"COMING TO AUCTION"
ASTON MARTIN WORKS SALE
9th MAY 2015
1960 ASTON MARTIN DB4 "SERIES 1"
Coachwork by Tickford Chassis no. DB4/245/L Engine no. 370/243
£450,000 - 550,000
€630,000 - 770,000
'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 year's
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 Touring's '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 DB4's 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'. When the DB4 was introduced, it was Britain's most
powerful and fastest production car, and its aerodynamically styled,
all-aluminium, Superleggera coachwork looked sensational, establishing a look that would endure for the next dozen years.
Aston Martin DB4 was the first of the DB models to employ the entirely
new twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder, 3.7-litre engine designed by
Tadek Marek, which had first been seen at Le Mans the previous year in
the DBR2. A Polish engineer who had joined the company in 1954, Marek
had previously enjoyed a racing career and posts with General Motors and
FIAT in Poland, the design of tanks during WW2, and had arrived at
Newport Pagnell from Austin.
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 callipers and an enlarged sump were the major changes made
on the Series II. Including Vantage and convertible models,
approximately 1,100 of these iconic 'Gentleman's Express' sports saloons
were produced between 1958 and 1963.
This left-hand drive
'Series I' DB4 was delivered new via Aston Martin's United States West
Coast importer Charles Hornburg and first owned by one Paul S Pollack
(Karl's Shoes Limited) of Los Angeles, California. The accompanying copy
order form records that the car was finished in Snow Shadow Grey with
red Connolly leather interior trim and equipped with chromed road
wheels. Highly collectible, this rare 'Series I' car is one of
approximately 150 built. As such it features particularly clean styling,
closest to Touring's original conception for the model.
AMOC Register (published 2000) shows that '245/L' formerly belonged to
one R J Minella in the USA and that during the early mid-1990s it was
entered in various concours events by 'Rodd', presumably a previous
owner. The car's record is most impressive, consisting of mainly
1st-in-class awards and wins in the Charles Turner Trophy competition
(on two occasions).
'245/L' is finished in Peony Red with
Mushroom leather interior trim complemented by clean brightwork and
chromed wire wheels shod with period-correct Avon cross-ply tyres. The
engine bay is very tidy and it is obvious that the chassis has been
restored, retaining the correct lever-arm dampers. The DB4 appears to be
a strong runner, starting readily and showing decent oil pressure;
however, we are advised that the gearbox is somewhat balky and would
benefit from expert attention. Eligible for AMOC and a wide variety of
other historic events, the car is offered with the aforementioned copy
Should the vehicle remain in the UK, local import taxes of 5% will be applied to the hammer price.