1959 Aston Martin DB4
Year of manufacture1959
Number of seats2
1959 Aston Martin DB4 Series I 4.2-Litre to DB4 GT Specification
Chassis no. DB4/122/R
Engine no. 370/127
The competition potential of Aston Martin's new DB4 had been recognised from the outset, and the factory lost no time in developing a lightweight version suitable for racing, the resulting DB4 GT debuting at the 1959 London Motor Show. The model had already been proven in competition earlier that year when the prototype ('DP/199') driven by Stirling Moss won its first race at Silverstone. Extensive modifications to the standard car took 5" (127mm) out of the wheelbase, and replaced the rear seats with a luggage platform on all but a small number of cars. Together with lighter, 18-gauge bodywork, these changes reduced the car's weight by around 200lb (91kg).
The GT used a tuned engine which, equipped with a twin-plug cylinder head and triple Weber 45DCOE carburettors, produced a claimed 302bhp at 6,000rpm, a useful increase over the standard car's claimed 240bhp. Maximum speed, of course, depended on overall gearing, but 153mph was achieved during testing with a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds recorded. The DB4 was also one of the first cars to go from standstill to 100mph and then brake to a dead stop on under 20 seconds, a tribute, in part, to its up-rated Girling brakes as used on Aston Martin's competition sports racers of the era.
Viewed from the front, the GT was readily distinguishable by its faired-in headlamps with Perspex covers, a feature later made standard on the DB5 and DB6. The rear screen and quarter windows were made of Perspex on many examples; bumper over-riders were deleted and the wind-down windows were frame-less within the doors. Twin, quick-release, Monza competition fuel fillers were added atop the rear wings, leading to a large-capacity fuel tank mounted flat in the boot. GTs were fitted as standard with lightweight Borrani 42-spoke wire wheels with alloy rims and 3-ear 'knock-offs'. The interior was trimmed to full Aston Martin road car specification, with fine Connolly leather upholstery and deep-pile Wilton carpeting. The evocative instrument binnacle on the GT benefited from the addition of an oil temperature gauge to the standard array.
DB4 GTs offered a strong challenge to the prevailing Ferrari dominance in GT racing, examples entered by the works and John Ogier's Essex Racing Stable enjoying numerous victories. Driven by the likes of Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Innes Ireland, the DB4 GT earned its stripes every day on the racing circuit. In December 1959, at the Bahamas Speed Week, Stirling Moss won driving a standard customer DB4GT 'borrowed' back by the works following the demise of Moss's intended DBR2! The DB4 GT was indeed a true dual-purpose car, equally at ease on both the circuit and Grand Tour. Only 195 'Sanction 1' DB4 GTs were produced between 1959 and 1963 (including DB4 GT Zagato).
This stunning re-creation of one of Aston Martin's most iconic models started life as a standard 'Series I' DB4. Sold new to one G W McAlpine and first registered WLY 72, 'DB4/122/R' was converted to DB4GT specification by marque specialists Bodylines of Northampton, during the mid-1990s. Works undertaken include removing the front of the car and sand blasting the chassis, which was shortened by 5" and then rebuilt, and fitting a custom made internal roll cage. A new rear lower valance was fabricated and the original rear end refitted together with a complete new GT front end, door skins and sills. Finished in October 1995, the project consumed 635 hours of labour so was far from cheap.
D Salvage (Don Salvage) is recorded on the accompanying copy order form as owner at that time, and the AMOC Register lists several results for Don and '122/R' over the next few years, commencing in 1997 with a 1st-in-class award at Wiscombe Park, while other venues attended include Cornbury Park, Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Mallory Park, Donington Park, Snetterton and Croft.
Noteworthy features of this faithful DB4GT replica include a 4.2-litre engine, electronic ignition, five-speed gearbox, hydraulic clutch, adjustable suspension, GT fuel tank, FIA-approved auxiliary tank and Borrani wire wheels. Extensively upgraded for racing, the engine incorporates a steel crankshaft, lightweight pistons, forged connecting rods, large valves, modified camshafts and a special exhaust system. The interior boasts a roll cage, fire extinguisher and removable steering wheel for easy access.
With all the surviving genuine DB4GTs either in museums or private collections, this stunning re-creation represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a car built in the spirit of the original but at a fraction of the cost.
Should the vehicle remain in the UK, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.