When the products which are raced bear such a close resemblance to those which can be bought by the public, as do those of Aston Martin, only the most biased can deny the value of racing in improving the breed. It should be no surprise (that the DB4) should be based on an engine which first appeared in experimental form in some of last year’s races.
At its launch in October 1958, the DB4 marked a major turning point for Aston Martin as it was the first car of the David Brown era which neither used a chassis derived from the experimental Atom of 1939 nor an engine designed by W O Bentley. Moreover, it was the first Aston Martin to carry Carrozzeria Touring’s ‘Superleggera’ bodywork, in which light alloy panels were fixed to a framework of light-gauge steel tubes welded to a platform chassis. Although styled by Touring, the DB4’s gorgeous fastback coachwork was built under license at Newport Pagnell by Aston Martin, which employed some of the finest panel beaters in the industry. The result was a car whose sleek lines were described as ‘unmistakably Italian and yet… equally unmistakably Aston Martin.’ The 3.7-litre, six-cylinder power unit was the work of Tadek Marek and had first been seen at Le Mans the previous year in the works DBR2 sports-racer.
Manufactured between October 1958 and June 1963, the DB4 developed through no fewer than five series. However, it should be made clear that the cars were not thus designated by the factory, this nomenclature having been suggested subsequently by the Aston Martin Owners Club to aid identification as the model evolved. The first series had already undergone a number of improvements, including the fitting of heavy-duty bumpers after the first 50 cars, before the second series arrived in January 1960. A front-hinged bonnet, bigger brake callipers and an enlarged sump were the major changes made on the Series II, while the third series featured separate rear lights, two bonnet stays and a host of improvements to the interior fittings. Manufactured between September 1961 and October 1962, the fourth series was readily distinguishable by its shallower bonnet intake, recessed rear lights and new grille with seven vertical bars. The final, fifth, series was built on a 3.5″ longer wheelbase (allowing for increased legroom and a larger boot) and gained 15″ wheels, an electric radiator fan and the DB4GT-type instrument panel. Including Vantage and convertible models, approximately 1,100 of these iconic ‘Gentleman’s Express’ sports saloons were produced between 1958 and 1963.
The Offered DB4
1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series II Sports Saloon in Silver with a Dark Blue hide, manual gearbox, with 2981 miles on the speedometer. The Aston has had 4 keepers and comes with the personalised plate.
The original colour scheme is recorded as Wedgwood Blue with blue grey Connolly hide interior trim, and we also note a change of engine in June 1970 from the original ‘370/540’ to a reconditioned unit, ‘370/626’, fitted by Aston Martin Lagonda which is still in the car today. Commencing in 1999, the Aston was treated to an 18-month restoration at a cost of £44,000, the body, engine, chassis components and electrics were all restored, and the interior completely re-trimmed, while Tracker Network (UK) Ltd installed a vehicle tracking device in November 1999. The current exterior paint work and Hide being completed in 2013/14.