1962 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible Registration no. 748 DGE Chassis no. DB4C/1075/R
Combining the traditional Aston Martin virtues of style and performance with the delights of open air motoring, the DB4 Convertible is today a most sought after and highly prized motor car. With the exception of the Zagato, the DB4 Convertible is arguably the rarest of all the David Brown Aston Martin road cars with just 70 built in total, five fewer than the legendary DB4 GT. This 1962 example is one of a mere 30 built in the DB4s penultimate Series IV generation. Until the convertibles arrival in September 1961, the DB4 had been available only in closed form. Announced in 1958, it was the British Grand Tourer par excellence, an all new 140mph coupé that combined the stylistic talents of the Italian Touring company and those of Aston Martin Harold Beach (chassis) and Tadek Marek, who has the race-developed 3.7-litre twin overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine to his credit. With 240bhp on tap and equipped with disc brakes all round, the DB4 was the first production car capable 0-100-0mph in under 30 seconds. At a time when few average 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 Italians rivals. Aston Martin unveiled the Series IV DB4 at the 1961 Motor Show, this being the first occasion the model had been seen in convertible form. It cost £4,449, which was £250 more than the price of the coupé. Passenger space was little changed, though there was more headroom than the coupé could offer. This particular example combines Tourings sensational drophead body with a triple-Weber 4.0-litre Vantage-specification engine and other discreet modifications to endow it with phenomenal acceleration. Until recently the car belonged to film director Bruce Robinson, its owner for 25-or-so years, best known for his cult comedy classic, Withnail & I. The latter starred Richard E Grant and Paul McGann as the eponymous duo and also featured the Aston, which appears in the background in a street scene. Robinson had always wanted an Aston Martin DB4 convertible and circa 1981/1982 discovered this example up on blocks in a London garage, where it had been for 18 years. He purchased the car for £8,000, a lot of money then, and spent a further £15,000 getting it back on the road. According to a the accompanying (copy) build sheet, chassis number 1075 was sold new via HW Motors Ltd to Mr G M Roberts, of Thomas Christie & Co Ltd, Aldershot in November 1962. The car was finished in Snow Shadow Grey with dark blue Connolly hide interior trim. Little is known of its subsequent history until Robinson acquired from a Fulham garage in the early 1980s. At this point the DB4 had been in storage for several years and had fewer than 30,000 miles on the odometer. It was then despatched to marque specialist Ian Mason for thorough re-commissioning and preparation for everyday use, and was to be maintained by Ian for the next 15 years. During this time the car was used for London commuting and occasional trips to Robinson's holiday home in the South of France. Among the thick sheaf of bills from this period is a £7,500 invoice dated 1986 for the installation of a rebuilt 4.0-litre 'C' type Vantage-specification engine, which remains in the car to this day. In 1988 (at 44,500 miles) the Aston was treated to an extensive chassis and bodywork restoration at a cost of £13,500. At some point it was also fitted with the triple Weber carburettors that it still retains. In 1999, 1075 was sent back to the Newport Pagnell factory for a second thorough overhaul, which included the installation of an unleaded-compatible cylinder head and a low-ratio final drive for improved acceleration. The total cost of the foregoing was £18,500 and over the last four years the car has had a further £60,000 spent on it. These more recent works included a re-spray and re-trim to a high standard plus a full engine rebuild and overhaul of the carburettors. New parts fitted include the hood; floor pans; stainless steel exhaust; stainless steel wheels; tyres; stainless steel fuel tank; lights all round; brightwork; radiator; windscreen; and a lightweight starter motor. Offered with Swansea V5, the car now looks magnificent and is ready to enjoy, having been MoTd and serviced at Works Service in January (invoice on file).