1961 Aston Martin DB4
Year of manufacture1961
Number of seats2
1961 Aston Martin DB4 'Series 3' Sports Saloon
Registration no. 380 CBP
Chassis no. DB4/666
Engine no. 692
'When the products which are raced bear such a close resemblance to those which can be bought by the public, as do those of Aston Martin, only the most biased can deny the value of racing in improving the breed. It should be no surprise (that the DB4) should be based on an engine which first appeared in experimental form in some of last year's races.' - The Autocar, 3rd October 1958.
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 by 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, 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.' The 3.7-litre, six-cylinder power unit was the work of Tadek Marek and had first been seen at Le Mans the previous year in the works DBR2 sports-racer.
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. A front-hinged bonnet, bigger brake calipers and an enlarged sump were the major changes made on the Series II, while the third series featured separate rear lights, two bonnet stays and a host of improvements to the interior fittings. Manufactured between September 1961 and October 1962, the fourth series was readily distinguishable by its shallower bonnet intake, recessed rear lights and new grille with seven vertical bars. The final, fifth, series was built on a 3.5" longer wheelbase (allowing for increased legroom and a larger boot) and gained 15" wheels, an electric radiator fan and the DB4GT-type instrument panel.
The new car's competition potential had been recognised from the outset and the factory lost no time in developing a lightweight version suitable for racing, the resulting DB4GT debuting at the 1959 London Motor Show. Those wishing to race the latest Aston Martin but unable to obtain a limited-edition DB4GT or its even more exclusive Zagato-bodied variant were forced to use the 'ordinary' road car, and today modified DB4s remain a mainstay of Aston Martin Owners Club and other important historic sports car events.
This particular DB4 was delivered new via Brooklands Motors to one Peter Howe of Mead House, Reigate, Surrey. The accompanying copy guarantee form records that the car was originally finished in Snow Shadow Grey with dark blue Connolly hide interior, and lists overdrive as the only item of non-standard equipment.
'380 CBP' was purchased in 1980 as a stalled restoration project. Very little work has been done apart from to the interior, which has been stripped out and the seats re-upholstered. It is believed that the engine was replaced in the 1970s with very few miles covered since, and we are advised that the camshafts show no wear. The body, which appears very straight, was repainted in the 1970s. Dry stored since acquisition, the car comes with what is believed to be all parts required to complete it, plus twin stainless steel exhaust boxes and an AM workshop manual. There is no registration document with this Lot, which is sold strictly as viewed.