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Old 30 Mar 2006, 23:12   #1
John Turner
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Aston Martin DBR2

Only 2 DBR2s built. In appearance, they were very similar to the DBR1 but physically larger. Under the skin, however, things were very different. The chassis were from the abandoned 1955 Lagonda V12 (Project 166) cars; the engines were (initially) of 3.7 litre capacity and of a type which was to go into the production DB4, and were fitted with a normal type 5 speed box (the DBR1 had a transaxle). These are cars elusive to my camera (I don’t seem to ever have taken a picture of either) but the fact is that their appearances in the UK have been relatively rare and, with the exception of 1958, were not exactly frequent when they were contemporary, either. There are however, one or two interesting stories around them which I will include in the Notes following the chassis histories.

DBR2/1
1957 – Constructed on Lagonda chassis DP166/1 and fitted with engine no. RDP/5057/2, the car retired from Le Mans, was crashed in practice for the Belgium GP at Spa and finished 3rd at the International Trophy meeting at Silverstone (Cunningham- Reid).
1958 – Engine enlarged to 3.9 litres, won the Sussex Trophy at Goodwood (Moss) and the British Empire Trophy (Moss), in both races breaking the lap record. It then retired at Aintree (Brooks), came 5th at Silverstone (Brooks), and 3rd at Spa GP in May (Shelby). It was then used as practice car for Moss and Brooks at the Targa Florio. The engine was then further enlarged to 4.2 litres and sent to the U.S.A., on loan to Elisha Walker for George Constantine to drive. Constantine won at Lime Rock with a new lap record, won at Marlborough and again at Nassau (Governor’s Trophy).
1959 – In the hands of Constantine, the car competed in a substantial number of U.S.A.C and S.C.C.A events with many good placings, including 3 wins at Lime Rock, one at Montgomery and one at Thompson. As a result Constantine shared the U.S.A Sports Car Driver’s Championship. This car/driver combination also won the Nassau Trophy.
1960 – Sold to Bill Aston who registered it 778RPH and competed in a number of minor events albeit with a fair degree of success.
1962 – Acquired by R.H. Dennis who had the gull wing coupe body from DB3/6 fitted and drove it on the road for many years in this form. Now this I do have a very old colour negative of, taken at Silverstone in about 1967.

1975 – The original body was refitted and sent out to the U.S.A.
1975-79 - Completely rebuilt by Steve Griswold
1980 – 87 sporadic outings in America, The car returned to the UK sometime during 1987 and for the next few years had some very rare outings, including a couple in the Mille Miglia retro
1994 – 95 Raced by Steve O’Rourke.
At some stage the car was acquired by Peter Livanos but not sure when
1998 – Entered in the First Goodwood Revival by Hugo Investments where it finished 3rd in the Lavant Cup (Brian Redman)

Currently fitted with engine no. RDP/5057/1. Last known reg.no 2 VPE.

DBR2/2
1957 - Constructed using Lagonda chassis DP166/2 and 3.7 litre engine no. RDP/5057/1.
It won first time out, at Silverstone (Salvadori) and was then sent out to Nassau where due to ignition problems it could only finish 24th in the Nassau TT (Moss) and then 4th in the Governor’s Trophy (Moss)
1958 – Engine enlarged to 3.9 litres. Car then finished 2nd in the Empire Trophy at Oulton Park (Brooks), 2nd at Aintree (Salvadori), 4th at Silverstone (Salvadori) and 2nd at Spa (Frere). Engine size increased to 4.2 litres and car then sent to U.S.A. again.
1959 - Raced with a few placings driven by Oker (I can’t be more specific than that at the moment since my sources disagree on the results) and won (by this time fitted with a twin plug head) the Governor’s Trophy at Nassau (Moss). Returned to the U.K
1960 – Sold to S.J. Diggory and registered 7 BXH. Driven for him by Halford and Escott.
1961 – Still owned by Diggory but driven at Goodwood by Hetreed
1962 – Driven twice by Diggory who won at Kirkistown, and then by Blumer who won twice at Charterhall
1962-73 ???
1973-78 – Rebuilt for D. F. Sadler by Barry Simpson
1981-82 – Campaigned occasionally by Harper and then Hart
1983-84 - Rebuilt back to 3.7litre
1985 – Entered into a number of concours (!) by Hart
Acquired by Victor Gauntlett during the late 80’s and then sold by auction in 1990 for £1.75million!
1994 - Appeared at Goodwood festival of Speed driven by Gillian Goldsmith
1995 – 96 – Driven in a few events by Draper (new owner?)
Current ownership or whereabouts not known to me!

Current engine no. RDP/5057/2. Last known reg.no. 7 BXH

NOTES
1) It should be noted that at some stage during their careers the cars have swapped engines, although it could be argued that they each started out with the ‘wrong’ engine numerically speaking and now have the ‘right’ engine!
2) In 1957 DBR2/1 was virtually untested and for Le Mans was given to the Whitehead brothers whilst the leading works drivers were given the DBR1s. The brothers however discovered that they had a rather quick car on their hands, so rather than post times in practice that would alert the team, they were lifting off the throttle down the Mulsanne, so that it wouldn’t be taken from them and given to one of the quicker drivers. It could have been quicker still as the next note will show!
3) DBR2/1 was supposed to be giving out 286bhp for Le Mans but after the race was discovered to be giving only about 230bhp due to the fuel plumbing system hastily cobbled together on the bench for the six Weber 48DCOEs. It is little wonder that both the Whitehead brothers and John Wyer felt, with hindsight, that the car was capable of winning the race first time out. Of course that ignores the possibility of it failing for other reasons and the fact that the gearbox failed due to the filter getting blocked and throwing all its oil out! It was a missed opportunity as the race was limited to 3-litre cars for the following year.
4) Only two cars were ever able to take on the great Archie Scott-Brown in the ‘works’ Lister Jaguar with any prospect of beating him. One was another Lister Jaguar driven by Masten Gregory for Ecurie Ecosse, and the other, the DBR2. All were present at Archie’s final tragic race, at Spa, when in an immense duel with Gregory, which on this occasion left both DBR2s trailing, Archie had the accident which took his life.
5) Stirling Moss persuaded David Brown to enter a car for himself and Tony Brooks for the Targa Florio in 1958. The race car was to be a DBR1 but they also took DBR2/1 with them as the practice car. Apparently, Stirling took his wife, Katie, as passenger, on one practice lap in DBR2/1 and completed the lap in a time close to his 1955 lap record in the 300SLR! Just wonderful!
6) When DBR2/1 appeared at the 1998 Goodwood Revival meeting it sported a most ugly high roll over bar. However, that may not have been a particularly recent addition and was probably a legacy from time spent racing in America.
7) In twin plug head form, the engine in DBR2/2 was reputed to be giving 315bhp.

Sources:- AMOC, 'Aston Martin - The Post-War Competition Cars' by Anthony Pritchard, 'Racing with the David Brown Aston Martin' Volume 1, by John Wyer (with Chris Nixon) and the 1998 Goodwood Revival Race programme!

Last edited by John Turner; 31 Mar 2006 at 09:30.
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 09:24   #2
John Turner
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I should have added that two DBR2 replicas are known to exist; one in Germany, and the other in the U.S.A. Both were apparently built from road DBS donor cars.
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 09:37   #3
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Peter Livanos owned DBR2/1 from 1987 (or earlier) to 1991 (or later). The owner in 1996 was given to me as "Lavant" which I suspect maybe Harry Levantis. I haven't heard of it since then

DBR2/2 was owned and raced by Simon Draper from 1992 to 1995. A car with this number has been entered at Laguna Seca meetings since then by Greg Whitten
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 10:09   #4
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Aston Martin DBR2/1

Just a slight adjustment to the race record at Nassau in 1958. Constatine won the 5 lap heat of the Governor's Trophy race. In the 25 lap race proper, he finished in second position behind the Scarab of Lance Reventlow.
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Old 31 Mar 2006, 11:39   #5
John Turner
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David, thank you for the ownership clarifications which fills a couple of gaps.

Terry, thank you; I have to admit that I find some some of the results outside of Europe confusing because the sources differ. In the case you mention, the earlier AMOC publications did indeed place Constantine 2nd, but more recently say 1st overall. I went for the latter on the assumption that it was a correction rather than the creation of a new error!
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Old 22 Aug 2006, 12:08   #6
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Seen at the Silverstone Classic in July, was this DBR2. I think it likely to be DBR2/2 since it does not sport the ugly roll over bar which appeared on DBR2/1 back in 1998 at the Goodwood Revival (unless, of course, it has been removed!). You can see the great similarity in appearance to the DBR1 but it is physically a larger car. Apologies for the intrusion of the fencing!
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Old 30 Aug 2006, 09:21   #7
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The Silverstone car was in fact DBR2/1. For a closer look at both cars I suggest checking out my article on the car http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/frame....php&carnum=18 , which shows recent pictures of DBR2/1 in the first six shots and DBR2/2 in the next six.
DBR2/2 was at the Historics again this year, so both cars are out in the open.
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Old 4 Sep 2006, 18:51   #8
John Turner
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Thanks, WouterM; great pics. So if the Silverstone car was DBR2/1, is this now the car owned by Anthony Bamford and driven (superbly well) by Jean-Marc Gounon at the Goodwood Revival yesterday? Presumably it has been fitted withn the roll cage very recently:-


The (current) distinguishing mark for DBR2/2 is the yellow nose, then, as well as the absence of roll cage!
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Old 6 Sep 2006, 15:53   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Turner
Thanks, WouterM; great pics. So if the Silverstone car was DBR2/1, is this now the car owned by Anthony Bamford and driven (superbly well) by Jean-Marc Gounon at the Goodwood Revival yesterday?
Yes.
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Old 8 Sep 2006, 14:28   #10
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Originally Posted by John Turner
Thanks, WouterM; great pics. So if the Silverstone car was DBR2/1, is this now the car owned by Anthony Bamford and driven (superbly well) by Jean-Marc Gounon at the Goodwood Revival yesterday? Presumably it has been fitted withn the roll cage very recently:-


The (current) distinguishing mark for DBR2/2 is the yellow nose, then, as well as the absence of roll cage!
Yuk! Another car spoiled
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Old 14 Sep 2006, 20:10   #11
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A paddock shot from the Revival showing the 'backbone' frame:



and one of the engine:



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Old 24 Jul 2010, 21:52   #12
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Yuk! Another car spoiled
Difficult one this. The roll bar spoils the balance and the traditional look of the car but after all it is a period feature, if the car was raced in the USA. And roll bars do work.
Overall I would rather see a DBR2 with a roll bar than no DBR2.
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Old 26 Jul 2010, 07:45   #13
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I take your point but AFAIK no DBR2 raced with one in period even in the USA and if one is going to be fitted can't it be done in a more sensitive manner? In this particular case it's academic since it had been removed the last time I saw the car. However I don't agree with your last point - I have lost much interest in historic racing as so many of the cars are now spoiled; it's got to the point that it's so far removed from the original context that it's not worth seeing.
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Old 26 Jul 2010, 21:28   #14
John Turner
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A good friend of mine who recently attended the Festival of Speed at Goodwood says that a DBR2 (DBR2/1?) turned up with its roll cage removed. I am also aware that Lord Irvine Laidlaw owns one of the two DBR2s, or, at least he did last year but I'm not sure which one. I've rather lost track of these two.
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Old 5 Nov 2010, 04:39   #15
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DBR2/1 is now with Jaroslaw Pawluk in Germany and DBR2/2 is with Gregory Whitten in the United States
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