As an international man of mystery and R&T confidant, Bob Lutz is regularly consulted on topics ranging from romance to rust prevention. Still, at least once a week, someone inquires about the Aston Martin in his portrait. We finally asked him. As it turns out, the car carries a good story. We'll let him tell it.
My 1952 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage was originally bought by my father, a Swiss banker. His excuse was that he wanted to help support the U.K. economy after Clement Attlee's socialist government was ousted in 1951.
In 1959, Dad traded up to a 3.0-liter, 210-hp DB2 Mark III S. Not being offered much for the '52, he proposed that I buy it for $1000. I was in the Marine Corps at the time, the Aston was in Switzerland, and in 1959, $1000 was not a trivial sum. I passed.
Almost 40 years later, visiting my parents and old friends in Zurich, I was asked to drive a high school buddy to an Aston Martin Lagonda restorer to pick up his repaired DB4. While there, I spotted an old, derelict DB2, spray-painted metallic green and with the back light replaced with an approximation of a '74 Stingray's rear window, albeit in yellowed, crazed Plexiglas. I remarked to the shop owner that my dad had owned a DB2 but that his had been metallic blue. "This one's that way under the hood," he said.
I checked: Dad's blue. "But he had a custom recessed footwell for his big feet; this one's flat." The shop owner reached into a big box and pulled out the fabricated footwell. "We were wondering what this was," he said.
The more details I pursued, the more items came out of the box. The shop owner decided to check the file. We found the factory build ticket, which read, "Special Order for General Director Robert H. Lutz." I bought the car on the spot for many, many multiples of the original $1000, and that was before the cost of returning it to 100 percent—an as-Dad-had-it cosmetic and mechanical restoration. The car now resides at my home and is a pleasant, reliable driver, as well as a family heirloom.
When I told my dad I had found and bought his '52 DB2, his comment was, "What on earth did you do that for?"
Bonus round, and the next-most-asked question: What kind of cigar is Bob smoking, what does he like in one, and why?
My favorite is a little-known, medium-priced brand made in the Dominican Republic by, I believe, a Swiss tobacco company. The name is La Libertad, and the format is Robusto. I like this cigar (handmade, of course) for its excellent, medium-bodied flavor; its good draw; and the consistent quality of its construction, the latter being the area where authentic Cuban cigars have become hopeless.
La Libertad comes in a simple cardboard box of 20. No wasteful packaging here. I order via the Internet; delivery is always within three days.
I also like Dominican Montecristo Platinum 1999-edition cigars. The flavor is outstanding, but consistency in construction is somewhat lacking.
This column's standard Q&A format will return next month. Bob Lutz has, after all, been The Man at several car companies, so your problems are cake. Even if someone hacked a Vette window into your father's Aston.
Submit questions to Bob at