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Aston Martin DB4

Aston Martin DB4 Published: 5th Mar 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Aston Martin DB4
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When it comes to cars it’s usually said that the first is the purist and this amply applies to the DB4. While later models are faster, handle better, are more refined and comfortable and perhaps enjoy a better social standing, nothing can touch an original DB4 for that undiluted interaction with the driver/owner. Prices (excluding the GT and Zagato) are broadly similar to a softer DB6 so why not try one to see what really suits you best?

Driving

Arguments will always to-and- fro over the best DB model bu, as later cars became more palatial, thus befitting their GT status, the DB4 remains true to its roots and the sports car of the strain. Despite having just 240bhp the Aston’s compact size and lighter weight make this model feel agile and sharp – the 302bhp GT is another kettle of camshafts but many standard cars will have been uprated by now. One area where the later cars, with their five-speed transmissions, score is in low speed driving because certain DB4s have odd gearing (where up to 50mph is achievable in first) and this can make this 50’s supercar rather tiresome in traffic.

Handling, given the 60 year old design, is responsive and most importantly thoroughly enjoyable with a degree of kart-like ‘chuckability’ although whether you’d do this to half a million quid’s worth of classic is debatable… Electronic power steering, from the likes of EZ and Litesteer, is said to transform the tiller’s feel.

Values

DB4 are catching up fast to the DB5 so it’s up to £700,000 for a concours car and £500K for a good usable but not A1 example (half this for a project). Dropheads are, generally, worth double across the board. A basket GT is valued at £1.5m, superb £3m otherwise all normal Series cars priced equally.

Timeline

1958 Introduced in tandem with MkII although virtually all new, including 240bhp 3.7 twin cam engine

1960 Series 2 from February boasting many improvements such as larger sump, bigger brakes optional overdrive, fronthinged bonnet, and optional electric windows; best seller

1961 Series 3 from April with even more upgrade, the most notable being a revised close ratio gearbox and a 4.09:1 rear axle offered along with potent DB4 GT model

1962 Running from Sept ’61 to following October sees now traditional grille, GT twin-plate clutch unit, optional Special Series engine and 3.3:1 axle for models sans overdrive. GT dash is made an optional fit

1962 Virtually to DB5 specification with longer body, 15 inch wheels, 4-litre SS engine standardised. New wider ratio gearbox for overdrive trans

Best models

Standard cars



Five Series made: First 100 featured rearhinged bonnets but last ones virtually to DB5 spec. S4 arguably best due to Special Series engine and close ratio gearbox

GT& zagato



Almost priceless ‘Evo’ of DB4 family sporting a special twin plug engine (302bhp). Worth estimated £3m but Zagato probably 10 million the dearer…

Lagonda rapide



Unique spin-off; four-door saloon with DB5 engine and De-Dion suspension as later fitted to DBS; only 55 made but growing interest ensures DBS values

Top five faults

Body


Superleggera cage build (aluminium panels over a tubular steel skeleton structure) is as complex as it is sturdy but difficult to rectify properly

Originality


Check if chassis number is present. Amazingly it was all over the place, on bonnet hinge, chassis near bottom wishbone – or simply scrawled in chalk or crayon on a trim panel. Is car a mix and match of various Series, upgrades,check with AMOC or a good specialist

Engine


Refer to DB5/6 for tips; the smaller 3.7-litre is that bit sweeter although a good many will have better 4-litre heads plus it helpfully lowers the compression ratio

Running gear


Axles rarely silent, are original spec gearboxes and axles still fitted but rest of car is quite orthodox to vet well RUST Body can’t rot but rest of car will and watch for bodges as part of a past resto. Chief worry spots include the bulkheads, pedal box area, jacking points, sills and outriggers and any suspension attachment area. Sill areas are box sections so harbour rust and very costly to properly repair

 



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