1962 Aston Martin DB4
Year of manufacture1962
Number of seats2
1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Sports Saloon Project
Registration no. JTE 550B
Chassis no. DB4/831/R
Engine no. DB4/859
'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 DBR2.
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.
Chassis number '831/R' was delivered new to Bradbury's Garage in Birmingham and first registered 'BOB 333', the manufacturer's guarantee being issued on 1st May 1962 as recorded on the accompanying copy build sheet. The only additional owners listed are H R Howard & Sons Ltd of Ashton-under-Lyme (not dated) and Riley Birtwistle of Calder Bridge, Cumbria from February 1974. The car's colour scheme is recorded as Snow Shadow Grey with red Connolly leather interior.
Circa 1975, 'JTE 550B' was acquired by the immediately preceding owner, who at the time was attending an AMOC prize-giving in the Midlands where he was presented with an award (for racing achievements) by boxer Joe Bugner. The DB4 was purchased on a whim and driven back to the vendor's home near Oxted in Surrey.
In the early 1980s the car was driven into its garage, remaining there until it was offered for sale - described as in 'barn find' condition - at Bonhams' auction held at Aston Martin Works Service in May 2008 (Lot 301). A total of 80,347 miles was displayed on the odometer at that time. Since the Aston's acquisition by the current vendor, work has started on conversion to left-hand drive; however, this has not been completed and the car remains in need of total restoration. Offered with old-style logbook, it represents a potentially most rewarding project for the dedicated Aston enthusiast.
Should the vehicle remain in the EU, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.