1959 Aston Martin DB4

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1959
  • Chassis number 
    DB4/179/R
  • Lot number 
    117
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other

Description

Freshly restored to '100-point'concours standard
1959 Aston Martin DB4 'Series I' 4.2-Litre Sports Saloon
Registration no. UDM 245
Chassis no. DB4/179/R

The quite exceptional Aston Martin DB4 offered here comes from the private collection of a UK-based enthusiast who has owned and restored numerous classic cars over the years. Not your typical 'in-house' restorer, the vendor is the owner of an engineering company supplying machinery to the food manufacturing industry, and employs a small team of engineers who work exclusively in his restoration workshop. It should be noted that it was never the intention that these cars would be sold: they were for the vendor's own collection so built without any time limits or compromise.

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 under the auspices of 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's Tickford subsidiary, 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. Including Vantage and convertible models, approximately 1,100 of these iconic 'Gentleman's Express' sports saloons were produced between 1958 and 1963.

This right-hand drive 'Series I' DB4 was retailed via agent J Blake and delivered new on 9th October 1959 to its first owner, Alexander Reith Gray of Flintshire. The accompanying copy guarantee form records the original colour scheme as Black Pearl with red trim, and lists a 3.31:1 rear axle ratio as the only item of non-standard equipment. Servicing is recorded up to February 1964.

In the mid-1980s the Aston went to Japan, its last owner in the UK prior to departure being Mr Justin Savage of Staffordshire. Prior to that it had been photographed at Le Mans in 1984 (see file). The DB4 was purchased from Japan and brought back to the UK in 2016, since when the owner has completed a total restoration to concours standards, with every item on the car either fully rebuilt or replaced with new.

Typically, the owner's meticulous restorations take some three years and 5,000 man-hours to complete. These cars are rebuilt to better-than-factory standard, with every rusted chassis component replaced and every cavity Waxoyled. The engine rebuild included increasing its cubic capacity to 4.2 litres and fitting triple Weber carburettors. Much of the engine work including all machining balancing, and fitting an up-rated oil pump was done by JMB Services who are world renowned as one of the finest Aston specialists. All the trimming was done to perfection in the finest Connolly hides by 'Mike The Trim', a time-served craftsman formerly employed in Aston Martin's upholstery workshops in Newport Pagnell.

Being an in-house restoration, there are no bills available but each car comes with an album containing hundreds of photographs recording the process in full. The history file also contains a current V5C document and invoices for parts. A wonderful opportunity to own an example of the iconic Aston Martin DB4 in its earliest and purest form, rebuilt to world-class '100-point' concours standard. In the vendor's own words: "I do think there is no finer example of a Series 1 DB4 anywhere."