1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Vantage 4.2-Litre Convertible Registration no. 770 KX Chassis no. DB4C/1108/R Engine no. 370/1151/SS
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. 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. One of the most notable developments arrived with the introduction of the 'Series IV' in September 1961, when a 'Special Series' (SS) or 'Vantage' engine became available as an option. The 'SS' incorporated a 9.0:1 compression ratio, larger valves and triple SU HD8 carburettors, producing 266bhp at 5,750rpm, a gain of 26 horsepower over the standard unit. Coincidentally with the Series IV's introduction, the DB4 became available in convertible form. Unveiled at the 1961 Motor Show and 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. Chassis number 'DB4C/1108/R' is one of the very few DB4 convertibles manufactured with the 'SS' engine. The car was sold new via Brooklands (Eton Garages) to Autosafe Ltd of Great Portland Street, London W1. An accompanying copy of the factory build sheet records that the car was delivered finished in Caribbean Pearl with dark blue Connolly leather interior, and fitted with an oil cooler. The original logbook (on file) lists five further owners up to October 1971 when the Aston was acquired by Leslie Dodd of Stoke-on-Trent. While in the Dodd family's ownership the DB4 was enthusiastically enjoyed, the AMOC Register listing several decent results at Curborough, Wiscombe and North Weald. Since coming into the current vendor's possession in July 2007 '770 KX' has been fully restored by acknowledged masters of the craft: the chassis and bodywork being entrusted to Bodylines, the paintwork, interior, running gear and electrics to Spray-Tec and the engine and manual/overdrive transmission to R S Williams. In the course of the rebuild Bodylines replaced the following chassis sections: both complete inner sill assemblies; both front chassis outriggers; all four jacking points; both lower rear radius arm mountings; both complete rear inner wheelarches; both complete sides of the engine bay; and the front lower bulkheads. Body sections replaced include the complete front-end panel assembly; both complete rear wing sides; rear lower valance panel; and both outer sill panels. Other bodywork refurbishment included reworking and refitting the bonnet and boot lid; and re-skinning both doors. In the course of treating the car to a complete mechanical overhaul Spray-Tec upgraded the rear axle with a 3.77:1 final drive ratio and DB7 limited-slip differential, as well as supplying a Motorola radio, stainless steel exhaust system and five new Borrani wire wheels shod with Avon Turbo Steel tyres. R S Williams completely rebuilt the engine to 4.2 litres capacity and improved specification, incorporating welded-in block bracing, Cosworth pistons, 'unleaded' valve seats, etc. Other noteworthy upgrades include power-assisted steering (hydraulic), alternator electrics and electric windows. Detailed invoices for all the aforementioned works are on file and available for inspection (recommended). Completed in 2009, '770 KX' can rightly lay claim to the description 'concours', having carried off the 2nd place award in the 'Newport Pagnell 6-cylinder class' at the Aston Martin Owners Club's Jubilee Spring meeting at Blenheim Palace in 2010 and the 1st place award in the same class at AMOC's Autumn gathering at Chatsworth House last October. Finished in Aegean Blue with pale grey leather interior, this sublime DB4 convertible is offered with an extensive file of history including the aforementioned documentation, restoration invoices, old-style buff logbook, two 1970s tax discs, sundry Dodd-period action photographs, concours badges, FIVA Identity Card, MoT to March 2011 and Swansea V5C registration document. The car will have been driven from its Dublin home to R S Williams for a final check-over immediately prior to sale.