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|Aston Martin DB4 Vantage Convertible|
Bonhams - 3 Dec 2012 Collectors' Motor cars and Automobilia Weybridge, Mercedes-Benz World Brooklands
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|'The best all round car, however, is probably the Series IV Vantage with the Special Series engine before the car put on weight to become the Series V.' – Robert Edwards, 'Aston Martin – Ever The Thoroughbred'.|
Classically proportioned and instantly recognisable from the moment of its introduction in 1958, the Touring-styled Aston Martin DB4 established a look that would survive, with only minor revisions, until 1970. Designed by Tadek Marek and already proven in racing, the DB4's new twin-cam six-cylinder engine displaced 3,670cc while the gearbox was a new David Brown four-speed all-synchromesh unit. An immensely strong platform-type chassis, designed by Harold Beach, replaced the preceding DB2/4's multi-tubular spaceframe, the latter being considered incompatible with Touring's Superleggera body construction. The DB2/4's trailing-link independent front suspension gave way to unequal-length wishbones while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod. Boasting disc brakes all round and with 240bhp on tap, the DB4 was the first production car capable of accelerating from a standing start to 100mph and back to rest again in under 30 seconds. At a time when few family saloons were capable of exceeding 70mph and took an age to get there, this staggering performance made the DB4 just about the fastest thing on the road, easily the equal of its Italian rivals.
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. One of the most notable developments arrived with the introduction of the 'Series IV' in September 1961, when a 'Special Series' (SS) or 'Vantage' engine became available as an option. The 'SS' incorporated a 9.0:1 compression ratio, larger valves and triple SU HD8 carburettors, producing 266bhp at 5,750rpm, a gain of 26 horsepower over the standard unit.
Coincidentally with the Series IV's introduction, the DB4 became available in convertible form. Unveiled at the 1961 Motor Show and priced at £4,449, it was £250 more expensive than the saloon. Passenger space was little changed, though there was more headroom than the saloon could offer. Combining Aston Martin's traditional virtues of style and performance with the joys of open-air motoring, the DB4 Convertible is most sought after and highly prized today. With the exception of the Zagato, the DB4 Convertible is the rarest Aston Martin road car of the David Brown era with a total of only 70 built, six less than the legendary DB4 GT.
Chassis number 'DB4C/1072/R' is one of the very few DB4 convertibles manufactured with the 'Special Series' (Vantage) engine. The car was first registered on 15th October 1962 to the vendor's grandfather, Mr R T Gwynn. At the time of acquisition, Reginald Gwynn was the Managing Director of the well-known high street store chain, F W Woolworth, recently defunct and fondly remembered as either Woolworth's or Woollies.
The car comes with a substantial history file containing correspondence dating back to 1962 between Gwynn and its supplier, Brooklands of 103 Bond Street (next door to present day Bonhams) together with the original order form. The purchase price was a little over £4,513. Other correspondence includes letters from John Wyer at Aston Martin Lagonda Limited. The many expired MoT certificates on file date back to 1975 (at 33,914 miles) the last of which (expired April 2012) records the mileage total as a believed-correct circa 70,000. It is expected the car will be offered with a new MoT by time of sale. A rare and highly desirable car with exceptional provenance.
Sold on the 19.05.2012