Aston Martin DB1 sports car

The Aston Martin DB1 – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, rivals comparison, history and used prices.

from classic to modern


The first Aston Martin sports car appeared in 1914.

In 1939, the Aston Martin Atom was introduced, a two-door, four-seater coupe, powered by a 2-liter, four-cylinder SOHC engine with two Zenith carburettors.

In the early 1940s, this unit was replaced by a 2-liter, four-cylinder OHV engine, with two SU carburettors and a 7.25: 1 compression ratio.

Linked to a four-speed semi-automatic gearbox, it developed 90 hp at 4750 rpm.

There was independent front suspension and leaf springs at the rear with Armstrong hydraulic shock absorbers. Production of the Atom ended in 1944.

In 1947, it was decided to design a new car, but at the time, the company was in financial difficulties and needed a cash injection.

The story goes that when industrialist David Brown was driving the Atom in 1947, he was so impressed that he bought the Aston Martin company, having already acquired the Lagonda company.

Using the Atom as a base, David Brown considered that a drop-head coupe or convertible variant, with an elongated body style, would be the most appropriate format for the production of the new car.

To withstand the additional stresses encountered when removing the roof section, the chassis would require additional reinforcement.

Despite the Lagonda offering larger twin cam six-cylinder reciprocating engines, it was decided to retain the same 2-liter unit, as used in the Atom, and fitted with a fully synchronized four-speed David Brown manual gearbox. .

It had a steel body, with a very distinctive three-part grille, on a steel chassis, with a curb weight of 1,140 kg.

It used Girling 12-inch hydraulic drum brakes on all 16-inch wheels, with helical and roller steering.

An intriguing design feature was the presence of a compartment in one of the front wings to store the spare wheel.

The new sports car was designated a two-liter sports car and was launched at the 1948 London Motor Show, when production would continue until the introduction of the DB2 in 1950, at which point the car would be renamed the Aston Martin DB1. .

Unfortunately, the presence of a heavy-duty, flip-head-style two-seater body and an engine with modest horsepower made the car underpowered, which was reflected in the fact that only 13 units of the DB1 were made.

Furthermore, the chassis was only suitable for limited production, which meant that the car was expensive to produce and therefore not a profitable company.


Before the launch of the DB1 sports car, it was decided that, as a means of thoroughly testing the chassis and engine, the car would be entered in the 1948 Belgian Spa 24-hour race.

The existing bodywork was replaced by a special version based on a small two-seater convertible.

As a result, the car won the race and was duly designated a Spa car.

After the race, this car was rebuilt and displayed alongside the DB1 at the 1948 London Motor Show.

However, this one-of-a-kind Spa replica, as it was known, did not generate enough interest to justify the actual production, and it was subsequently displayed at the Dutch Motor Museum.


The market in which the Aston Martin was launched included the following sports cars: Triumph 2000, Cisitalia 202 SMM Spider Nuvolari, Bristol 401 and Maserati A6.

This concludes my review of the Aston Martin DB1 sports car.

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