Aston Martin DB4GT - ex-Tour de France
Tour de France? We must be talking about a Ferrari, surely? Well actually, no... it’s the Maranello firm’s British GT rival, an Aston Martin. To be specific, it’s the only Aston Martin DB4GT ever to contest the famous French endurance race, and it’s just emerged onto the public scene after spending the past 48 years largely hidden away in France, where it was sold new.
The DB4GT is, with the exception of the Zagato, arguably the most sought-after of the David Brown Aston Martin road cars. Only 75 Touring-bodied GTs were built between 1959 and 1963, plus a further 19 with Zagato bodywork, one Bertone show car and five ‘DP’ development prototypes. Stirling Moss took a GT to victory first time out at Nassau in ’59, a customer car borrowed back after his works DBR2 expired in practice. Aston Martin patron David Brown had approved the GT as a rival to Ferrari’s 250SWB berlinetta in the GT class and, although the heavier Aston never quite matched the Italian car’s finesse, nothing could match it for long-legged pace and ruggedness whilst looking quite so handsome.
After the demise of the Mille Miglia in ’57, the 5075km Tour de France remained as Europe’s last great road race and in the mid- to late-1950s it appeared almost as a Ferrari benefit: they won the event so often they even named their GT model after it.
The Bourelly brothers from Nimes, in France, however, liked to do things differently and almost half a century ago they lined up on the starting ramp in Nice with their gleaming new DB4GT, ready to mix it up with the great drivers and teams of the era.
Thankfully the Aston survived unscathed (although it retired at Le Mans with a holed piston after chasing the leading SWBs) but it disappeared from public view, remaining with the brothers until sold to a friend in 1985, and from him to another Frenchman - the current owner - in 1997.
‘DB4GT/0120/L’ has been fleetingly spotted, never leaving the country, and only now has its third owner completed a painstaking restoration, thankfully retaining its appropriately named Elusive Blue livery with the original grey leather. There is talk of the car being shown at events this summer, and to Aston enthusiasts like the team at Classic Driver, it will be great to see and hear this long-lost DB4GT being put through its paces once again. Ferrari 250SWB drivers, make way for the British bulldog...
Text: Simon Kidston
Photos: Kidston S.A.
ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter