Aston Martin DB4 Vantage Volante

In 1956, development of the all-new Aston Martin DB4 began concurrently with that of the car it eventually succeeded, the DB2-derived DB Mark III. The DB4 was introduced at the London Motor Show during the autumn of 1958, and not only did it set the tone of Aston Martin styling for years to come, it introduced an all-new engine designed by famed Polish-born engineer Tadek Marek.

The DB4 engine, fitted with dual overhead camshafts and displacing 3,670 cc, was entirely constructed from aluminium and produced 240 bhp in standard tune with dual SU carburettors. While the basic engine was certainly impressive, the Vantage-specification was available from September 1961 and had 26 additional horsepower.

Aston Martin turned to Milan’s Carrozzeria Touring for a fresh, Continental-inspired body, executed with Touring’s famed Superleggera (super light) framework of small-diameter tubes cloaked in aluminium panels. The Harold Beach-designed chassis was both simpler and more rigid than its predecessors, using a new pressed-steel platform frame. Four-wheel Dunlop (later Girling) disc brakes dramatically improved stopping power. The DB4 also holds the distinction of being the first production car capable of travelling from 0-100-0 mph in less than 30 seconds. As such, it squarely placed Aston Martin on equal footing with its Italian archrivals, Ferrari and Maserati.

Aston Martin had moved from strength to strength throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, and the DB4 played a crucial role. In 1958, Britain’s Prince Philip awarded Aston Martin his Royal Warrant of Appointment. Meanwhile, 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 mighty DBR1 sports racer.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2011 at the Syon House, London.

240 bhp, 3,670 cc DOHC inline six-cylinder Vantage engine, triple SU carburettors, four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, independent front suspension with upper and lower control arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with trailing links, coil springs and Watt linkage, and hydraulic four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tim Scott

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