Aston Martin DB4, DB4 GT, DB4 GT Zagato

The DB4 Arrives

The Aston Martin DB4 was introduced to the world in 1958 and continued through to 1963 when it was replaced by the Aston Martin DB5. It was powered by a twin overhead cam six cylinder engine of 3670cc/223cid delivering 240 bhp. This gave a top speed of around 140 mph and a 0-60 time of just over nine seconds. I should add that Aston Martin power figures from this era can be a little optimistic, and you need to add in a little variation for all the engines being hand built so there was a difference from one unit to another beyond Aston's optimistic claims.

In 1960 a new one would have set you back about £4,000, not a small amount back in 1960.

A convertible was made available in 1962 of which 70 models were built out of the 1110 DB4's built in total, and on to that number is another 100 DB4 GT and Zagato models giving 1210 altogether.

Aston Martin DB4 (Series 2), 1960 by Michael Schfer
Aston Martin DB4 (Series 2), 1960 by Michael Schfer

Aston Martin DB4 GT

The GT version was a special lightweight version introduced in 1959 and built with a shorter wheelbase and lighter body panels for those owners who wanted to race them. The engines available in the Aston Martin DB4 GT were either the 3670cc/223cid or a bigger 3750cc/228cid unit. Fitted with two spark plugs per cylinder and twin distributors, plus triple Webbers and a higher compression ratio the power was up to 302 bhp. They could top 150 mph with 0-60 in 6.1 seconds and 0-100 in 14.1 seconds.

Aston Martin DB4 by Brian Snelson
Aston Martin DB4 by Brian Snelson
Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato (replica) by Brain Snelson
Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato (replica) by Brain Snelson

Aston Martin DB4 Vantage

This model was introduced in 1961 and came with triple SU carburettors instead of the standard twin carb set up along with a modified cylinder head pushing power up to 266 bhp. There were 136 saloons and 32 convertibles built with this spec.

Vantage GT

It is thought that a small number (14) of "standard" Aston Martins were fitted with the GT engine and generally are referred to as the Vantage GT.

Darren McWhirter's Aston Martin DB4 Zagato Replica at AMOC Silverstone Sunday by Matthew Hipwell
Darren McWhirter's Aston Martin DB4 Zagato Replica at AMOC Silverstone Sunday by Matthew Hipwell

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

Released in October 1960 the Zagato GT was just a DB4 GT improved by the Zagato factory in Italy. The engine produced a reputed 314 bhp but performance was only similar to the standard DB4 GT. They expected to sell 25 but production ended at only 20.

If you're thinking of buying one put aside about £3 million at today's UK prices. You could get a standard DB4 GT for only £1 million.

Aston Martin At Spa Racing Circuit

Aston Martin DB4 Engine(Series 1) by Stephen Foskett
Aston Martin DB4 Engine(Series 1) by Stephen Foskett

Sanction 11 Zagatos

In 1991 four additional Zagato replicas were built with the permission of Aston Martin and factory chassis numbers. These cars had an uprated specification to the originals with an engine of 4.2 litres rather than 3.7 litres. Power output was 352 bhp at 6,000rpm with 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and 0-100 in 12.2 seconds. They reputedly sold for $1,000,000 a piece.

Sanction 111 Zagatos

Zagato still had two spare bodyshells laying around in their factory and they obtained permission from Aston Martin again to build a final two replicas.

Aston Martin DB4 Interior (Series 1) by Stephen Foskett
Aston Martin DB4 Interior (Series 1) by Stephen Foskett

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