One of One: 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe by Bertone
The best of British Engineering, Italian Design, and the American Entrepreneurial Spirit
In the pantheon of the gods of automotive history, few tales scintillate with as much intrigue and grandeur as the tale of the Bertone-bodied Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe – a vehicle not merely of metal and horsepower, but of ambition, artistry, and aesthetics.
The year was 1953, and the world beheld the birth of the Aston Martin DB2/4, an evolutionary marvel that took the esteemed DB2 and transformed it into something more pragmatic yet no less exhilarating. Crafted under the aegis of a remarkably young draftsman, John Turner, this model was a symphony of steel and speed, boasting a wraparound windscreen and an innovative hatchback design – a nod to the family man with a penchant for the pulse-quickening thrill of the open road.
The heart of the DB2/4 throbs with the genius of W.O. Bentley – a 2.6-liter Lagonda straight-six engine, later augmented to 2.9 liters in the MkII, pushing boundaries with its 120 mph top speed. Yet, beyond its mechanical prowess lay its aesthetic potential, a canvas for the era's most visionary coachbuilders.
Enter stage right: Gruppo Bertone of Italy, under the guidance of the inimitable Franco Scaglione, and the American impresario, Stanley “Wacky” Arnolt. Arnolt, a man whose moniker belied his astute business acumen, was a bridge between continents, a catalyst for a transatlantic automotive alchemy that would yield only one coupe – a singular masterpiece that showcased Bertone’s crisp, elegant lines, and a design language that could have redefined an era had history taken a different turn.
This singular coupe, chassis number LML/765, commissioned for the mysterious “Monsieur Henrey Pagezy” – likely the industrial magnate Henri Pigozzi – was a mélange of cultural influences. It’s testament to the global nature of automotive design, borrowing elements from Simca, and encapsulating the best of British engineering, Italian design flair, and American entrepreneurial spirit.
The DB2/4’s journey through time is as storied as its creation. Having graced the prestigious Turin Motor Shows in 1957 and 1958, it crossed oceans and changed hands, each owner a custodian of its legacy. In the hands of Roger Karlson and later, under the meticulous care of Kevin Kay Restorations, it was reborn – its metallic blue sheen restored to its original glory, its engine singing a high-output symphony, and its details, down to the red exhaust tip, meticulously resurrected.
This automobile, a confluence of British heritage and Italian sartorial elegance, debuted at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, clinching First in Class – a testament to its timeless allure and a reaffirmation of its place in the annals of motoring excellence.
LML/765 crosses the auction block on 8 December 2023 at RM Sotheby’s New York with a price estimate of $1,200,000 – $1,600,000 USD. If you’ve got Jeremy Clarkson’s deep pockets, you can register to bid here.