One of Only 400: 1952 Aston Martin DB2

Gullwing Motor Cars is becoming the go-to place lately for “interesting” finds of European origin! This is the third review that I have covered for a GMC marketed automobile and, as usual, there will be much to consider. In this case, we are looking at a 1952 Aston Martin DB2, located in Astoria, New York, and available here on Gullwing Motor Cars website for $129,500.

When one hears the name, Aston Martin, visions of a silver, ejector seat equipped DB5 are frequently conjured. That 1964 movie star example has a tendency to suck all of the air out of the AM room. But Aston Martin was a lot more before the movie prop car came along and has been so much more so since then. And in the AM evolution to supercar status, the DB2 occupied an important place. In production for four years, between 1950 and 1953, the DB2 was offered as a two-door coupe and a “drophead” coupe. They are rare indeed with only about 400 produced, 100 or so being the drophead variety.

This original condition, aluminum-bodied, DB2 still has its build sheet and is recently out of long-term storage. The body is a bit rough, showing evidence of what looks like Bondo in places, though the body panels appear to be mostly straight. While the body may be aluminum, the rocker panels would seem to be made of steel, there is quite a bit of surface rust showing below the doors with rust-through on the left side panel. Of concern, is the missing trim, pieces like the bumpers and grille surround, it doesn’t sound like they are available with the sale.  There is no mention regarding underside integrity but based on the topside appearance, it would warrant a full inspection.

The seller makes note of the original leather upholstery and for originality’s sake, I guess it matters. For functional purpose, however, it’s irrelevant. It’s pretty well trashed and will require complete replacement. Also of concern is the step-up sill, next to the footwell, the driver’s side one looks shakey. While the instrument panel, dash and steering wheel have seen far better days, the gauges are still in place and appear to be clear. The interior, overall, has a very directly exposed to the elements look about it. What do you think that the blue bungee cord is for?

The original engine for the DB2 was a “Lagonda” 2.6 liter, DOHC, in-line, six-cylinder engine, good for 105 HP. There was a 125 HP “Vantage” upgrade which is what the seller claims is under this DB2’s bonnet. Though stated as a Vantage variety motor, the seller has not been able to verify the engine’s stamping to validate its provenance. Whatever the case, the engine is non-running and bears a similar weather-exposed look about it as does the interior. Transmission duty is handled by a four-speed manual unit. Apparently DB2 gear shifters were available located on either the floor or the steering column, with this example opting for the floor location.

The seller suggests that this DB2 is an excellent restoration candidate, perhaps because of its completeness. But it is going to need everything from stem to stern; and I mean everything including all cosmetics/bodywork, mechanical, electrical and interior. At this price point, it will be all about the money. Worth it? Well, I came across a fully restored example that recently sold at auction for $162K, so in the case of that one example, I’d say no. Especially considering it will take $129K just to get your foot in the door with this DB2. I also uncovered another, fully restored, ’52 DB2 that sold a few years back for $165K. The big values appear to be with the drophead versions, due obviously, to their rarity and drop-top functionality. What would be really interesting to know, is what price will actually move this British rarity, don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. chrlsful

    no idea but it is a gem when done. Have not owned Brits since the 60s so no idea but that duz not reduce the lust. 50’s, 60s and some 70s & 80s Brit and Italians just have those organic flowing lines. Truly ‘labor of luv’ but o0O the $ involved. Research on prts connections…wrk, wrk, wrk…My case? only if very smartly bought & being here leaves THAT out. Love ur typical “follow-up later” on this one !

    Like 1
  2. Shaun Dymond

    If a DB2 appears to sell for around $160k, then buying this as a restoration project to make money on would suggest that this particular car is worth no more than $30 – 40 thousand. Hopefully the new owner will buy it for a reasonable price and also drive the darn thing afterwards! Wish it could be me. 🙂

    Like 7
  3. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Best car brand on the planet in my biased opinion.
    This is not a purchase to be made with the head. With the heart all day long but let’s hope whoever buys it gets a big discount. They will need every dollar!

    Like 3
  4. G-W

    We have 2 members of our Austin-Healey club who at different times owned the same silver DB5. They now are happy Healey owners. One of them commented that he much preferred his Healey due to the A-M always 2-bitting him with things frequently going wrong.

    I gather that Gullwing Motors is the east coast’s Beverly Hills Car Club. From what I have heard and seen, I wouldn’t deal with either companies. I am unfortunately currently having to deal with “God’s Gift to British Cars” who thinks that he can charge whatever he wants for repairs, racking up a huge bill for very little accomplished. It is getting harder and harder to find mechanics who either aren’t retired or charges excessively.

    Like 4
    • Mike

      Finding a mechanic for vintage stuff is getting harder. I lucked out running across a guy who is about 30 that is fascinated about old stuff from Europe. He’s detail oriented and can troubleshoot problems with his brain and not brute force with a hammer. He’s works out of his house and has no overhead or employees to deal with. It’s all word of mouth and some of the stuff he’s working on is mindblowing. I always want to stop by to chat and check out what he’s tinkering with, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome and have him stop working on my oddball Italian 4×4.

      Like 6
      • G-W

        I fortunately have 2 companies that I will continue to supply work to. Both treat me well and charge reasonable prices and stay within their quotes. I took pity on the one mentioned who then stabbed me in the back.

        I have now a Small Claims action against him, but even then he refuses to compromise. He just lies as needed to suit his narrative, which is really stupid since I have written proof that what he is stating is totally false.

        Like 1
    • Brakeservo

      I have dealt with both Gullwing and Beverly Hills Hair Club. Different companies, different outcomes. Peter Kumar of Gullwing is a gentleman and a delight to deal with. Beverly Hills? Neither a car club nor located in Beverly Hills and when someone’s initial identity is itself a falsehood, well, you can figure out the rest.

      Like 4
    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Far too many pay too much for a car like this then think they are bitten everytime something is needed. Then its not fix but more likely patch.

      Doesn’t help that the suppliers for common items are now aftermarket and their quality is somewhat suspect. Then owners want a refund for a part they paid less than the one recommended.

      Not all specialists are incompetent, but if you specify a particular brand part over a recommendation of a specialist and it fails, you can’t expect them to give you free labor to make it right.

      Can’t see ever being in the black with this Aston. Far too many unknowns.

      Like 2
  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    Driving cross country in southern Alabama heading down to I-10 ran into an identical DB-2 sitting on the edge of the road with a for sale sign of $400. Already had a ’55 Healey so kept driving. This was late ’60s. Been regretting that non stop every time I see one of these.

    Like 7
    • UK Paul 🇬🇧

      I was offered a ‘70’s Aston V8 in worn but running condition in 1998 for £8k, maybe $12k at the the time.
      Regret not buying that so much but had just bought my first house.

      Like 2
      • Scuderia

        Hoping your house was the better investment Paul :)

        Like 1
      • UK Paul 🇬🇧

        I think it might have been Scuderia, which is probably the best way to look at it.
        A few months later I found for sale a Lotus Esprit Essex Turbo that was Bronze. It was the back up film car from James Bond. Similar money, I couldn’t afford it.
        A few years later I saw a similar non Bond Essex Turbo for sale for massive money.

  6. dave smeaton

    These remind me of the movie THE BIRDS, Alfred HITCHCOCK,there was a real beauty of a silver ,I think a DB2,the sound was perfect as they escaped from the ,you guessed it,THE BIRDS.

  7. Rodney - GSM

    The blue bungee cord? I assume it was the prototype for the ejector seat on the DB5…

    Like 10
    • Peter Zobian

      I think the blue bungee cord was to hold the steering wheel in position while the car was being towed.

      Like 1
  8. Maestro1 Member

    Peter Kumar (Gullwing Motors) is the East Coast Version of the Beverly Hills Car Club. I have spoken with Kumar, he knows what he’s doing, some of the cars are on consignment if i remember correctly which is the ones to stay away from because the owner’s price is usually on another Planet. I have collector friends who have done business with Gullwing and have not had an issue. The same is true of Alex Manos, who is Beverly Hills car Club. I’d like to remind everybody that the Old and Unique car Hobby is not the stock market. If you find something you like and fits whatever your current needs are, buy it. Never mind market values and other nonsense especially in these times which do nothing in my view but present cosmetic barriers to enjoyment. Nobody including Hagerty and other experts know which way the Market is going. And it doesn’t matter.
    Buy something you really like, give it what it needs and enjoy it. Never mind the rest.

    Like 14
    • Mountainwoodie

      Maestro, not exactly a ringing endorsement :)

      Like 1
  9. Scuderia

    I would have no issue dealing with either of the mentioned dealers. That said the responsibility of getting what you pay for is always the buyers. If one isn’t qualified to properly evaluate a vehicle than they need to hire someone who is and never trust the seller (dealer or private). Once you know what you are buying then it’s just a matter of whether or not the price is right for you. This car needs a full restoration which is obvious, but only someone extremely qualified can tell if that is $75K or $175K. As always buyer beware. BTW, very cool Aston Martin but RHD kills it for most US buyers not much fun unless you are delivering the mail.

    Like 3
  10. Racingpro56 Member

    Wouldn’t buy anything from either of them based on reputation. Irrelevant though, because I couldn’t afford anything either one of them sells!

    Like 1
  11. Charles

    Found a much better one than this example about 1977 in New Mexico, $3200. Engine frozen, seller said. Couple years later found fellow living in second floor apartment pulled engine and took apart in kitchen. Found no damage. Reassembled for sale, put engine back in. It started, ran well. I’m a fool.

    Like 1
  12. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Wasn’t this up for sale a while back or another one just like it ?

    Like 1
  13. robbert

    Hard work and dogged determination to get this where it should be. Only if you can do most of the work and your wife doesn’t mind your absence.

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