1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe by Graber

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Chassis No.
LML 562
Engine No.
VB6E 50 1294
Documents
US Title
  • One-of-a-kind Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe with unique and elegant open coachwork by Swiss carrosserie Graber
  • Retains numbers-matching engine; complete with British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate
  • Finished in Dove Grey over a dark blue leather interior with a contrasting dark blue soft-top
  • Prize-winner at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance; slated to appear at the event in 2022
  • Accompanied by a bottle jack, instruction book, “Thor” hammer, tool roll, Swiss registration plate, and a video record of the restoration
language

Were it not for the intervention of industrialist David Brown, it is likely that both Aston Martin and Lagonda would have fallen victim to the economic aftershocks that reverberated around Europe in the wake of World War II. The tractor magnate purchased both companies in 1947, and while the first post-war Aston—the Two Litre Sports—attracted just 14 buyers, the pairing of two of the jewels in Britain’s automotive crown would lead to one of the most enduring nameplates in sports car history: DB.

Introduced in prototype form in 1949, the DB2—so named for company chairman David Brown—struck an appealing balance between gorgeous aluminium coachwork, sporting driving dynamics, and a characterful twin-overhead-cam inline-six. Things only improved three years later, when the foundations that had made the DB2 such a successful sports car were built upon to create the Aston Martin DB2/4—a ground-breaking Frank Feeley design that introduced a subtly raised roofline, additional seating for two rear passengers, and a revolutionary “hatch back” offering unparalleled access to the luggage compartment. Always a rare model—even in more common closed configuration—total DB2/4 production amounted to just 761 examples; of these, only 102 were specified in the irresistibly elegant Drophead Coupe body style.

This car, chassis LML 562, is an order of magnitude more special than even these rare gems, being a one-off commission bodied by Swiss carrosserie Graber.

THE CREATION OF A ONE-OF-A-KIND DB2/4

According to the accompanying British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate, chassis LML 562 was completed on 5 November 1953 and was dispatched from Aston Martin’s Feltham works on the same day. Destined for Switzerland and Aston Martin’s Zurich concessionaire Joseph Stierli & Company, the left-hand-drive rolling chassis was shipped to Wichtrach, home of Graber, where it became the first and only of its type to receive the carrosserie’s striking and elegant drophead coupe coachwork. The car is believed to have spent most of its life in Switzerland. It was later consigned to long-term storage in Basel, before being offered to restorer Kevin Kay, who purchased the DB2/4 on behalf of a client in 2007 with the ultimate aim of displaying the machine at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Kay was duly commissioned to carry out a full restoration, which began with the rebuild of the standard Aston Martin mechanical components, including the 2,580-cubic-centimeter Lagonda straight-six engine, four-speed manual transmission, and suspension, which comprised an independent system at the front and a live rear axle. The body and chassis were then separated, and the coachwork chemically stripped back to bare metal. New sills were fabricated, the doors were reskinned, and wood in the B-posts and door frames was replaced, while the steel rear section of the body was the subject of extensive repairs (having suffered the effects of countless Swiss winters). Kay reports that almost 1,000 hours were committed to the body alone—with the delays resulting in the car missing out on the 2009 edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Finished in Dove Grey over a dark blue leather interior with contrasting blue soft-top, chassis LML 562 finally made it to the 18th green in 2010, where it successfully contested the Post-War Sports & Touring class. Such was the quality of the restoration, the rarity of the model, and the elegance of the unique Graber coachwork, that the car was awarded 3rd in class. It would go on to feature at the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic XXI in 2012.

Purchased by Gene Ponder in 2019, chassis LML 562 has since enjoyed a reassuring degree of preventative maintenance and gradual improvement in the capable hands of Red Car Restorations of Rockwall, Texas, with several parts and service invoices issued between 2019 and 2022 amounting to more than $16,000. Further refinements to the car’s cosmetic condition include the sourcing or original badges in the UK.

As a result, this one-of-a-kind Aston Martin DB2/4 presents in show-ready condition, offering its next owner a ticket to the most exclusive concours and tours; in fact, it is scheduled to appear at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a preview of the type of high-caliber event at which it will surely be welcomed in the future. This is an unmissable opportunity to own a unique piece of Aston Martin’s history with spectacular Swiss flair, restored to a standard exceptional among even the best motor cars in the world.