1961 Aston Martin DB4
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1961 Aston Martin DB4 'Series II' Sports Saloon
Registration no. 272 BGN
Chassis no. DB4/529/R
Engine no. 370/626
Launched at the London Motor Show in 1958, the Aston Martin DB4 emphatically demonstrated that a British manufacturer could better the Italians at their own game when it came to constructing the ultimate Gran Turismo. Classically proportioned and instantly recognisable from the moment of its introduction, the Touring-styled DB4 established a look that would survive, with only minor revisions, until 1970. 'Following in the classic tradition of close-coupled sports saloons, the 3.7-litre DB4 Aston Martin carries orthodox modernity to its highest pitch,' reported The Motor. 'A luxurious two-seat saloon which can carry four adults when necessary, it recorded almost 140mph as a two-way mean speed over the measured mile. Yet we were able to record acceleration figures from 10mph in the same gear ratio.'
That the DB4 was able to manifest this rare combination of unrestrained high performance and civilised docility was down to its magnificent engine. A new design by Tadek Marek, the DB4's all-alloy, twin-overhead camshaft six featured 'square' bore and stroke dimensions of 92mm for a displacement of 3,670cc and developed its maximum output of 240bhp at 5,500rpm. The David Brown gearbox was a new four-speed all-synchromesh unit. An immensely strong platform-type chassis replaced the DB2/4's multi-tubular spaceframe, the latter being considered incompatible with Touring's Superleggera body construction that employed its own lightweight tubular structure to support the aluminium-alloy body panels. 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.
The DB4's peerless credentials as a Grande Routière were summed up thus by The Motor: 'Performance, controllability and comfort have been combined in the Aston Martin DB4 to make it a highly desirable car: one in which long journeys can be completed very quickly indeed with the minimum of risk or discomfort and the maximum of pleasure.'
The accompanying copy order form records that chassis number '529/R' was delivered on 17th January 1961 via the Brooklands dealership to one William Harvey, its first owner, and registered as '272 BGN'. The original colour scheme is recorded as Wedgewood Blue with blue grey Connolly hide interior trim, and the form also notes a change of engine in June 1970 from the original '370/540' to a reconditioned unit, '370/626', which is still in the car today.
We are advised that the Aston remained in the hands of its original owner's family until 1972 and from then onwards was owned by the Fowle family up to 2010. The sales receipt issued upon the change of ownership in 1972 is on file together with a letter dated 9th February 1972 stating that 'DB4/529/R' had engine number '370/626' fitted as a reconditioned unit by Aston Martin Lagonda in June 1970.
Commencing in 1999, the Aston was treated to an 18-month restoration at a cost of £44,000, the works being carried out by The Romance of Rust, London W13 and Aston Service Dorset. 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. In 2008 various restoration works were undertaken by Alpine Eagle (Rolls-Royce and Bentley restoration specialists) at a cost £9,000 (details on file).
On 3rd April 2008, the Fowle family sold '272 BGN' to Mr Greg Hollamby of Super Car Club, Broadwell, Gloucestershire. Two years later, in May 2011, the DB4 was offered for sale at Bonhams' auction at Aston Martin Works Service, Newport Pagnell (Lot 339) where it was purchased by the current vendor. Further restoration was carried out during 2013/2014 by SB Race Engineering of Watford, Hertfordshire at a total cost of £13,561. Finished in silver with dark blue leather interior, '529/R' is offered with a V5C document, current MoT certificate and sundry restoration and maintenance invoices.