1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series II Saloon Registration no. 973 BXB Chassis no. DB4/541/R Engine no. 370/555
If you had been a typical car-mad school boy in 1958, you would have known its extraordinary statistics off by heart. Despite weighing in at almost a ton and half, it could manage 0-60 in 9.3 seconds, reach 100 mph in 20.1 seconds, get up to 100 mph and back down to a halt within 30 seconds, and attain what must have seemed an at the time to be an unbelievable top speed on 140 mph! And, of course, all that performance was clothed within Superleggera bodywork of phenomenal beauty, the like of which had never been seen before and, in many eyes, has not been surpassed since. Yes indeed upon its introduction, the DB4 was just about the fastest thing on the road as well as being, quite simply, the most exiting new car in the world. Introduction to the forthcoming AMOCs DB4 Golden Anniversary (scheduled 21-22 June), AM News, April 2008.
The Aston Martin DB4 was the first of the DB models to employ the entirely new twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder, 3.7-litre engine designed by Tadek Marek, the Polish engineer who had joined the company in 1954. When the DB4 was introduced in 1958, it was the most powerful and fastest British production car, and its aerodynamically styled, all-aluminium, Superleggera coachwork by Touring of Milan looked sensational. The introduction pretty much says it all and the new owner of this wonderful car has the opportunity to participate in the Clubs celebrations just a month or so hence.
Currently owned by an AMOC member, this DB4 is well known to Bonhams, having previously been sold under our Brooks banner at Ascot Racecourse on 2nd August 1996 (Lot 671). DB4/541/R comes with three lever-arch files of history, as comprehensive and beautifully laid out as ever we have seen, these include the original buff log book, MoT's back to 1967 that verify the 68,300 miles recorded and even radio receiving licenses, close inspection of which is highly recommended. The car is currently taxed, freshly MoTd (to April next year) and comes with Swansea V5.
When sold at Ascot in 1996, the DB4 had been in the then owners hands for 33 years, and all history dating back to the mid-1960s, including purchase invoice and MoTs, is offered with it today. Described as very original, the Aston had been maintained and on show at the Midland Motor Museum since 1988, and been treated to a bare-metal re-spray (in original Snow Shadow Grey) in June 1991 costing in excess of £9,000. Its condition throughout was described as good, while generally the car reflected careful ownership and use over an extended period. The present owner has been in regular contact with the wife of the gentleman (now deceased) who had owned it for many years prior to its sale in 1996.
In December 1997, the Aston received an engine rebuild by recognised marque specialists Chris Shenton Engineering, costing £10,000. At the same time, fine detailing of the engine bay had been carried out and the car was presented in super condition, having covered approximately 54,000 miles from new.
Since acquisition by the current enthusiast owner in December 1997, DB4/541/R has benefited from a series of desirable upgrades including a Harvey Bailey handling kit comprising front anti-roll bar and HB springs all round, gas front shock absorbers, re-valved rear lever arms and altered front-end geometry. Other noteworthy improvements include DB4GT-type front brake calipers, braided steel brake lines, electronic ignition, Pacet electric fan and a stainless-steel exhaust system. In addition, the original radio has been overhauled, converted to FM reception and boosted in output, also a halogen headlight upgrade. It also comes with original 'Le Mans' Headlamps; Radiator Blind (working) inc dash mechanism; twin factory horns; light lenses front and rear; and factory speakers front and rear. In the past 10-plus years the owner has driven a further 12,000-or-so miles in the car, a figure that testifies equally to its usability and his enthusiasm.
On a recent short test run with James Knight along the Cranborne Chase the Aston drove really well, putting in most impressive performance and handling. The colour combination is delightful; the Snow Shadow Grey is a subtly elegant shade of silver metallic, not brash like some, and contrasts beautifully with the red interior. Completely original, even down to the carpets, the latter has a beautiful depth of patina that reflects a life of use and history. All in all, this is a car that has a wonderful feel about it.