Imagine this; you’ve enjoyed a leisurely afternoon with your significant other in the French Riviera. You’ve had a small bite to eat, a lovely refreshing drink and enjoyed life in the moment. The drive up to your house takes about 30 minutes but takes you along the shore for a bit before heading inland and twisting and turning through the undulating countryside. You step into your car, fire it up, roll down the window and head out into the sunset in an intoxicating mix of carburettor fumes and a glorious straight-six symphony. In style of course, as you’re driving a one-of-a-kind metallic blue Aston Martin DB 2/4 by Bertone. A dreamy scenario for sure, but for one individual that is very much a realistic possibility as RM Sotheby’s has recently sold that very car, and boy is it a gorgeous machine!
They say ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ and this unique Aston Martin, along with many others for that matter, is a perfectly good representation of just how true that statement is. Just look at it, in all its metallic blue splendour. The signature-shaped grill up front, the contoured chrome bumpers, the creases and curves down its profile, the wire wheels, the tan leather interior, the fastback rear end and the upright tail lights. It’s an absolute thing of beauty! But how did this car end up being built only once?
That’s simple really, as back in the day it was pretty common for wealthy enough people to order something unique and special from a manufacturer and Aston Martin was no exception when it came to agreeing with its clients to do so. This often went through dealerships and specialists, such as Stanley H. “Wacky” Arnolt II, who made his fortune by manufacturing marine engines. He also had a profound love for cars and motorsports. So much so that in late 1950 he started selling British cars in the Chicago area in the US. Very early on in his adventure as a car dealer, he had the idea to order a series of special MG TDs with a body by Bertone, one of the most revered Italian design firms and famous for cars like the Lamborghini Miura, the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. trilogy and the Lancia Stratos HF Zero. These rebodied MGs became known as the Arnolt-MGs, and a lot more followed. The best known ‘Arnolt’ car is the Arnolt-Bristol, but he also worked on Alfa Romeos, Bentleys, Ferraris and more.
One such manufacturer was Aston Martin, who provided Bertone with seven DB 2/4 chassis and seven new bodies were designed and built by the Italians. Each one is slightly different but from the seven there’s only one two-door coupe. This specific car is believed to have been commissioned by Henri Pigozzi, the founder of Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carosserie Automobile, better known as Simca. Years after its completion it was shown to the public during the 1957 and 1958 Turin Motor Show, but ever since this one was built, Aston Martin refused to supply any more chassis to Arnolt. The reason why remains a mystery, although Bertone was looking to work on the later Aston Martin DB4, an assignment that eventually was given to Touring, another fabled Italian coachbuilder. So perhaps a business deal went sour in the process, who knows?
Nevertheless, what we’re left with is simply a stunning machine. Elements such as the crease in the bodywork that runs over the front tires and into the doors are just superb. Being a coupe, the two doors open up to a luxurious interior wrapped in tan-coloured leather with matching carpets, a black three-spoke steering wheel and a gear stick to manipulate the four-speed transmission.
Up front, there is a three-litre in-line 6-cylinder engine built by Aston Martin, originally producing around 140bhp. By now it has been rebuilt to a high-output spec with a higher compression, different valves and camshafts and an upgraded oiling system. No performance figures are listed, but for a car like this, it doesn’t matter how fast it goes. It’s all about driving around in style, not speed.
By the mid-1970s it was sold and shipped to the US, where it was at one point restored to factory fresh nick. It changed hands once or twice more before in 2019 the car was acquired by its last owner (apart from the one who bought it at the RM Sotheby’s auction on the 8th of December this year). That owner gave Aston Martin specialist Kevin Kay the task of returning it to its original shade of metallic blue, matching it to paint traces in the trunk and around the headlights. A full restoration followed where no nut and bolt was left unturned. According to records, the work cost around USD 800,000 and the car was ready just in time for this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It still has its original straight-six engine, matching the original chassis and bodywork by number.
This Aston Martin DB 2/4 by Bertone was awarded First In Class at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the Postwar Touring category. It has not been shown publically since, so its new owner, who paid a hammer price of USD 1,105,000 for it, still has quite a few options to enter into high-profile classic car events. It’s invited to participate in the 2024 edition of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como, so for everyone who’s visiting I would say; keep an eye out for this amazing machine! It might just win Best of Show there!
For more information on this gorgeous Aston Martin DB 2/4 Coupe by Bertone, please visit RMSothebys.com.
Editorial Note: All images for this article are sourced from, and used with permission by RM Sotheby’s unless stated otherwise.