1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Coupé Registration no. 6641 VF Chassis no. DB4/GT/0145/R Engine no. 370/0162/GT
The DB4 GT is, with the exception of the Zagato, arguably the most sought after of the David Brown Aston Martin road cars. Only 75 were built between 1959 and 1963, and this un-restored example, which has seen relatively little use, remains in quite exceptionally original condition. The GT was, of course, a high performance development of the DB4 sports car that had debuted at the London Motor Show in 1958. The new cars competition potential had been recognised from the outset, and the factory lost no time in developing a lightweight version suitable for racing, the resulting DB4 GT debuting at the 1959 London Motor Show. The model had already been proven in competition earlier that year when the prototype (DP/199) driven by Stirling Moss won its first race at Silverstone. Extensive modifications to the standard car took 5 out of the wheelbase and replaced the rear seats with a luggage platform on all but a small number of cars. Together with lighter, 18-gauge bodywork, these changes reduced the weight by around 200lb (91kg). The GT used a tuned engine which, equipped with a twin-plug cylinder head and triple Weber 45DCOE carburettors, produced a claimed 302bhp at 6,000rpm, a useful increase over the standard cars 240bhp. Maximum speed, of course, depended on overall gearing, but 153mph was achieved during testing with a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds recorded. The DB4 GT was also one of the first cars to go from standstill to 100mph and then brake to a dead stop on under 20 seconds, a tribute, in part, to its up-rated Girling brakes as used on Aston Martins competition sports racers of the era. There was a choice of five rear axle ratios and a Power Lok limited slip differential, an option on the DB4, was standardised. Viewed from the front, the GT was readily distinguishable by its faired-in headlamps with Perspex covers, foreshadowing those of the DB4 Vantage of 1961 and the later DB5. The rear screen and quarter windows also were made of Perspex on many examples; bumper over-riders were deleted and the wind-down windows were frame-less within the doors. Twin, quick-release, Monza competition fuel fillers were added atop the rear wings, leading to a 30-gallon fuel tank mounted flat in the boot, which it shared with the spare wheel. GTs were fitted as standard with lightweight Borrani 42-spoke wire wheels with alloy rims and three-eared knock-offs. The interior was trimmed to full Aston Martin road car specification, with fine Connolly leather upholstery and deep-pile Wilton carpeting. The evocative instrument binnacle on the GT benefited from the addition of an oil temperature gauge to the standard array. DB4GTs offered a strong challenge to the prevailing Ferrari dominance in GT racing, examples entered by the works and John Ogiers Essex Racing Stable enjoying numerous victories. Driven by the likes of Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Innes Ireland, the DB4GT earned its stripes every day on the racing circuit. In December 1959, at the Bahamas Speed Week, Stirling Moss won driving a standard customer DB4GT borrowed back by the works following the demise of Mosss intended DBR2! The DB4GT was indeed a true dual-purpose car, equally at ease on both the circuit and Grand Tour. Chassis number 0145/R was manufactured in April 1961 and sold new via Brooklands of Bond Street to first owner Mr Mark Garnier, of Sheffield, who kept it until 1966. The accompanying original logbook records the second owner as Snuff Mill Garages Ltd, Sheffield, whose proprietor Mr J L Shipman appears to have retained it for his own use, as evidenced by letters on file from him to Aston Martin dated 1966 and 1968. Little is known of its subsequent usage, although Snuff Mill Garages issued an MoT (signed by Mr Shipman, copy on file) for 6641 VF on June 28th 1979 (mileage 9,368) so the car was still known to, if not owned by, them at that time. There is a second expired MoT on file dated 25th July 1990, which records the mileage at that time as 11,904. The accompanying Swansea V5C document records one Richard Quigly, of South Zeal, Okehampton as owner from July 1988, Mr Quigly having acquired the car from Snuff Mill Garages. The immediately preceding owner, Robert Jewers, of Hutton, Brentwood acquired the car from Mr Quigly around 3-4 years ago and the vendor acquired it from Mr Jewers in 2007. While most surviving DB4 GTs have passed through the hands of numerous owners and been subjected to varying degrees of refurbishment, 0145/R has escaped the ravages of time unmolested; indeed, there can be few, if any, examples that can compare with it for originality. The chassis has never been welded or under-sealed and the engine bay is correct in every detail even down to the original radiator with the exception of replacement ignition coils, while the hand made stainless-steel exhaust system is one of the very few other non-standard components fitted. All the (Perspex) windows, windscreens, headlight cowls and light units are original, as is the interior, although the carpets were replaced 18 months ago to correct pattern (originals available). The boot likewise is totally as it should be, even retaining the original spare wheel strap and wiring loom clips. Anyone about to commence the restoration of a DB4 GT would be well advised to examine this example closely before proceeding. Today the car is presented in very good condition throughout with circa 18,300 miles recorded. It is offered with BMIHT Copy Factory Record, copy factory build/service cards, factory handbook supplement, original buff logbook, assorted old tax discs/MoTs, current road fund licence, MoT to September 2008 and Swansea V5C registration document. As such, it represents a rare opportunity to acquire a milestone GT with stunning attributes and documented ownership history. Aston Martin built a mere 75 DB4 GTs (plus another 19 Zagato-bodied variants, one Bertone-bodied special and five Team or Development Project GTs). Of the 75 examples, 45 were supplied in right-hand drive form and 30 were left-hand drive. Despite its tremendous rarity and value, the DB4 GT remains a popular entrant at major historic racing events such as the Goodwood Revival and the numerous (and highly competitive) Aston Martin Owners Club Championship race meetings in the UK. Amongst the most beloved of all Aston Martins, the DB4 GT remains unmatched for its unique combination of performance and roadability.