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Lot 154

2014   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2014

1951 Aston Martin DB2

SOLD $319,000

Estimate

$350,000 - $450,000

Chassis

LML/50/66

Car Highlights

Purchased New by Legendary Race Driver Phil Hill
Raced at Prominent West Coast Venues in Period
Known History from New
One Owner for over 50 Years
An Impressively Documented and Historic DB2

Technical Specs

2,580 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Twin SU Carburetors
125 BHP at 5,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes
Independent Coil-Spring Front Suspension with Houdaille Shock Absorbers
Live Rear Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs with Houdaille Shock Absorbers
Register to Bid

Phil Hill, Santa Monica, California (acquired new in 1951 via International Motors)Douglas Trotter, Stockton, California (acquired from the above circa 1952)Norman Milne, Stockton, California (acquired from the above in 1954)Barnett Sumski, Sausalito, California (acquired from the above in 1959)George Garbutt, San Francisco, California (acquired from the above in 1960)Alan Selby, Santa Rosa, California (acquired from the above in 1963)Current Owner (acquired from the above)

Palm Springs Cup, March 1952, Trotter (7th Overall, Novice Trophy)Pebble Beach, Del Monte Trophy, April 1952, Trotter, No. 24 (DNF)Golden Gate Park, Guardsmen’s Trophy Race, May 1952, Trotter, No. 24 (DNF)Stockton, City of Stockton Trophy, August 1952, Trotter (DNF)Palm Springs Cup, March 1953, Trotter (DNF)Pebble Beach, Del Monte Trophy, April 1953, Trotter, No. 24 (11th Place)Golden Gate Park, Guardsmen’s Trophy Race, May 1953, Trotter (DNF)Stockton, City of Stockton Trophy, August 1953, Trotter (DNF)Moffett Field, Moffett Field Handicap, August 1953, Trotter (2nd Place)Santa Barbara Road Races, September 1953, Trotter, No. 12 (DNF)

The first completely new Aston Martin built under the ownership of David Brown was the DB2, which was announced at the New York Auto Show in 1950. The model earned crucial praise and notoriety when Briggs Cunningham took delivery of the first Vantage-upgraded DB2 and campaigned it to a 2nd in Class finish at the first Sebring race in December of that year. A pivotal Aston Martin to say the least, over the next two decades the DB2 emerged as the father of the most famous line of Aston Martins of all time. 411 copies would be built before being replaced by the DB2/4 in 1953.

This particular DB2 has a very special history. Famed racing driver and later world champion Phil Hill took delivery of LML/50/66 when it was first retailed as a new car via International Motors in Beverly Hills. The DB2’s 90-day guarantee commenced on September 15, 1951, and the car was submitted immediately to Road & Track magazine for a road test, appearing in the December 1951 issue. The article opens with the proclamation: “Phil Hill’s Aston Martin is found to be one of the best handling and fastest cars ever tested by the Road & Track staff…” Hill himself added his impressions to the article: “The Aston handles as well as any sports car I’ve driven, far better than any normal passenger car…The DBII handles like a dream and is a lot of fun to drive…I had the time of my life on the way to Reno – blowing of the best Detroit could offer – not only on winding roads but on straights.”

Following a similar feature in the February 1952 issue of Motor Trend and another glowing review, Phil Hill sold the DB2 to fellow racer Douglas Trotter, who raced the Aston Martin at nearly a dozen venues across California over the next two years. After winning the Novice Trophy at Palm Springs, the Aston Martin dropped a valve while racing at Pebble Beach that April. Quoted an appreciable delay in the arrival of factory parts to make the repair, Trotter replaced the Aston Martin engine initially with a Studebaker unit then found success with a race-prepped GMC straight six.

Trotter’s DB2, now with added side louvers for cooling, was colorfully described in a race program as “A rather remarkable hybrid of English automobile and American heavy duty engine, owned and driven by Douglas Trotter of Stockton.” The Aston/GMC went on to several more starts and at least one podium finish came at Moffett Field, in August 1953.

In early 1954, Trotter sold the coupe, along with its original engine, to fellow Stocktonian Norman Milne. Mr. Milne repaired the engine and returned the DB2 to its stock configuration. Following two additional short-term owners, by May 1963, Alan Selby of Santa Rosa purchased LML/50/66 and would retain ownership for the next half-century; refinishing the car in its current maroon over gray leather, and completing its restoration in the early 2000s.

Accompanying the sale, and nearly as impressive as the car itself, is the file of history Mr. Selby compiled on his prized DB2. Handwritten transcripts of conversations with former owners, press clippings, wiring diagrams, factory communiqués, historic photos, and more are neatly assembled in a fascinatingly detailed volume, which documents nearly every known fact about LML/50/66. From Phil Hill’s name atop a copy of the factory build sheet, to period photos of the DB2 in action, the history of this particular DB2 is meticulously documented. Never before offered for sale publicly, the appearance of LML/50/66 at auction is quite a significant event.