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A wonderfully ratty Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II is for sale
This fifties racer that refuses to die is going up for auction. You know you want it
It’s getting to that time of the year where awfully posh people stand on lawns and buy cars while washing down a belly full of lobster with a fuel tanker’s worth of champagne. Yep, it’s the summer auction season, people. But that means some splendid cars are coming out of the woodwork. Cars like this wonderfully ratty Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II.
Instead of the usual coaxed and cosseted box-fresh examples, it’s refreshing to see such a well-worn example coming up for sale. Because as you’ve no doubt read on inspirational Instagram quote accounts, scars tell stories et cetera, et cetera. And this – the first model Aston Martin made at Newport Pagnell – wears its scars with pride.
As a reminder, the Mk II represented an era where David Brown took control of the AM brand, so a few subtle design differences were imposed. Things like those small side vents, flashing turn indicators, different-shaped seats, and a proper fly-off handbrake. But only 199 Mk II saloons were manufactured during a near two-year production run, and this one – AM300/1293 – has lived a life. A slightly cursed life.
It was originally finished in black with a black interior and sold in England in July 1957. However, it next turned up nearly forty years later in the mid-nineties in Pasadena, California – a long, long way from its birthing pool in Milton Keynes. Then, in 2008, the DB2/4 was discovered in the California desert by an Aston Martin collector, specialist, and enthusiast who knew it wasn’t your normal left-to-die desert junker.
Having managed to track down an advert from the previous owner dated May 2008, it stated that he had started a restoration project but was selling it as he was unable to complete the bodywork. So it was snapped up and immediately sent to Aston Martin specialist restorers – Kevin Kay – and told with very strict instructions, “DO NOT TOUCH THE PATINA.”
They didn’t. But they did do a full mechanical restoration, including a concours-quality engine bay – y’know to keep the champagne and lobster enthusiasts happy. The chassis was then cleaned and detailed, but none – not one inch – of the interior or bodywork was touched by a chamois.
It then went on to be rallied. But, in a disastrous bit of luck, the storage facility where the Aston was kept suffered from a collapsed roof. So, once again, it had to be restored. With the same very specific, very strict instructions as first time: “DO NOT TOUCH THE PATINA.”
The current owner then saw the DB2/4 Mk II parked under a tree at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este after it had just completed the 2013 Mille Miglia and snapped it up, shipped it back to his home in the United States, then added the lovely “Can’t Be Crushed” hot-rod script. And now, still fighting on, it’s going up for auction – without reserve – at RM’s Monterey sale. Expect to pay $300,000 - $450,000 for the privilege. But remember, if you do buy it, “DO NOT TOUCH THE PATINA.”