1963 Aston Martin DB4
Year of manufacture1963
Number of seats2
1 of only 70 built
1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible
Registration no. 247 EXN
Chassis no. DB4C/1091/R
Engine no. 370/1085
Classically proportioned and instantly recognisable from the moment of its introduction in 1958, the Touring-styled Aston Martin DB4 established a look that would survive, with only minor revisions, until 1970. Designed by Tadek Marek and already proven in racing, the DB4's new twin-cam six-cylinder engine displaced 3,670cc while the gearbox was a new David Brown four-speed all-synchromesh unit. An immensely strong platform-type chassis, designed by Harold Beach, replaced the preceding DB2/4's multi-tubular spaceframe, the latter being considered incompatible with Touring's Superleggera body construction. The DB2/4's trailing-link independent front suspension gave way to unequal-length wishbones while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod. Boasting disc brakes all round and with 240bhp on tap, the DB4 was the first production car capable of accelerating from a standing start to 100mph and back to rest again in under 30 seconds. At a time when few family saloons were capable of exceeding 70mph and took an age to get there, this staggering performance made the DB4 just about the fastest thing on the road, easily the equal of its Italian rivals. The DB4 was available only as a closed coupé until September 1961 when the convertible version was unveiled at that year's Motor Show. Priced at £4,449, it was £250 more expensive than the coupé. Passenger space was little changed, though there was more headroom than the coupé could offer.
Its accompanying copy guarantee form shows that '247 EXN' was sold new in March 1963 to Wrinton Vale Nurseries of Congresbury, Somerset and was delivered finished in Caribbean Pearl with dark blue Connolly hide interior trim. There are no non-standard features listed and the only other owner recorded is a G V Helmer of The Hilltop Inn, Commercial Road, Southampton (no date given). The car's recorded history recommences when it was sent for restoration to Aston Martin Works Service at Newport Pagnell in the late 1980s. Completed in June 1992, it was offered for sale at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu auction in September 1993 and purchased for the Sondes Fields Collection by the late Joseph Cashin. The auction catalogue description (copy on file) states that the restoration cost over £73,000 and that only 100 miles had been covered since. Aston Martin Works Service bills are on file for this most extensive restoration. In the meantime, the DB4 had managed to accrue two AMOC Silverstone concours awards: a 3rd in 1992 and a 2nd in 1993, beaten only by another AMWS-restored car.
While in the Sondes Fields Collection the Aston has been used sparingly, covering only some 5,000 miles over the course of the last 20 years. R S Williams rebuilt the cylinder head in June 2001, installing new valve guides and seats (bill on file). On Joseph Cashin's death, the Aston passed to his nephew and since then has been maintained by the Collection's in-house mechanic, whose hand-written notes are on file. Driven regularly on private land, '247 EXN' is described as in generally very good condition with excellent chassis and engine, the latter running very well, and should require only minimal re-commissioning before returning to active use. The car is offered with service, parts and instruction manuals; sundry restoration invoices; and V5 registration document.
Combining Aston Martin's traditional virtues of style and performance with the joys of open-air motoring, the DB4 Convertible is most sought after and highly prized today. With the exception of the Zagato, the DB4 Convertible is the rarest Aston Martin road car of the David Brown era with a total of only 70 built, six less than the legendary DB4 GT.