1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT


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The ex-Peter Thornton, Ian Dalglish actively and successfully campaigned
1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT
Registration no. 170 PPL
Chassis no. 370/0110/GT (original engine offered with motor car); and a race unit installed with no number.

Here we are delighted to offer one of the most actively campaigned of all Aston Martin DB4GTs within recent times.

The Aston Martin DB4GT model was developed specifically to contest the FIA's then-newly introduced Grand Touring Car World Championship of 1960. The new competition replaced the former FIA Sports Car World Championship, which the British marque had dramatically won - in face of strong Ferrari and Porsche opposition - in 1959.

The short-wheelbase, lightweight DB4GT was launched at the 1959 London Motor Show within the Earl's Court exhibition halls. It was driven by Stirling Moss to win upon its debut at Silverstone and quickly began to accumulate further success, taking the battle to Ferrari.

Aston Martin's DB4GT model featured many modifications compared with the standard DB4 Coupe. No fewer than 5 inches were removed from the wheelbase and light-alloy door, bonnet, bootlid, firewall, floors, propeller-shaft tunnel and even suspension parts were adopted to trim weight. Perspex replaced toughened glass in the windows. The DB4GT featured the standard DB4 model's 4-speed synchromesh gearbox cluster but now housed within a lightweight aluminium case, while the disc brake system was uprated with 12-inch front and 11-inch rear discs, clasped by Girling calipers.

The model's Tadek Marek-designed 3,670cc aluminium twin-overhead camshaft in-line 6-cylinder engine carried a redesigned new light-alloy cylinder head. The unit featured higher-compression pistons and breathed through a rack of three Weber 45DCOE twin-choke carburettors. Power output was quoted as an impressive 302bhp at 6,000rpm, while torque peaked at 240lbs/ft at 5,000rpm. Bodywork was thinly panelled on the Touring of Milan Superleggera principle, supported by a fine-gauge multi-tubular sub-structure. Overall weight was listed as 1,128kg - 2,480lbs.

When completed new in 1960 this particular Aston Martin DB4GT was UK road-registered 'KLL 007' and was sold to first owner G. Griffiths - possibly leading contemporary motor racing photographer Guy Griffiths, and founder/proprietor of the Cotswold Motor Museum. Mr Griffiths owned the car until 1963 when it was acquired by Mike Knight, the enthusiastic racing driver and creator of the Winfield Racing Drivers' School business, based in France. Between 1963 and 1966 Mike Knight ran '0110/R' in a number of sprint and circuit-race meetings, setting FTD at the MG Car Club's Firle hill-climb, another FTD in the BARC climb back at Firle and a second in the Brighton Speed Trials.

The car was twice damaged in accidents, being works repaired after each incident by the factory at Newport Pagnell. Mr Knight eventually sold the car to one R.M. Connell in Australia in 1970. The engine received a major factory overhaul before the sale was completed, and the car was then retained by Mr Connell until 1979, when it passed to fellow-Australian Andy Fraser - who in turn kept the car until 1990, while actively campaigning it in national competition.

It was returned to the UK in the ownership of V. Melkonian in 1990, before passing to G.K. Spiers in 1991, and then to leading Aston Martin Historic racing owner/driver Geoffrey Marsh of Marsh Plant Hire on the south coast. He would keep the car until 1995 when it was acquired by enthusiastic Historic racer Paul Whight. The car had been in road-going trim and tune when acquired, but Mr Whight then had it painstakingly prepared for essentially AMOC-organised competition. As driven by him the car proved very competitive in Class D of the AMOC postwar race series at Brands Hatch and Silverstone, and finished well at Mallory Park, Oulton Park, Donington Park and Croft during the 1998 season.

Paul Whight continued to campaign the car successfully through 1999-2000 before in 2001 it was sold to Peter Thornton. Mr Thornton ran the car with its original engine for a couple of years before commissioning respected marque specialists Aston Engineering to build up a twin-plug 4.2-litre race engine. This was used in all races where size and originality was not an issue. Where it was, the original was re-installed to comply. This procedure continued until Mr Thornton sold the car. Peter Thornton campaigned the car with great success through 2001-2010.

The original engine '370/0110/GT' is offered with the car. During Thornton's ownership it was also looked after and refreshed by Aston Engineering as and when necessary. We understand it to be to 3.7-litre capacity and it was installed in the car when sold in 2010. Today, the race engine is installed and the original engine is offered with the car.

In 2011, Canadian enthusiast Ian Dalglish bought the car from Thornton, via Gregor Fisken's dealership. In his Mr Dalglish's ownership '0110/R' was returned to more of a road-going specification while its FIA papers were retained to enable occasionally circuit-racing use. The work was again carried out by Aston Engineering and from 2011-2015 the car was campaigned in numerous further Historic events. The car became a regular invitee to the annual Goodwood Revival Meeting, being co-driven there by owner Dalglish and regular team-mate Joe Twyman (2012), by Le Mans winning driver Romain Dumas, by Tiff Needell (2013) and Indianapolis '500' winner Danny Sullivan (2014). The owner also campaigned the car extensively in European Historic events, running at the front of Grid 3 at the 2014 Le Mans Classic and taking a class win in the 2014 Tour Auto, in France.

Within the extensive documentation file accompanying this most attractive road/racing Aston Martin DB4GT is one of the most impressively comprehensive racing record listings we have ever encountered. It covers the period from 1998, listing the exploits in this car of drivers Paul Whight, Peter Thornton, John Day, David Garrett, Gillian Goldsmith, Tom Alexander and Adrian Willmott.

The impressive list of venues upon which this Aston Martin DB4GT has performed includes Goodwood, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, La Sarthe at Le Mans and Dijon-Prenois, in France, plus Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Mallory Park, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Donington Park and Thruxton within the UK.

Perhaps most impressive of '0110/R's racing achievements have come in the Spa-Francorchamps Six-Hour Endurance classic in Belgium, in which Peter Thornton/David Garrett/Tom Alexander won their class and finished 8th overall from no fewer than 70 starters in 2003, followed by a 2nd in class there in 2005, and 7th overall amongst 83 starters in 2007. In the 2009 Le Mans Legends event the car finished 3rd in class, and then 1st in class/7th overall at the Spa Six-hours the same year. 2010 brought yet more success.

This well-presented, painstakingly cared-for Aston Martin DB4GT is extremely well-known within the Historic GT racing scene and now offers the new owner the opportunity to continue its historic racing career, or convert back to standard road specification with its original engine.