I am a die-hard DB2 fan but
there is something puzzling with them...
All photos are clickable to look
even more precisely details I will speak about... As usually, all have
As soon as I got interest in Aston Martins (we are talking about late
70s / early 80s here) I found the DB2 the most appealing and especially
the early ones with the three grilles but I will speak of them in a
Of course, one DB2 only seats two and has no real boot so I think
that if the prices hadn't gone through the roof, maybe, maybe I'd
rather had buy a 2/4
instead but that's not sure...
But that's not the point ! What puzzled me as I got more and more
information was... Well, we'll see if you find ! Please have a look a
this photo (source RAC2) :
I really like this photo as it shows it all !
The race is the 1951 Tourist Trophy. First is Lance Macklin in the DB3
Have a look at the three DB2s :
No 24 is driven by Peter Clark. This is an 'ordinary' DB2 as far as can
be said from LML/50/57 which has one of the best pedigree among the
privateers' DB2 ! LML/50/57 already has the revised one piece front
(cheaper to produce !).
No 23 (the '3' is quite hard to read I confess), reg VMF 65, is
LML/50/9 driven by Eric Thompson. VMF 65 still appears with the so nice
3 pieces front. It was to be changed later.
No 21 is XMC 77, chassis LML/50/55, one of the two works
'lightweights', driven by Abecassis.
Just behind, you might see its sister XMC 76 (LML/50/50). Taylor is at
Both XMCs have the 'series 2' front.
Can you see something wrong ?
Can you see something wrong with the XMCs to be more precise?
OK look below :
If you draw a line from the top of an headlamp to the other, on almost
DB2 this line is on the
grille, under the Aston
But on XMC 76 and XMC 77, the line is above
the grille and on the emblem,
just as with DB2/4 and DB/4 MarkIIs !!!
That's weird, isn't it ?
Maybe it was made in order to
give better visibility. If so, why not change for production cars ?
Let's go back to the first DB2s.
In fact the four first DB2 which were not really known
under the DB2 name but under 'DB MarkII' tag. To be precise, at the
works they were called "Experimental Prototype DB Mark II"
On this photo (source VOL1) you can see from left to right :
LML/49/3 (i.e. one of the four prototypes, the first with the six
cylinders by the way) and LML/50/5.
You can see that the headlamp height has (more or less) been retained
the production model, from the prototype.
To be correct, the headlamps were raised to meet the changed law on
height of 1950.
Now we can compare the two types of front design for the production
That is :
I think you recognize ordinary DB2 headlamps height. I have
photos for the record :
Which brings me back to XMC 76 and XMC 77. They were a new
development of the DB2 mainly especially for racing with drilled
chassis and more powerful engine. Thus they even received their own
code : DP47.
The interior was also stripped and received racing seats. Before this,
stock interior was retained !
Please look at these photos (all
three, source POST) :
and them both :
If you are not really convinced that headlamps are higher, here are the
For comparison purposes, here are two DB2/4s :
(source one eBay sale
(source AstonMartins.com the excellent
via a French
Tim Cottingham, himself quoting Bonhams)
So we can imagine that the two works cars (I mean XMC 76 & XMC
77) were built with a bonnet (or
hood if you live in the US...) to be seen on a future model.
That's not that puzzling after all ?
OK, OK let's see that (source AMOC's AM Magazine v32 no 139) :
This is a perfect unrestored DB2 with a DB2/4 bonnet (OK, US guys,
Be reassured this is the last DB2 to be built LML/50/X5.
By the way, DB2 numbering is odd to say the least :
1949 cars are LM?/49/... In
fact, that's only four cars ! LMA/49/1
, LMA/49/2 , LMA/49/3 (all three 4 cyl. A stands for Aston DB1-engine
type) and LML/49/4 (6 cyl., L stands for Lagonda)
1950 cars are LML/50/...
1951 and so on are also LML/50/...
Furthermore, after LML/50/406 you have LML/50/X1 up to LML/50/X5 !!!
Noone really knowns why those 'X' cars. They may have been made because
DB2 parts were 'lying around'...
If so, one bonnet/hood was lacking to complete X5... Thus it received a
one (or it was a special order...)
This car has been restored to perfection and is currently beeing sold
by the Aston Workshop.
It has to be
noted that the other 'X cars' had the ordinary bonnet/hood.
Let me introduce :
LML/50/X2 (a car which encountered many
successes in competition)
(source Philip Jones' Byron
website. Look in their
archives ! You will
also find X2...)
So, anymore puzzling ?
Well... There is also LML/50/199.
LML/50/199, a 1953 car, is very famous as the Jean Bloxam car. In fact,
she bought the car from Major Woods in 1956.
Original engine was VB6B/50/1081 (so a Vantage engine) and a DB3 engine
(DP/101/22R from DB3/6) was fitted.
Note this engine was at that time removed
from LML/50/9 (a.k.a. VMF 65) !
Here is LML/50/199 as pictured in 1957 :
Ouch ! That's a DB2/4 bonnet (or hood) ! I don't know why and when for
Imagine that I thought I
got one more in this magazine !
This was made by Road & Track in 1985 and feature classics from the
50s and 60s.
Here are the photos of the DB2 featured :
Photo is somewhat blurr but you can really see it has the DB2/4 bonnet.
It also features an external quick-release petrol cap (see red arrow at
Scan above left is horrible because of the center of the magazine but
here you can
see the filler cap and double exhausts !
With the then owner's name, I managed to find this was LML/50/199 and
even found in one other AM Magazine the following photo :
The front circle between grille and headlamp is quite old as can be
seen on this (50s I think) photo (source AM Magazine v20 no82)
So only XMC 76, XMC 77 and LML/50/199 are puzzling ?
No I still have something more !!!
Let's start by photos found in a book you may have (you still can find
easily). They all are in SCHLEG.
Upper right photo is a zoom from left photo.
See anything wrong ?
XMC 76 has LOW
headlamps and VMF 65 has HIGH headlamps
Want more ? You bet I got...
And from the side :
Both these extraordinary photos come from the 1987 Yearbook of the
AMOC. The five works DB2s were reunited.
Here are the lines :
And from the side :
To sum up, before VMF 63, 64 and 65 had low lights and XMC 66 and
77 had high lights.
Please note that XMC 76 was re-registered RP 677 as living in
Now, are you puzzled like me ?
I have never read anything about those peculiarities ! Not why and not
even a statement of the fact !
Searching on Tim Cottingham's AstonMartins.com I found one
other one ! A DHC this time :
Looks like an early one as it still has the enclosed rear numberplate...
Also, there is a DB2 in the Slavic collection (source Classic &
Sportscar n°1, French edition) with the same DB2/4
look-a-like bonnet :
In fact I found at Bonhams: it's
Right photo : French
Maybe these were restored with a DB2/4 bonnet, maybe
been updated with a DB2/4 bonnet in the 1950s when the engine was
LML/50/278 has been upgraded with a DB2/4 3 litre engine. Why not
a new bonnet...
One other DB2 with DB2/4 bonnet. The difference is clear between those
two DB2s !
Concerning VMFs and XMCs, this could be a bonnet swap or, will I dare
?, an identity swap !
You must also consider one fact : works DB2s have a nicely recorded
race carreer but when they were in semi-retirement, VMFs were "put back to standard specification".
Don't know what this really means...
The works used both the XMCs for tests.
I found only one photo of this period. Indeed DB3Ss were used for
circuit racing and DB2/4s for rallying and so 'old' DB2s were obviously
Caption is : Tommy Wisdom pictured
with XMC 77 (still bearing its Liege-Rome-Liege Rally sticker on one
side window) on the way to practice for the 1955 Mille-Miglia in which
he was to drive a DB2/4.
By the way here is the Liege-Rome-Liege
If you click on this photo you'll have a 1200 d.p.i. scan of it.
Look at the front of the car where I put a red arrow : headlamps are
low (à la 'droop snoot'
for Vauxhall fans) !
This means XMC 77 ALREADY HAD LOW LIGHTS IN 1955 !
Surely in 1954 as it seems XMC 77 took part at the 1954
Also of interest, this prove modification had not been made for
regulations purpose but, this, we already knew as XMCs were racing at the same time than production
NEWS NEWS NEWS
: Mille Miglia 1953
Source Anamera. Nothing can be seen for sure. So I made a zoom and
reworked the photo :
With "red line" :
So in 1953 XMC 77 still had "high headlamps"
NEWS NEWS NEWS
Here is a photo of XMC 77 at the 1954 Alpes rally. XMC 77 has the low
SO IT'S BETWEEN MILLE MIGLIA
1953 AND ALPES 1954 THAT THE BONNETS WERE CHANGED. Maybe a swap between the VMF 64
and 65 and both the XMCs.