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  Aston Martin DB2 Team Car
 

  Article Image gallery (23) Chassis (2) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced from:1950 - 1951
Numbers built:5
Designed by:Frank Feeley for Aston Martin
Predecessor:Aston Martin DB2 Prototype
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 24, 2010
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Click here to download printer friendly versionShortly after taking control of the ailing company in 1947, David Brown commissioned Aston Martin's talented engineers to design a brand new production car. Instead of developing this all important car away from the limelight, Brown decided to immediately race the prototypes. This bold strategy paid off right away with a victory in the 1947 edition of the Spa 24 Hours race. By 1949 the new Aston Martin, dubbed 'DB2' after its creator, really began to take shape. In April of 1950 the final production version was shown at the New York Auto Show and thanks to the successful racing exploits, the DB2 was high in demand immediately. Brown nevertheless decided to pull the first three cars from the production line and ready them for another assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Only minimal changes were made to the cars before they were driven on the road to Le Mans. Performance of the Lagonda sourced straight six engines was improved from 105 bhp to 125 bhp by slightly raising the compression and fitting a twin-exhaust system. Further racing amenities included a larger fuel tank and battery, and a quick release radiator cap. In addition all sound-proofing was removed from the cars to lower the weight. What remained unaltered was the sophisticated tubular chassis and suspension. The Frank Feeley designed body was also identical to the road cars. The three cars were painted a deep green and received the number-plates 'VMF 63', 'VMF 64' and 'VMF 65'. Among the drivers signed to race the cars were the likes of Reg Parnell and Jack Fairman and more importantly Brown had acquired the services of John Wyer as team manager.

On the road to Le Mans disaster struck when Fairman missed a corner and rolled 'VMF 65'. The car could not be repaired in time for the race and was returned to the factory where it was rebuilt. Its slot on the Le Mans grid was filled by one of the earlier prototypes but it suffered a crankshaft failure after a handful of laps. The two Team Cars had a mostly trouble-free race and finished fifth and sixth overall. That was good enough to place first and second in their class and 'VMF 64' also won the 'Index of Performance' trophy, which at the time was almost as important as the outright victory. Upon on their return to England, the two Le Mans cars joined its now repaired sister Team Car for several more outings in 1950 with a 1-2-3 finish in the 3-litre class of the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod as the highlight.

Encouraged by the success of the near standard production DB2s in 1950, work was started on a purpose-built racing car for 1951. Its debut did not come until September and to bridge the gap, two additional DB2 Team Cars were built. Much more work was carried out on these two cars and an incredible 450 lbs was shaved off the weight of the production car by using lighter chassis components and thinner aluminium for the bodies. An alloy head and triple Webers were also introduced, raising the power to 138 bhp. The new Team Cars were registered 'XMC 76' and 'XMC 77'. The three 1950 vintage cars were also reworked and most noticeably received the one-piece grille, which had also replaced the three-piece grille on the production cars.

The year got off to a good start with one of the Team Cars ('VMF 64') placing 11th overall and first in class in the Mille Miglia as a private entry. That same 1950 car was also part of the works entry for Le Mans together with the new lightweight machines. They finished third, fifth and seventh outright and first, second and third in the 3-litre class. Interestingly the highest placed car was the heavier, 1950 class winner. The two lightweight cars were raced by the works only once more at the Tourist Trophy where the new DB3 made its belated debut. In the following years the Team Cars were raced with considerable success by privateers.

Although overshadowed by the later DB3S and DBR1 sports racers, these early Team Cars are among the most important Aston Martin racing cars. They very much established the company as a force in international racing, culminating in an outright victory at Le Mans and the World Championship, both in 1959. Amazingly all five cars have survived and several of them never really stopped racing. In recent months two of the 1950 Team Cars were offered at auction, exceeding their top estimates at both sales. This underlined the value and significance of these early Aston Martin racing cars.

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  Article Image gallery (23) Chassis (2) Specifications