost impossible, to find those ; so or you have the parts in your stock or you are out. Experts are usually people that collected a lot of original parts during a lot of years. Will surely post when something will be done on the car Ferruccio, italy – jaguar&aston

    Like 1
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Ferruccio,
      Please accept my admiration on having the skills and knowledge to restore the most desirable classic cars.

      Except for a fork in the road not taken, I may have embarked on a lifetime devoted to that same vocation.

      I have enjoyed cars my entire life, and now in my 7th decade and approaching my 8th, I wonder what that alternate path may have been like.

  21. Robert Thomas

    Check with Roger Forshaw at Aston Service Dorset, lot of old spares. Find them online.

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