70 years of Aston Martin DB series: From the very first Two Litre Sports DB1 to V12 DB11 in pictures

Aston Martin DB nomenclature is a fundamental part of Aston Martin as it was 70 years ago. Not just not just as a core component of the Aston Martin product range, but a key part of its identity too.

By: | Published: April 26, 2018 2:11 PM

Aston Martin DB bloodline has come from the Two Litre Sports DB1 to the V12 and V8-powered DB11 and DB11 Volante. The iconic British marque is celebrating 70 years of its very popular DB series and to mark the occasion, Aston Martin DB11 and DB11 Volante were introduced at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show as the latest addition to the DB family. The very first Aston Martin launched under David Brown's ownership was the DB1, that's where it picks its name. Brown bought Aston Martin in 1947 and over time the DB brand grew as iconic as ever, and now we have the new DB11 in a striking Volcano Red colour scheme.

Over the years, DB-badged Astin Martins went on to become the most coveted of all the portfolio, with only under half of all Aston Martin's produced adorning the badge. The brand has quite been the choice of the elite in the world, including the most elite secret agent of all time. Besides this, Aston Martin DBs also bagged some of motorsport’s greatest prizes, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Sports Car Championship.

70 years of DB: Aston Martin DB1

Aston Martin DB1 was the first car announced under David Brown’s management, though it was already under development when he arrived. It was launched as the Two Litre Sports in 1948, but from 1950 began to be retrospectively referred to as ‘DB1’. It had been designed during World War 2 using the 2-litre engine by Claude Hill. Just 15 were sold.

70 years of DB: Aston Martin DB2

Aston Martin DB2 was quite the car that established the brand's reputation in the post-war generation. David Brown acquired the WO Bentley-designed 2.6-litre twin-cam straight-six engine used in the DB2. The DB2 was replaced with the faster and sharper DB4 in 1959.

70 years of DB: Aston Martin DB4

Aston Martin DB4 was built in five distinct series, along with a short-wheelbase DB4. It was the first production car capable of doing 0-160-0 km/h in under 30 seconds and claimed to attain its top speed of 160 km/h in 21 seconds.

70 years of DB: Aston Martin DB5

With the DB5, Aston Martin DB was really on a roll and in 1963, a gadget loaded DB5 made an appearance in the James Bond film Goldfinger. It had a 4-litre engine with a full synchromesh ZF five-speed gearbox.

70 years of DB: Aston Martin DB6

The DB6 would stay in production until 1970, eventually selling in far larger numbers than either the DB4 or DB5. The DBS was a complete departure – larger, wider, equipped with a De Dion rear axle and, after the 1969 launch of the DBS V8, a four-cam V8 engine that would stay in production until the 21st century.

70 years of DB: Aston Martin DBS

Sir David Brown - who had been knighted in 1968 - reluctantly sold Aston Martin in 1972 and it would be 23 years before his initials would appear on the marque’s cars again. After chairman Walter Hayes offered Brown the title of Honorary Life President, Brown granted Aston Martin’s use of his initials once more, affording a new Aston Martin the greatest possible start in life. It was called the DB7. Unfortunately, Brown didn’t live to see it after passing in 1993, the year before the model went on sale.

By the time a completely new Aston Martin was ready in 2003 - the first built at its Gaydon headquarters - the advance in technology, quality and performance was so great, Aston Martin jumped the DB8 number and called the new car DB9. The DB9 begat the second DBS and Bond’s first Gaydon-built company car, while the V8 Vantage-based DB10 earned the honour of becoming 007’s first ever fully bespoke road car.

With the new DB11 and soon-to-be-launched DBS Superleggera, the DB brand continues to form the backbone of Aston Martin’s Second Century Plan. Today, the DB nomenclature is a fundamental part of Aston Martin as it was 70 years ago. Not just not just as a core component of the Aston Martin product range, but a key part of its identity too.

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