Donald Campbell's DB4 GT Speeds into Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale

A rare 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT, one of only 45 right-hand drive examples produced and first privately owned by Donald Campbell CBE, the world land and water speed record breaker, is to be offered at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale on Saturday 14 September, with an estimate of £2,200,000 – 2,800,000.

Considered by many enthusiasts as the marque's finest post-war car, the DB4 was the ultimate Gran Turismo of its time when it was introduced in 1958, marrying state-of-the-art British engineering, featuring a new steel platform chassis with disk brakes all round and a race-developed twin-cam six-cylinder engine, with Italian flair, in the form of an aluminum body designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan.

A year later, Aston Martin unveiled the GT at the London Motor Show – a lightweight version designed for racing, whose prototype, when driven by Stirling Moss, won its first race at Silverstone. Having shed 200lbs, due to a shorter wheelbase, the replacement of the rear seats with a luggage platform and lightweight Borrani wire and alloy wheels, the GT achieved a top speed of 153mph during testing and a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds. The DB4 GT was also one of the first cars to go from standstill to 100mph and then brake to a dead stop in under 20 seconds.

With the GT being driven in GT racing, not only by Moss, but also Roy Salvadori, Jim Clark and Innes Ireland, it is fitting that this example, originally retained by the factory as its first official demonstrator, should be first privately owned by fellow speed king Donald Campbell CBE.

Campbell was synonymous of course with the 'Bluebird', the world land speed record breaking car of 1964, so-called due to its paintwork. However, his private car was originally finished in a Dubonnet or burgundy with black Connolly leather interior.

Since being sold by Campbell in November 1961, this GT was fitted with a racing engine in the early 1970s, which came from a 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours challenging DB4 GT Zagato '1 VEV', and for the next decade was entered into hill climbs, sprints and concours events around the country, including, naturally, at Goodwood.

The DB4 GT was acquired by the current vendor in 1991, who oversaw a bare metal, six-year restoration and mechanical overhaul by Swiss specialists Max Wetzel and Roos Engineering, costing some CHF 360,000 (£303,000).

The Peter Phillips Collection

Fittingly, in the marque's 70th anniversary year, the Bonhams Goodwood Revival Sale is offering ten other Aston Martins including a half-dozen featuring in a fabulous collection curated by the late Peter Phillips, former chairman and owner of the Jones Bootmaker footwear chain and well-known Aston Martin enthusiast, who kept his collection in a custom-made car storage barn, featuring original Aston Martin signage from the Newport Pagnell factory.

Among the Phillips collection which spans almost a century of motoring, including a 1915 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle Tourer, are the following:

1969 DB6 Mk 2 Volante to Vantage specification, one of only 36 made, estimate £650,000 – 750,000.

1968 DBS Vantage Sports Saloon, a replica of the car featured in the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, estimate £90,000 – 130,000.

1998 Vantage Coupé, less than 40,000 miles from new, estimate £110,000 – 150,000.

1990 V8 Volante, 27,000 miles from new, estimate £100,000 - £150,000.

1991 Lagonda Series 4 saloon, one of only 106 produced, estimate £60,000 – 80,000.

2005 Vanquish S Coupé, estimate £60,000 – 80,000.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewelry. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com.

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