1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible Registration no. 550 RWL Chassis no. DB4C/1104/R Engine no. 370/472
Classically proportioned and instantly recognisable from the moment of its introduction in 1958, the Touring-styled Aston Martin DB4 established a look that would survive, with only minor revisions, until 1970. Designed by Tadek Marek and already proven in racing, the DB4's new twin-cam six-cylinder engine displaced 3,670cc while the gearbox was a new David Brown four-speed all-synchromesh unit. An immensely strong platform-type chassis, designed by Harold Beach, replaced the preceding DB2/4's multi-tubular spaceframe, the latter being considered incompatible with Touring's Superleggera body construction. The DB2/4's trailing-link independent front suspension gave way to unequal-length wishbones while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod. Boasting disc brakes all round and with 240bhp on tap, the DB4 was the first production car capable of accelerating from a standing start to 100mph and back to rest again in under 30 seconds. At a time when few 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 Italian rivals. The DB4 was available only as a closed coupé until September 1961 when the convertible version was unveiled at that year's Motor Show. Priced at £4,449, it was £250 more expensive than the coupé. Passenger space was little changed, though there was more headroom than the coupé could offer. Combining Aston Martin's traditional virtues of style and performance with the joys of open-air motoring, the DB4 Convertible is most sought after and highly prized today. With the exception of the Zagato, the DB4 Convertible is the rarest Aston Martin road car of the David Brown era with a total of only 70 built, six less than the legendary DB4 GT. Never listed in the AMOC Register, 'DB4C/1104R' has had only two owners from new, having been purchased by the current vendor in 1978 from the first owner, agronomist Professor Geoffrey Emett Blackman, FRS. At the time he purchased the Aston, Geoffrey Blackman was Sibthorpian Professor of Rural Economy at Oxford University and Director of the Agricultural Research Council Unit of Experimental Agronomy there. His St John's College car park pass (issued 1970) is still affixed to the windscreen, reading: 'Authority to park in the President's drive'. The original engine (number '370/1134') had been replaced during Professor Blackman's ownership (it is believed by the factory) and in 1980 the current owner removed the replacement unit ('370/472') intending to rebuild it. Last MoT'd in 1979 (certificate on file), the Aston has been laid up in dry storage ever since and currently displays a total of only 60,000 miles on the odometer. The engine is now back in the car, which is presented in 'barn find' condition, ripe for sympathetic restoration. An exciting and potentially most rewarding project for the Aston Martin enthusiast, 'DB4C/1104R' is offered with instruction manual, workshop manual, parts catalogue and Swansea V5 registration document.