This Aston seems to have been banged around more than Drea de Matteo's character on "The Sopranos"


This competition-modified DB2/4 Mk I was supplied new to Lawrence & Hilton Ltd. of Blackpool, and spent much of its life in the Sussex area. A list of the car's competition successes is highlighted by class first places at the Curborough Sprint in 1992, 1993 and 1994, the Goodwood Sprint in 1994 and 1995, and the Wiscombe Hill Climb in 1994 and 1995, among other finishes that have made it one of the most successful DB2/4 Mk Is in recent history.

Upon acquisition in 1991, a previous owner sent the DB2/4 Mk I to Jack Moss at Four Ashes Garage for a complete engine overhaul, bodywork refurbishment and general mechanical and cosmetic detailing. The interior was also re-trimmed and fitted out with new carpets. Then in 1992, the car went to Nigel Dawes at Malvern to have the bonnet restored before returning to Four Ashes to have the rear axle and differential rebuilt. A high-backed competition driver's seat was fitted around 1994, together with full chassis-mounted competition harnesses for passenger and driver. At the same time the steering column was renewed and the brakes overhauled.

Subsequent modifications have included a special ATL safety fuel cell fitted into the standard tank location and filled from the original filler. A master "off" switch and fire extinguishers have also been installed as part of the program of creating a practical, competition-ready car with much improved performance. The project was reported as having consumed a total of $45,000 by 1996.

The car was purchased at a Sotheby's auction in May 1996 by a client in the U.S. At the time of purchase, the car's owner reported it as having a fully known ownership history, unusual for a car of this age. The car has since returned to the U.K., after a period of gentle use abroad.

When sold in 1996, the vehicle possessed extensive ownership, restoration and service histories, and it is hoped that these will be available at time of sale. Finished in red with black interior, the vehicle is presented in good condition in every respect.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:TVR Griffith 200

This 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk I sold for $42,199 at Bonhams’ Newport Pagnell auction held on May 8, 2004.

Forget about this entirely forgettable Aston for a minute. I promise I’ll come back to it. But first, a bit of perspective.

Our collector car hobby has recently taken the kind of turn akin to Ben Stiller becoming a household name. It’s a positive development if you like that kinda thing, but c’mon, who’d have thunk it a few years ago?

Back in the mid-’90s, $50,000 bought any number of different Grade A+ classic cars, and Ben Stiller was just the dorky, born-on-third-base-and-thought-he-hit-a-triple son of zany couple Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Stiller had been fighting acne and looking for his chops, and we car geeks were overjoyed that the collector car bubble had burst and great cars were becoming affordable again.

Jump ahead to today and guess what? Ben’s face has cleared up, and all the cool cars are being snapped up by wealthy dudes approaching retirement age. Even lots of old cars that no one really cared about a decade ago are becoming quite sought after, while Stiller now commands Sean Connery money. Collector car prices seem to either be solid or soaring and no, this is not a bubble this time; no speculative group of orthodontists spending your kids’ braces payments.

Case in point: I just drove to Carmel for the Speedster festival and saw a field of Porsches that stretched as far as the eye could see, but I never spied any “for sale” signs. Everyone I spoke with was looking to buy yet another car, and not one conversation I had with anyone out there went anything like, “I need to off my Carrera Speedster in a hurry because I need tuition for my kid’s private kindergarten.” More like, “I’m finally going to pop for my dream ride.” What this means for fellow car dealers and brokers across the land is that there isn’t much available for us to stock or for our customers to buy. People in the trade have waiting lists for great cars, and it is truly a seller’s market right now.

Whether a new collector or a seasoned veteran, we all possess a punch list of our dream cars. I’ve recently been well priced out of that Aurelia Spyder or Siata 208 I’ve always wanted, and likely you’ve recently seen a few on your list move out of reach too.

Of course, what this means is that second- (or third- or fourth-) tier collectibles like Porsche 356Bs and 912s, non-matching number Corvettes, Ferrari 2+2s, Jaguar E-type Series II coupes, American cars that don’t carry any “muscle” prefix, and countless other rides are now being loved like the Olson twins. To top it all off, Ben Stiller is considered funny. How does that saying go? Oh yeah, “There’s no accounting for taste.”

Okay, back to the curious Aston at hand, a car now benefiting from said phenomenon. Can’t afford to buy a DB4 or DB5 (or can’t find one)? Well, consider a DB6 or DB2/4 Mk I. Can’t find that bargain pre-1959 Ferrari to use on the next Copperstate? (Of course you can’t.) How about this Aston instead? While a race-prepped Mk I was a tough sell a few years ago, today people are buying them up more often than not, it seems. Call it trickle-down economics.

An Aston Mk I would not be my first choice for a race car, but this rig seems to have been bought right if that’s what you fancy. Just keep in mind that the “gentle use” claim in the description is wishful thinking. You can be sure that this car has been banged around more than Drea de Matteo’s character on The Sopranos. Just look at what’s already been fixed: Both the hood and steering column were subject to recent rebuilding.

I would equate piloting a Mk 1 on a vintage racing circuit to driving a Land Rover Series I quickly: “It’s an adventure, Nigel.” Still, I’d rather be clipping apexes behind the wheel of this car than sitting through a Ben Stiller movie.

(Historical and descriptive information courtesy of the auction company.)

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