Founded in 1913, Aston Martin is one of the oldest vehicle manufacturers in the world. Though the company has sometimes endured severe financial difficulties, it has never lost taste and class in the vehicles it produces. Among the most famous Aston Martins’ is the Aston Martin DB1. Also known as Aston Martin 2-Litre Sports, the DB1 was among the most stylish and classy sports cars of its time. If you are a classic car fanatic, then you must know a thing or two about this legend. But if you don't, here are 10 things you probably didn't know about this iconic sports car.
1. It was Named After David Brown
In 1946, David Brown responded to a small ad in The Times. The advert was on a sports car company for sale. He immediately drew interest and purchased Aston Martin, in 1947, for 20,000 DBP. Shortly after buying the company, construction of an updated version of The Atom - a fully functional concept car designed by Claud Hill begun. The car was developed in 1948 and named ‘Two Liter Sports’. However; this name didn’t stick as the car became popularly known as the DB1-initials to David Brown 1. The vehicles that were developed later in the series assumed the ‘DB’ manqué.
2. The Body was Designed by Frank Feeley
According to Wikipedia,Frank Feeley was an automotive stylist and designer. When David Brown bought Aston Martin, Frank Freely, along with the Lagonda design team begun to work for David Brown’s Aston Martin. Frank Feeley was an experienced designer and he brought his experience with him. His first project was the DB1 that later participated in the 1949 Le Mans race. Frank Feeley’s design for the BD1 was based on sketches he had made for the Lagonda V12 before World War Two.
3. Only 15 Aston Martin DB1s’ Were Made
Although the Aston Martin DB1 was brilliantly engineered, its chassis was only suited for limited production because it was quite expensive to build. After the Le Mans race, the car was rebuilt by Aston Martin and shown at the London Motor Show. It was presented as an example of a new ‘Spa Replica’ series. However, there were no takers and it was kept in the Dutch Motor museum until 2006 when it was returned to the UK for restoration. Aston martin later made another 14, bringing the total number of Aston Martin DB1s' made to 15.
4. The DB1 was Underpowered
The Aston Martin DB1 used a 2.0-liter engine that produced 90 horsepower. The horsepower produced by the 2.0-liter engine was however negated by the heavy four-seater convertible bodywork. According to Classic Driver, due to its limited power and weight (1143kg), the DB1 could only hit a top speed of 150 kph (93mph).
5. It had a Compartment in one of the Front Wings
One of the most intriguing design features of the Aston Martin DB1 is a compartment in one of its front wings. The compartment made the car unique as no other vehicle manufacturer had done that. The purpose of the compartment was to store the spare wheel.
6. Engine and suspension
Although larger six-cylinder twin cam engines were available, Aston Martine decided to stick to the two-liter engine used in the Atom. It was however fitted with a David Brown four-speed, synchromesh manual gearbox to improve transmission. It also used 12-inch hydraulic drum brakes with worm and roller steering. The DB1 had an independent front suspension and rear leaf springs that used Armstrong's hydraulic shock absorbers.
7. It was not a Profitable Venture
The DB1’s chassis was only suitable for limited production. The car was therefore expensive to produce and generated little profit. Denis Brown later confessed that he made the car for fun, not profit. Furthermore, only 15 cars were ever made.
8. The DB1 Participated in the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hour Race
The English explorer, Robert Lawrie ordered a custom-made DB1 and it was delivered in 1949. The car was very unique as the heavy DB1 body was replaced with a lighter body and a ‘spa replica’ racing engine. Robert Lawrie, despite not having a racing license or even a suitable car, was allowed to participate in the 1949 Le Mans race. He approached Aston Martin at the London motor show and commissioned a specially built car. He joined the race alongside Dr. Richard Parker, who was also an amateur driver. They finished the race in the 11th position. They would have made it to the top 10 if Richard Parker had not made a gentleman’s stop to give Lawrie the honor of taking the flag. Although the Aston Martin fished number 11, it was still impressive because only 16 of the 46 cars that participated finished the race.
9. It was The First Car Made by Aston Martin after David Brown’s Takeover
Before David Brown's takeover of Aston Martin, they were developing the Atom. He, therefore, used Claud Hill's design of the atom to build the DB1. As discussed earlier, Frank Feeley designed the car's chassis but kept most of the Atom's features, including the two-liter engine.
10. A Fully Restored DB1 Can Cost You More Than 400,000 Euros.
According to The Daily Mail, Since the cars were not meant for large scale production, not many spare parts are available. Also, the DB1s' has been around for decades and in all that time, most of them have suffered extensive decay and damage; hence are costly to restore. Another thing that makes them so expensive is the fact that they are limited vintage cars. With only 15 of them ever produced, and their historic significance, the DB1s' hold a lot of sentimental value to the people who own them.
One look at the Aston Martin DB1 and you’ll fall in love with its classic design. It also holds a lot of historical significance and is considered a gem by many vintage car collectors and fans. It also acted as a foundation for the DB series, which is very famous. One of the vehicles in the DB series, the DB5, was used in a James Bond movie. This classical legend has won the hearts of many car lovers ever since it was made and will continue to do so.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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