Aston Martin DB4 Convertible

Aston Martin’s first production car under David Brown’s guidance was the brilliant alloy-bodied, grand touring DB2. With a dual-cam Lagonda inline six-cylinder engine designed by W.O. Bentley under its bonnet and a tube-frame racing chassis developed initially for the DB1 two-litre sports racing car, the DB2 left a lasting impression on anyone fortunate enough to experience it.

In 1956, development on an all-new Aston Martin model began concurrently with the DB2-derived DB Mark III, which was produced into 1959. The resulting new car, named DB4, was introduced at the London Motor Show during the autumn of 1958. Not only did it set the tone of Aston Martin styling for years to come, it also introduced an all-new engine designed by Tadek Marek, the Polish-born engineer who became synonymous with Aston Martin engine design and engineering.

The DB4 engine, fitted with dual overhead camshafts, displacing 3,670 cc, was entirely constructed from aluminium and produced 240 bhp in standard tune with its dual SU carburettors. While its specifications were certainly impressive, it most importantly provided a platform for further development and continued, with various displacements and power ratings, through mid-1973.

Aston Martin turned to Milanese design firm Carrozzeria Touring for a fresh, Continental body, which was executed with Touring’s famed superleggera (super light) design, comprising a lightweight yet strong framework of small-diameter tubes cloaked in aluminium panels. The chassis, designed by Harold Beach, was both simpler in design and more rigid than its predecessors, using a new pressed-steel platform frame. Proficiency on the road was enhanced by four-wheel Dunlop (later Girling) disc brakes and, of course, the phenomenal Marek-designed dual overhead-cam straight six. Today, the DB4 continues to hold the distinction of being the first production car capable of travelling from 0-100-0 mph in less than 30 seconds. It is the car that squarely placed Aston Martin back on equal footing with its Italian archrivals, Ferrari and Maserati.

Indeed, Aston Martin had moved from strength to strength throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, and the DB4 played a crucial role in this success. In 1958, Britain’s Prince Philip awarded Aston Martin his Royal Warrant of Appointment, giving the marque the right to display his coat of arms on their cars and for its company letterheads to state “Motorcar Manufacturers by Appointment to His Royal Highness.” Under the guidance of famed “works” team manager John Wyer, Aston Martin took overall victory at Le Mans in 1959, with Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori driving the DBR1 sports racer.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

240 bhp, 3,670 cc inline six-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts, dual SU carburettors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with helical coil springs, upper and lower wishbones, ball-jointed king pins and Telescopic shock absorbers, Live rear axle with trailing arms and transversely-mounted Watts linkage, helical coil springs and large double-action, lever-arm shock absorbers, and four-wheel, servo-assisted hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Simon Clay

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