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Lot 168

2017   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2017

1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe

Coachwork by Bertone

SOLD $1,430,000

Estimate

$1,300,000 - $1,600,000

Chassis

LML/506

Engine

VB6E/50/337

Car Highlights

A Spectacular Coachbuilt David Brown-Era Aston Martin
One of Just Two DB2/4 Drophead Coupes Bodied by Bertone
Displayed by Original Owner Edith Field at the 1955 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®
Detailed, Fascinating Provenance Includes Aston Martin Works Driver Innes Ireland
Outstanding Show-Quality Restoration; Best in Class at the AMOC Autumn Concours in 2011

Technical Specs

2,580 CC DOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Twin SU H6 Carburetors
125 BHP at 5,000 RPM
4-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Alfin Drum Brakes
Independent Front Suspension with Coil Springs
Live Rear Axle with Parallel Radius Arms and Coil Springs
Register to Bid

Edith Field, San Francisco, California (acquired new in 1954 via British Motor Cars)B. Steele, Atlanta, Georgia (acquired in 1964)O.M. Riley, US (acquired in 1968)Terry L. Daniel, Dickson, Tennessee (acquired in 1981)Toly Arutunoff, Tennessee (acquired circa 1982)Alastair Walker, Berkshire, England (acquired in 1985)Innes Ireland, Berkshire, England (acquired in 1986)David Clark, London, England (acquired in 1988)Tarek Mahmoud, London, England (acquired from the above in 2006)Nigel Pritchard, St. Peter, Jersey, Channel Islands (acquired from the above by 2011)Adrian Johnson, England (acquired from the above in 2011)Current Owner (acquired from the above)

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, April 1955 (Third in Class)AMOC Autumn Concours at Chavenage House, September 2011 (Best in Class)

The Bertone-bodied Aston Martins of the 1950s paired Italian design flair with solid British engineering. The collaboration was significant, as it eventually paved the way for the Touring-styled DB4, 5, and 6, and the special Zagato-bodied DB4 GTs. One of only two DB2/4 chassis built with this striking convertible body style, and possessing a fascinating provenance, LML/506 is an important coachbuilt Aston Martin from the early years of the David Brown era.

The Aston Martin DB2 debuted in 1950 with attractive yet typically British conservative styling. Based in Chicago, S.H. “Wacky” Arnolt made his money in steel, later diversifying into automobile distribution. Wacky loved foreign cars, and at the Torino Auto Show in 1951 he struck a deal with Carrozzeria Bertone to build some custom-bodied MG TDs and later a limited number of Aston Martin DB2/4s. The spectacular DB2/4 Drophead Coupe presented here is among this exclusive group of Bertone-bodied Aston Martins. According to factory records, chassis LML/506 was completed by Aston Martin on June 9, 1953, and dispatched to Carrozzeria Bertone in Torino on November 16th. While Nuccio Bertone had in-house stylist Franco Scaglione design three DB2/4 Spiders (LML/503, LML/505, and LML/507), the two Drophead Coupes built – chassis LML/504 and LML/506 – have long been attributed to freelance designer Giovanni Michelotti. Not only did these two virtually identical cars possess a decidedly Italian flair, they maintained traditional Aston Martin design cues, including the firm’s distinctively shaped radiator grille.

Ordered through British Motor Car Distributors in California, chassis LML/506 was delivered to its first owner, Edith Field, on November 12, 1954. Mrs. Field was a charter member of the San Francisco Opera Association and an avid car enthusiast, also owning an AC Ace-Bristol. In 1955, Mrs. Field entered her new Bertone-bodied Aston Martin in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and received Third Place in the class for Two Seater Sports Cars, $4,500–$10,000. A photograph of Mrs. Field’s Aston Martin appears in Robert T. Devlin’s classic book, Pebble Beach: A Matter of Style.

After passing among a succession of owners, LML/506 was rediscovered in Tennessee in the mid-1980s. In 1986, the coachbuilt DB2/4 was sold to famed Formula 1 and former Aston Martin works racing driver Innes Ireland. After a short time, Ireland sold LML/506, still in unrestored condition, to David Clark of London classic car dealer Taylor & Crawley. During Mr. Clark’s ownership, a restoration was begun with Mill Lane Engineering, though the project eventually stalled. From there, the Bertone-bodied Aston Martin was sold in 2006 to collector and racer Tarek Mahmoud, who had Aston Martin specialist Goldsmith and Young complete the restoration “to a concours standard.” Soon after the restoration was completed, LML/506 was sold to another UK collector. In September 2011, the Bertone Drophead Coupe made its post-restoration debut at the AMOC Autumn Concours held at Chavenage House, winning First Prize in the Feltham Aston Class. Since this initial outing, LML/506 has not been exhibited and, most recently, has resided in a private collection based in Southern California.

Still in excellent overall condition, this coachbuilt Aston Martin is offered with a proper tool kit and, more important, a remarkably extensive history file. Included inside are numerous magazine articles on the Bertone-bodied Aston Martins, a copy of the factory build sheet, BMHT Certificate, correspondence, restoration records, photographs, and ownership documents. More than just a thorough history, the file provides wonderful color to an outstanding and truly unique vehicle.

The appearance of LML/506 at auction represents a special opportunity to acquire a coachbuilt Aston Martin of quality and distinction. Given its attractive open Bertone coachwork, fascinating provenance, and showquality restoration, this Aston Martin is a very special example of the DB2/4 – one that is worthy of serious consideration.