1949 Aston Martin DB Team Car

1949 Aston Martin DB Team Car
Courtesy of Bonhams

This extremely significant Aston Martin Grand Touring coupe is none other than a Le Mans 24-Hour race finisher, having been driven into 7th place (3rd in class) in the first post-war Grand Prix d’Endurance — run on June 25–26, 1949 — at the legendary Sarthe circuit.

Two weeks later, on July 10–11, 1949, it was driven to a fine 5th place overall in the Spa 24-Hour race on the daunting Francorchamps road circuit in Belgium.

This car was also the start of Aston Martin’s stunning series of DB cars.

Aston Martin was re-established during that difficult period of the late 1940s when economic, supply and rationing difficulties within Great Britain were more difficult and stringently applied than at any time during the recent war itself. David Brown, one of the U.K.’s most wealthy industrialists, bought the company in 1946. Within months, Brown added the Lagonda company to his motor manufacturing portfolio.

Meanwhile, former Lagonda stylist Frank Feeley had also transferred to Feltham, and for 1949 the sporting-minded industrialist sanctioned a new program to build and run a Works team of three fixed-head coupes — whose strikingly advanced body form would be designed and styled by Feeley — in the Le Mans 24-Hour race which was being revived in France that June.

The project had by that time evolved into what became known as the Aston Martin DB — for David Brown — Mark I or DB1, and the new works Le Mans coupes would become the prototypes for the forthcoming Aston Martin DB2 production Grand Touring model. One was fitted with the new Lagonda 6-cylinder engine in 2.6-liter form, while the other two used the Claude Hill 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine.

Paul Hardiman

SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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