1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Bertone Spider

Mike Maez, courtesy of Gooding & Company

In 1953, Stanley Arnolt purchased five sequential Aston Martin DB2/4 chassis and sent them to Carrozzeria Bertone to be fitted with custom coachwork. While the even-numbered chassis were fitted with opulent, luxurious bodies, 503, 505, and 507 were fitted with a distinctive sporting design penned by one of the most talented and prolific designers of the 1950s and 1960s, Franco Scaglione.

Scaglione’s credits include the incomparable Alfa Romeo B.A.T. cars, the Siata 208 CS coupe, the Abarth Porsche, the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale, and a wide variety of one-offs and important production cars.

Of the three chassis fitted with this body, two were designed for outright competition use and were minimally equipped for the purpose; the third, this car, LML505, was a more luxurious example equipped with a full windscreen, intricate grille, bumpers, a lavishly appointed interior with unique features, and full soft top.

Arnolt showed the suitably opulent LML505 at the 1954 New York Auto Show, where it was fitted with an Aston Martin badge in an attempt to seduce company owner David Brown into making the Bertone-bodied roadster an Aston Martin production model. The gesture obviously left its mark, with Aston Martin taking almost five years to catch on. Arnolt lived just long enough to see the Italian firms Touring and Zagato being used to turn out some of the most competitive Aston race cars of the early 1960s.