Tractor and gear manufacturer David Brown took over the Aston Martin and Lagonda companies in 1947. His first DB2 series and variants sold well from 1949 to 1958, and served to re-establish the marque as a builder of soundly engineered, quali­ty motor cars. In 1959 the much-improved DB4 model made its debut. Chief designer Tadek Merak’s new 3.7-litre alloy straight six featured twin overhead cams and hemispherical combus­tion chambers. This engine was installed in a steel platform chassis and clothed in seductive alloy body panels by Touring of Milan. Independent front suspension and a well-located live axle delivered race-worthy road holding while four-wheel disc brakes provided effective retardation. Over 1,200 DB4 coupes were sold from 1958 to 1963. Despite this success, a performance version was still sorely required to compete on the circuit and in the sales room with Ferrari’s 250 GT models. Thus, in 1959 Aston’s John Wyer specified a new DB4GT model which reduced the saloon’s wheelbase to 93 inches. More than 250 pounds lighter, the DB4GT’s body received aerodynamic cowled headlamps and Borrani alloy wheels. The 4GT shared engine displacement of 3760 cc with the coupe, but two spark plugs per cylinder, high-lift cams and triple Weber carburetors increased brake horsepower to 302 at 6,000 rpm and powered the GT from 0 to 100 mph in 15 seconds. Many racing successes followed in the hands of such famous drivers as Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori and Innes Ireland. Rarity was assured, since only 75 standard body Aston Martin DB4GTs were built from 1959 to 1962. Chassis number 0166/L, shown here, was delivered on Christmas eve 1960 to well-known German racing driver and Jaguar/Aston Martin importer Peter Lindner. Lindner scored several podium finishes at the Hockenheim and Nurburgring circuits in 1961 and 1962 before breaking an engine connecting rod. After Lindner’s unfortunate 1964 fatal Montlhery accident in his Jaguar, the Aston GT remained in the family until 1988. The present owner purchased 0166/L in 1989 after which it was fitted with a new 4-litre racing engine and entered occasionally in west coast vintage events. This left-hand drive Aston Martin DB4GT is finished in British Racing Green. {analysis} The pictured car was not sold at RM’s Sports Car Auction in Monterey on August 15 at a reported high bid of $170,000. This car’s condition was somewhere between that of a very original DB4GT and one that’s seen the frequent modifications and updates for performance and safety that its racing heritage implies. With its fair older repaint, worn original interior, recent 4-liter engine, rust pits in the headlight buckets and pitted chrome trim, it was neither fish nor fowl; that is, neither good original old car nor racing car with significant history. Original 3781cc DB4GT engines produced as much as 314 hp; two DB4GTs shipped with 3995cc engines are reported to have developed as much as 345 hp. One can deduce that this 4-liter DB4GT, with nearly 40 additional years of high-performance engine tuning experience, kicks out 400 hp or more on current 103 octane racing fuel. DB4GTs were much lighter than the standard DB4, weighing 50 lbs either side of 2700 lbs, with a power-to-weight ratio of 7.7 to 7.9 lbs/hp, at 1960’s 345 hp. By comparison, a ’63 289/271-hp Cobra had 7.5 lbs/hp. With 400 hp on tap, this Aston Martin has 6.6 to 6.9 lbs/hp to push around, potent potential performance by any measure. DB4GTs are highly desirable and very competent on the track; as grand tourers in semi-competitive European events such as the Tour de France Historique, they are even better. A purchaser could get a competent vintage racer as well as a high-performance road and touring car by writing a single check. Aston Martins excite loyal, but narrow, interest in the collector car world. The high bid, under the bottom of the DB4GT’s $185-225,000 estimated reserve, is evidence once again that today’s large-dollar collectors will pay a premium for either a completely original car (as with the lightweight E-Type) or a fanatically restored one. Realistically, given its neither original nor completely restored condition, this DB4GT could have been sold for the amount bid with no regrets. Photo and data courtesy of the auction company. Market opinions in italics by Rick Carey. {/analysis}

Comments are closed.