1960 Aston Martin DB4 'Series I' Sports Saloon Coachwork by Tickford Chassis no. DB4/245/L Engine no. 370/243
'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.' - The Autocar, 3rd October 1958.
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'. When the DB4 was introduced, it was Britain's most powerful and fastest production car, and its aerodynamically styled, all-aluminium, Superleggera coachwork looked sensational, establishing a look that would endure for the next dozen years.
The Aston Martin DB4 was the first of the DB models to employ the entirely new twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder, 3.7-litre engine designed by Tadek Marek, which had first been seen at Le Mans the previous year in the DBR2. A Polish engineer who had joined the company in 1954, Marek had previously enjoyed a racing career and posts with General Motors and FIAT in Poland, the design of tanks during WW2, and had arrived at Newport Pagnell from Austin.
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. Including Vantage and convertible models, approximately 1,100 of these iconic 'Gentleman's Express' sports saloons were produced between 1958 and 1963.
This left-hand drive 'Series I' DB4 was delivered new via Aston Martin's United States West Coast importer Charles Hornburg and first owned by one Paul S Pollack (Karl's Shoes Limited) of Los Angeles, California. The accompanying copy order form records that the car was finished in Snow Shadow Grey with red Connolly leather interior trim and equipped with chromed road wheels. Highly collectible, this rare 'Series I' car is one of approximately 150 built. As such it features particularly clean styling, closest to Touring's original conception for the model.
The AMOC Register (published 2000) shows that '245/L' formerly belonged to one R J Minella in the USA and that during the early mid-1990s it was entered in various concours events by 'Rodd', presumably a previous owner. The car's record is most impressive, consisting of mainly 1st-in-class awards and wins in the Charles Turner Trophy competition (on two occasions).
'245/L' is finished in Peony Red with Mushroom leather interior trim complemented by clean brightwork and chromed wire wheels shod with period-correct Avon cross-ply tyres. The engine bay is very tidy and it is obvious that the chassis has been restored, retaining the correct lever-arm dampers. The DB4 appears to be a strong runner, starting readily and showing decent oil pressure; however, we are advised that the gearbox is somewhat balky and would benefit from expert attention. Eligible for AMOC and a wide variety of other historic events, the car is offered with the aforementioned copy order form.
Should the vehicle remain in the UK, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.