1960 Aston Martin DB4 Series II Registration no. 651 FLA Chassis no. DB4/542/R Engine no. 370/523
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 years 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 Tourings 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 DB4s 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. This DB4 was purchased new by one J R Stopford, of London from Brooklands HWM in 1960, and approximately one year later passed to Group Captain R C Love, who owned the car until it was purchased by the vendor in 1989. The vendor has known the Aston from new. Upgrades fitted at the factory prior to delivery include fully chromed wire wheels, electric windows and a Motorola radio, which the car retains. In 1990, the DB4 was fully restored by Aston Martin agents, Chapman Spooner at a cost of circa £44,000. All relevant invoices are on file together with a comprehensive photographic record. More recently, in 2004, the engine was rebuilt at marque specialists Andy Chapman Classics Ltd by Nic Joberns (see invoice on file for £19,102 plus full details and photographic record). A stainless-steel exhaust system was fitted at the same time and the car has covered only 1,000-or-so miles since. Finished in Ice Blue with contrasting red leather interior, the latter original and nicely patinated, 651 FLA is a mellowed older restoration that still presents very well. On the button, taxed, MoTd (to March 2009) and ready to enjoy, the car is offered with the aforementioned restoration invoices, Swansea V5 registration document, (copy) factory build sheet and a substantial file of history. 651 FLA took part in the Aston Martin Owners Clubs DB4 celebrations at the St John Horsfall meeting at Silverstone in 1998, and remains eligible for AMOC and a wide variety of other historic events.