The Aston Martin DB1 Sports Car

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

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The first sports car from Aston Martin appeared in 1914.

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

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

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

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

In 1947, it was decided to design a new car but, by that time, the company was in financial difficulty, and required a cash injection.

History has it that when the industrialist David Brown drove the Atom in 1947, he was so impressed that he purchased the Aston Martin company, having already acquired the Lagonda company.

Using the Atom as a basis, David Brown felt that a convertible or drop head coupe variant, with long sweeping body styling, would be the most appropriate format for the production of the new car.

To withstand the additional stresses encountered by removing the roof section, the chassis would require additional strengthening.

Even though larger, alternative, six cylinder twin cam engines were available from Lagonda, it was decided to retain the same 2 litre unit, as used in the Atom, and fitted with a David Brown four speed, all-synchromesh, manual gearbox.

It had a steel body, with a highly distinctive three part grille, on a steel chassis, with a kerb weight of 1140 kg.

It used Girling 12 inch hydraulic drum brakes all round on 16 inch rims, with worm and roller steering.

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

The new sports car was designated the Two Litre Sports, and 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 receive the alternative name of Aston Martin DB1.

Unfortunately, the presence of a heavy two seater, drophead-styled body, and an engine with only modest output, made for a car that was underpowered, which was reflected in the fact that only 13 units of the DB1 were built.

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

THE ASTON MARTIN SPA CONVERTIBLE

Prior to 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 body was replaced by a special version based on a small two seater convertible.

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

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

However, this single Spa Replica, as it was known, failed to produce sufficient interest to warrant actual production, and was subsequently exhibited at the Dutch Motor Museum.

COMPETITION

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

This concludes my Aston Martin DB1 Sports Car Review.

The Aston Martin Virage Sports Car

Aston Martin Virage – A close look at this sports car including performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

THE CAR

The V8 Series of Aston Martin sports cars had been successfully produced since 1969, and a replacement was well overdue.

Consequently, in late 1988, and as a natural evolution, the successor was introduced at the Birmingham Motor Show as a 2+2 coupe, and designated the Aston Martin Virage sports car.

It was positioned as the company’s premier and exclusive model, and the timing of the launch coincided with the acquisition of the company by Ford of the US.

In terms of styling, it’s sleek lines, which produced a drag coefficient of just 0.34, resembled that of a Lagonda rather than the classic lines of the V8 Series.

It was fitted with spoilers both front and rear, and stylish flush headlights.

The influence of Ford was noticeable in the fact that, as a cost-cutting measure, a number of the car’s’ components were sourced from a wide range of companies, including the Parent.

Although it used aluminium body panels, it was still a heavy car with a curb weight of 1790 kg.

When production ended in 1995, Aston Martin had built a total of 365 Virage sports cars.

THE ENGINE

The Virage was powered by a front-engined, all aluminium, 5.3 litre, 32 valve, DOHC, V8 unit with the head modified by Callaway Engineering in the US, and incorporated a modified intake manifold and Weber-Marelli fuel injection.

This developed 330 bhp at 5300 rpm, and 350 ft/lbs of torque at 4000 rpm.

Fitted with a ZF five speed manual gearbox and using a 9.5:1 compression, it produced a top speed of 158 mph, with 0-60 mph in 6.5 secs.

Interestingly, the majority of customers preferred the optional Chrysler three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission.

Towards the end of production, an optional six speed manual gearbox from the Vantage sports car was offered.

In January 1992, as part of a programme of improvements, existing customers were able to replace the original 5.3 litre engine with a 6.3 litre V8 unit that had been incorporated in the Aston Martin AMR1, a Group C sports car racer that was entered in the 1989 Le Mans 24 Hours race.

The new engine developed 500 bhp at 6000 rpm, and 480 ft/lbs of torque at 5800 revs, which gave the car a top speed of 175 mph.

The conversion included fitting larger vented disc brakes, 18 inch wheels, air dams and side air vents.

For Technical Data, see original article below

COMPETITION

Typical competitors of the Aston Martin Virage sports car were the following: Porsche 964 Turbo, and Ferrari 550 Maranello.

For Comparative Technical Data, see original article below

This concludes my Aston Martin Virage Sports Car Review