Launched at the London Motor Show in 1958, the Aston Martin DB4 emphatically demonstrated that a British manufacturer could better the Italians at their own game when it came to constructing the ultimate Gran Turismo. Classically proportioned and instantly recognisable from the moment of its introduction, the Touring-styled DB4 established a look that would survive, with only minor revisions, until 1970. 'Following in the classic tradition of close-coupled sports saloons, the 3.7-litre DB4 Aston Martin carries orthodox modernity to its highest pitch. A luxurious two-seat saloon which can carry four adults when necessary, it recorded almost 140mph as a two-way mean speed over the measured mile. Yet we were able to record acceleration figures from 10mph in the same gear ratio,' reported The Motor magazine.
That the DB4 was able to manifest this rare combination of unrestrained high performance and civilised docility was down to its magnificent engine. A new design by Tadek Marek, the DB4's all-alloy, twin-overhead-camshaft six featured 'square' bore and stroke dimensions of 92mm for a displacement of 3,670cc, and developed its maximum output of 240bhp at 5,500rpm. The David Brown gearbox was a new four-speed all-synchromesh unit. An immensely strong platform-type chassis replaced the DB2/4's multi-tubular spaceframe, the latter being considered incompatible with Touring's Superleggera body construction which employed its own lightweight tubular structure to support the aluminium-alloy body panels. The DB2/4's trailing-link IFS gave way to unequal-length wishbones, while at the rear the DB4 sported a live axle located by trailing links and a Watts linkage instead of its predecessor's Panhard rod.
The DB4's peerless credentials as a Grand Routier were summed up thus by The Motor: '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.'
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. The first series had already undergone a number of improvements, including the fitting of heavy-duty bumpers after the first 50 cars, before the second series arrived in January 1960.
The 26th of the 150 'Series 1' DB4s produced, chassis number '126/R' has many of the features of those first 50 cars, including 'frame-less' windows; rear-hinged bonnet; 'cathedral' rear lights; and bumpers without over-riders, all of which contribute to its ultra-clean look. '126/R' was delivered new on 24th June in 1959 to Town End Chemical Ltd in Bramley. The history of its owners is well documented, and since 2010 the DB4 has been owned by a German enthusiast. There are many invoices on file for works carried out in the UK since the 1970s, by marque specialists Andy Chapman and Four Ashes Garage among others.
Between 2012 and 2014, the Aston was extensively restored in Germany by a recognised specialist (photographic record on file). These works included refurbishing the bodywork; a bare-metal repaint; painting the under-body; and overhauling the engine, chassis, and braking system. The original interior has been preserved and the car retains its original Webasto sunroof, while a five-speed manual gearbox was installed during the restoration (the original four-speed gearbox has been retained and is offered with the car). The vendor describes the outside as immaculate, complimenting the nicely patinated original black leather interior.
Said to perform extremely well, the DB4 has participated in events such as the Gran Premio di Nuvolari and Ennstal Classic since the restoration's completion, and usually is driven twice a year from its home in Munich to Lake Garda just for pleasure. Nevertheless, the owner considers that his special car deserves more than this necessarily sparing use, hence the decision to sell.
A rare opportunity to acquire an 'Series 1' DB4 representing Touring's sublime creation in its earliest and purest form, '126/R' is offered with copy guarantee form, FIVA Passport, and German registration papers. This car would be a wonderful addition to any Aston Martin aficionado's collection, as well as a most rewarding investment in an automobile legend.