Aston Martin DB4 GT

The Aston Martin DB4 was unveiled at the 1958 Paris Salon. A totally new car, the introduction of the DB4 was a significant achievement for the small British manufacturer. The specification included a completely new steel platform chassis, with disc brakes all around, and a freshly developed alloy twin-cam 3.7-litre straight-six engine, all clothed in an elegantly proportioned fastback aluminium body designed by Touring of Milan. Overall, the DB4 was state-of-the-art for its time, a masterpiece of robust British engineering in combination with exquisite Italian styling. Of all the post-war Aston Martins, Sir David Brown’s gracefully sleek DB4 is certainly one of the most admired.

The chassis was engineered under the watchful eye of Harold Beech and features independent front suspension and a live rear axle well located by trailing arms and a Watt’s linkage. The body construction utilises the vaunted Touring Superleggera process, which consists of a skeleton made up from small diameter steel tubing covered by hand-formed aluminium alloy body panels. Aston Martin constructed the coachwork under license from Touring at its newly deployed facility in Newport Pagnell.

The competition variant of the Aston Martin DB4, the DB4 GT, was formally introduced in September 1959 at the London Motor Show. It was developed for increased performance by making it shorter, lighter and more powerful. In order to save weight, the wheelbase was reduced by about five inches. Altogether, weight was reduced by 91 kg (200 lbs). The engine was extensively modified, featuring a higher compression (9:1) twin plug cylinder head and breathing through triple dual-throat Weber 45 DCOE carburettors. Power output was outstanding: 302 bhp at 6,000 rpm, a useful increase from the claimed 240 bhp of the standard car, qualifying the GT as the most powerful British car of its era.

Maximum speed was 153 mph with a zero to 60 time of 6.1 seconds. It was also one of the first cars that could go from standstill to 100 mph and then brake to a dead stop in less than 20 seconds, attributable, in part, to its upgraded Girling braking system, as used on Aston’s competition sports racers of the era.

Outwardly, the GT is distinguished by faired-in headlamps, a feature that was later made standard for the DB5 model. The rear screen and quarter windows were made of Plexiglas on many examples; bumper overriders were deleted, and the roll-down windows were frameless within the doors. Twin, competition-style, quick-release “Monza” fuel fillers were added atop each of the rear wings, leading to a high-capacity fuel tank mounted in the boot. The immense performance and excellent road holding of the DB4 GT renders it an ideal car for the fast, long distance driver.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2011 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

302 bhp, 3,670 cc twin plug dual overhead camshaft alloy engine with three Weber 45 DCOE carburettors, four-speed synchromesh alloy-cased close ratio gearbox, four-wheel coil-spring suspension, and four-wheel Girling disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,362 mm.

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood

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