1961 Aston Martin DB4

Series II

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1961
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Lot number 
    134
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other

Description

  • One of around 349 second series DB4s
  • Classically styled DB4 with GT-level performance
  • Accompanied by a huge history file, detailing significant ongoing maintenance and preventative work

Of all the post-war Aston Martins, the gracefully sleek DB4 is most admired for its robust British engineering combined with the elegant Italian lines in perfect proportion.

The specification included a new, strong steel platform chassis engineered by Harold Beech, who had recently taken over as Aston Martin’s chief engineer. In production form, this rigid frame underpinned a sleek, virtually unadorned fastback body designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, utilizing their vaunted Superleggera construction, which features a skeleton of small-diameter steel tubing covered by hand-formed aluminium alloy body panels. The coachwork was constructed by Aston Martin under license from Touring. The new chassis featured independent front suspension and a live rear axle well located by trailing arms and a Watt’s linkage. Four-wheel disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering were specified for the first time; both items were advanced for their day and offered conspicuously ahead of adoption by Ferrari.

The most exciting development, however, was the innovative alloy twin-cam 3.7-liter straight-six engine created by Tadek Marek and further developed for use in the DBR2. With twin SU carburetors, it was rated at 240 brake horsepower and produced the prodigious torque for which these DB series Astons have become famous.

Documents on file suggest this Aston Martin DB4 Series II was ordered in 1960 by Sidney Rapoport of New York. These documents show this car was manufactured in 1960 and was registered in 1961. A copy of the original build sheet highlights a delivery specification including Armstrong shocks, Smiths speedometer, and Dunlop tyres. Additional non-standard options include a set of fully chromed road wheels. In May 1961, with just 2,719 miles on the odometer, the propeller shaft was modified. Then, in October 1961, a replacement clock was fitted, along with a new generator and regulator. At this point, the mileage was 6,519 miles, so this DB4 had been enjoyed early in its life by Mr Rapoport.

Mr Rapoport retained the car until 1987, when it was acquired by a Mr John L MacDonald. Registration documents on file confirm Mr MacDonald’s acquisition of Chassis DB4/496/L on 20 August 1987. A copy of the Aston Martin Owners Club, Section East, from 1987 lists chassis number DB4/496/L under his ownership, with the mention that that car was owned by Mr Rapoport in 1982.

The Aston Martin Owners Club register from 1987 also lists some works carried out on the car, such as the addition of a sunroof in 1982 in order to improve ventilation. During 1982, under the ownership of Mr Rapoport, the car was shown at the Lime Rock Concours, where it secured second in class. Further work was carried out in the late 1980s, when it underwent a re-spray by Westchester Classic. Subsequent to this, in 1990, chassis DB4/496/L was subject to more major work, with a complete restoration of its interior. Then, in 1991, the car had further work including new brakes and clutch. In addition to this work, Mr MacDonald undertook a $16,000 exterior update with Automotive Restorations Inc. This included a thorough overhaul of the exterior. Service invoices suggest that Chassis DB4/496/L was owned by Mr Pearson of Weston, Connecticut, in 2001. Today, the car presents in driver quality condition and over the course of the last thirty years, and could certainly be brought to a higher standard with further cosmetic can mechanical work. Importantly, the car still retaining its original engine, and with a huge file of original paperwork, including receipts, and a copy of the original build sheet.

An ideal driver or an excellent basis for a restoration, this DB4 could be used and enjoyed as-is, or would be an excellent basis for a restoration.

Please note that an import duty of 2.5% of the purchase price is payable on this lot if the buyer is a resident of the United States.

To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mo20.