1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT
- Black Pearl
1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT
The competition variant of the Aston Martin DB4, the DB4 GT, was formally introduced in September 1959 at the London Motor Show. The new competition car was based on the race winning prototype SP199/1, and that same year Astons took the World Sportscar Championship title. The GT prototype won its first outing at Silverstone in May 1959 on the Bank Holiday weekend in the hands of Stirling Moss.
The GT was developed for increased performance by making it shorter, lighter and more powerful. In order to save weight, the wheelbase was reduced by 13 cm (approx. 5 inches). Altogether, weight was reduced by 91 kg (200 lbs), and the engine was extensively modified, featuring a higher compression (9:1) twin plug cylinder head and breathing through triple dual-throat Weber 45 DCOE carburetors.
Power output was outstanding: 302 bhp at 6000 rpm, a useful increase from the claimed 240 bhp of the standard car and qualifying the GT as the most powerful British car of its era. Maximum speed was 153 mph with a zero-to-sixty 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 under 20 seconds – a tribute, 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 fared-in headlamps, a feature which was later made standard for the DB5 model. The rear screen and quarter windows were made of plexi-glass on many examples, bumper overrides 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. The sheer sensation of unlimited “urge” under perfect control is one of motoring’s greatest pleasures. Unlike the Aston’s Italian arch-rival, the SWB 250 Berlinetta which had a rudimentary “race car” interior look, the DB4 GT’s cockpit was luxuriously appointed to Aston Martin road car specifications, including Connolly hides and Wilton wool carpeting. The dash binnacle on the GT cars benefited from the addition of an oil temperature gauge in addition to the standard array of instruments, which included an 8,000 RPM tachometer.
This stunning re-creation of one of Aston Martin's most iconic models started life as a standard DB4 delivered to a Mr A G P Ramsay of Corbridge, Northumberland. It is not known how long Mr Ramsay kept the car, but old tax discs suggest it remained in the north east and was last used in 1983. #DB4/683/R was acquired by the current owner in 1988 as a restoration project. The current V5 registration document indicates that there have been two previous owners.
During the intervening 12 years a plan to re-create the iconic DB4 GT was decided, the intention being to use the best components from the DB4/5/6 range and incorporate several modest upgrades. Work started in 2001. The car was totally stripped, and the chassis shortened the requisite 5" and rebuilt with new sills, chassis out-riggers, radius arm mountings, engine bay panels, floor panels, ear valance and other new sections as required. The gearbox cross-member was relocated in order to fit a DB5 ZF five-speed gearbox, while the rear spring mountings were modified to accept telescopic shock absorbers. A new aluminium front end in DB4 Vantage style was preferred to the more commonly seen GT front featuring the larger unframed headlight covers (at least one factory-built car DB4GT/0167 - had a similar front).
Throughout 2002 and 2003, new parts for the running gear and other GT-specific items were sourced (including door glass, fuel fillers and instruments) and the final detailing of the body completed, after which the shell was despatched for painting and the mechanical components overhauled. The rolling body shell was completed in late 2005. As a temporary measure a DB4 Vantage engine was installed in to enable the car to be driven while parts were collected to rebuild the original engine to GT specification. In the course of the next three years the car covered 4,500 trouble-free miles and garnered a 3rd place award at the 2007 AMOC Autumn Concours (Pride of Ownership class).
Enlarged to 4.0 litres capacity, the original engine has been rebuilt to 'unleaded' specification incorporating a new Post Vintage Engineering DB4GT twin-plug cylinder head casting (Please also note the GT cylinder head was supplied was a genuine Aston Martin item obtained from AM Heritage ); fast road camshafts; new Ross pistons; new cylinder liners; steel crankshaft; new Carrillo con-rods; modified block waterways; block bracing plate; and new triple Weber 45DCOE carburettors complete with air box, cold air feed and remote filter. The engine was assembled using genuine Aston Martin graded bearings and new studs supplied by JMB Services. The engine shows correct oil pressure and has negligible oil consumption. The completed engine was installed in January 2011 and the car returned to the road in March following further expenditure on re-trimmed front seats (with re-chromed fittings) a new windscreen, new old stock Lucas windscreen washer bottle and new Dunlop VR tyres.
Other noteworthy features include frame-less door glass; GT fuel fillers in rear wings (with hidden lockable fillers); aluminium foam-filled fuel tank (15-gallon capacity); stainless steel exhaust system; Lumenition electronic ignition and rev limiter; Magnecor plug leads; high-efficiency aluminium radiator and oil cooler; 3.54:1 ratio limited-slip differential; DB4 front discs gripped by Girling 4-pot callipers; DB5 rear callipers and discs; servo with 1.9: 1 boost ratio and brake pressure limiting valve in rear circuit; Goodridge braided brake hoses; Koni front shock absorbers fitted with adjustable spring platforms; up-rated front anti-roll bar; Spax coil-over telescopic rear dampers with adjustable damping and spring platforms; solid steering rack mountings; 15" wheels shod with Dunlop 185VR15 tyres; genuine Borrani spinners; Lightened flywheel with DB6 diaphragm clutch; Lucas alternator conversion; twin Kenlowe radiator fans; Facet fuel pump; Filter King fuel pressure regulator; GT instrument panel; and 3-point safety harness.
Following the GT-specification engine's installation and a spell of running-in, the car was despatched to Chris Shenton Engineering to be rolling-road tuned, checked over and detailed, and is now ready to use. Finished in Aston Martin Black Pearl with Charcoal Leather interior. The car is complete with a copy of the original factory build sheet, a quantity of old MoTs and tax discs, an original DB4/DB4GT instruction book, invoices totalling more than £45,000. An original Aston Martin hydraulic jack is also included.
With all the surviving genuine DB4GTs either in museums or private collections with values now in excess of GBP 3 Million Pounds, this stunning re-creation represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire a hand-built car in the true spirit of the original incorporating many of the original DB4 GT parts.
Offered for sale at a fraction of the cost of an original car or a new start recreation.