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Lot 537: Aston Martin DB4 'Series V' Vantage Convertible

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

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. Classically proportioned and instantly recognisable from the moment of its introduction in 1958, the Touring-styled Aston Martin DB4 established a look that would survive, with only minor revisions, until 1970. Designed by Tadek Marek and already proven in the DBR2 sports-racing prototype, the DB4's new twin-cam six-cylinder engine displaced 3,670cc while the gearbox was a new David Brown four-speed all-synchromesh unit. An immensely strong platform-type chassis, designed by Harold Beach, replaced the preceding DB2/4's multi-tubular spaceframe, the latter being considered incompatible with Touring's Superleggera body construction. The DB2/4's trailing-link independent front suspension gave way to unequal-length wishbones while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod. Boasting disc brakes all round and with 240bhp on tap, the DB4 was the first production car capable of accelerating from a standing start to 100mph and back to rest again in under 30 seconds. At a time when few family saloons were capable of exceeding 70mph and took an age to get there, this staggering performance made the DB4 just about the fastest thing on the road, easily the equal of its Italian rivals. 'Performance, controllability and comfort have been combined in the Aston Martin DB4 to make it a highly desirable car: one in which long journeys can be completed very quickly indeed with the minimum of risk or discomfort and the maximum of pleasure,' declared The Motor. 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. One of the most notable developments arrived with the introduction of the 'Series IV' in September 1961, when a 'Special Series' (SS) or 'Vantage' engine became available as an option. The 'SS' incorporated a 9.0:1 compression ratio, larger valves and triple SU HD8 carburettors, producing 266bhp at 5,750rpm, a gain of 26 horsepower over the standard unit. Coincidentally with the Series IV's introduction, the DB4 became available in convertible form. Unveiled at the 1961 Motor Show and priced at £4,449, it was £250 more expensive than the coupé. Passenger space was little changed, though there was more headroom than the coupé could offer. Combining Aston Martin's traditional virtues of style and performance with the joys of open-air motoring, the DB4 Convertible is most sought after and highly prized today. With the exception of the Zagato, the DB4 Convertible is the rarest Aston Martin road car of the David Brown era with a total of only 70 built, six less than the legendary DB4 GT. Left-hand drive chassis number 'DB4C/1099/L' is one of the very few DB4 convertibles manufactured with the 'SS' Vantage engine. The car was sold new via Aston Martin's agent in Switzerland, Hubert Patthey, and first owned by Dr Leo Gentinetta and was driven only by the doctor and his wife, Lotti. Accompanying copy build sheets record that the car was delivered equipped with the Special Series engine, overdrive, intermediate silencers, oil cooler, chrome wheels, Bray block heater, and a detachable hardtop in black. The finish is listed as Platinum with red Connolly hide interior trim, which is the same interior as it is today. Service/maintenance work listed includes minor accident repairs (June 1963) and fitting front brake disc shields, Marchal fog lamps and headlights, electric window lifts, and safety belts, the last of these works being carried out in 1965. This rare and highly desirable soft-top Aston Martin is offered with the aforementioned factory hardtop, a quantity of model-related literature, and Swiss Permis de Circulation.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeCar
Lot Number537
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€700000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€805000
Year1963
Condition rating2
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberDB4C/1099/L
Engine number370/1138/SS
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors