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DB2, DB2/4, DB2/4 MK2 and DB MKIII

It should be remembered that the design concept of these engines dates back to the late 1930s and consequently there are some limitations to the scope of engine modification and development that can be achieved.

However, through a combination of client request and in-house development, Aston Workshop are constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved on these fine classic Astons.

General points

Racing engines in the 1950s were developing power outputs of 200bhp and above, when the first production engines were producing only 85 bhp.

Fast road engines today can reliably produce outputs in the region of 170 bhp and above.


Fast Road Engine Enhancements

The principal areas of modification are:
  • Fast Road camshafts. To go with fitting these, it is recommended that high compression pistons and free-flow exhaust manifolds are also fitted and the exhaust system is twinned
  • Replacement aluminium cylinder head – DB2 and DB 2/4 cars are restricted with the inherent breathing of the engine by restrictions in the intake manifold and inlet ports. These may be overcome with this new aluminium cylinder head, that retains the basic deign and physical features of the original. Fitted with improved porting and bigger valves, engines fitted with this cylinder head have significantly greater scope for performance enhancement, but with full unleaded capabilities When mated with fast road camshafts, high compression pistons and free flow exhaust, the potential power can be further improved to around 180 to 185 bhp
  • Crankshafts - To reliably cope with increased torque and power, consideration should be given to whether it would be prudent to fit a replacement forged steel crank. The advantage is the absence of crank induced torsional vibration and dynamic balance, as well as enhancing general longevity.

Complementary Transmission recommendations

  1. A higher rear axle ratio from 3.54

  2. 5 speed gearbox or overdrive

Complementary Suspension modifications recommended are:
  1. Telescopic rear shock absorbers

  2. Stiffer front roll bar

  3. Fast road front and rear springs

  4. Up rated front shock absorbers

  5. Replacement Front spring suspension towers - a safety precaution

Complementary Brake and Hub modifications
  1. Front Disc Brakes

  2. New front and rear hubs to overcome known design weaknesses

  3. Brake servo

  4. Consideration could also be given to modifying the braking system to accommodate separate front and rear brake hydraulic circuits.

  5. 72 spoke wire wheels and radial tyres

Reliability, flexibility and refinement

Using the original cylinder block and head, does have its limitations, but there is a range of enhancements, which would be of benefit in any engine of this type. They are:

  • New forged steel crank. To reduce the effects of torsional vibration and improve longevity
  • New re-designed, solid 4 bolt "cheeses"
  • Cylinder head modifications to allow for larger valves and unleaded fuel
  • Solid State ignition for reliability
  • Increased capacity oil pump for reliability and longevity
  • Improved engine cooling – aluminium radiator and electric fan

Complementary transmission recommendations

  • A higher rear axle ratio from 3.77 to 3.31 or 5 speed gearbox

Complementary Brake and Hub modifications

  • Front Disc Brakes

  • New front and rear hubs to overcome known design weaknesses

  • Brake servo

  • Consideration could also be given to modifying the braking system to accommodate separate front and rear brake hydraulic circuits.

  • 72 spoke wire wheels and radial tyres

The Ultimate

Engine power can be increased beyond that of the Fast Road engine, but it will however, be at the expense of flexibility and general refinement. Aspects of engine development include gas flowing and blue printing of the cylinder head and block assemblies, the use of a fully mapped ignition system and the use of high lift racing camshafts. Each project really needs to be discussed in detail before a final specification can be finalised.

In all other respects, the complimentary transmission, brake and suspension modifications that would be recommended are those for the fast road engine, as detailed here.

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