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Aston Martin DB 4 (1958 - 1961)

our thanks to www.astonmartins.com


The DB4 was unveiled at the 1958 London Motor Show; a totally new car which was quite an achievement for a small well know British manufacturer. A completely new platform chassis with disc brakes all round, a completely new 3.7 litre straight six cylinder engine topped by an wonderfully fastback body styled by Touring of Milan. . A masterpiece of British engineering together with Italian styling.

The brand new platform chassis was engineered under the watchful eye of Harold Beech. On top of this, the body frame is made up of a cage of small diameter tubes which is covered by hand made aluminium body panels. This method of construction is known as 'superleggera' (Italian for super light) and was used under license by AML from Touring.

The DB4 is powered by an aluminium straight six cylinder 3670 cc engine; the work of Aston Martins Polish designer, Tadek Marek.  When fitted with the standard twin SU HD8 carburettors, the engine could produce 240bhp at 5,500 rpm, sufficient for a dash to 60 mph in 9 seconds and a maximum speed of 140 mph.

These are examples of the series 1 car, in production from October 1958 to January 1960 (chassis numbers DB4/101/R to DB4/249/L). Such cars are characterised by simple bumpers without over-riders, a rear hinged, front opening bonnet. The first 50 cars had no window frames on the side windows (frameless coupe style). This caused whistling at speed and so frames were added to combat this.  Unfortunately for a GT designed for high speed continental cruising, early cars suffered from overheating, a problem not fully sorted until the later cars. This problem was only cured in later cars with the fitting of an oil cooler and an enlarged sump.

The series 2 followed on in January 1960 (chassis numbers DB4/251/L to DB4/600/R) . Whilst there were many minor modifications such as a front hinged bonnet and uprated front brake calipers, one of the only external changes were the introduction of opening rear quarter lights with flat glass. In order to aid engine cooling the sump was enlarged from 14 to 17 pints and the oil pump was uprated. As an optional extra, an oil cooler could be fitted (indicated by a scoop under the front bumper). Both series 1 and 2 cars were fitted with the came rear light clusters as the DB Mark 3 and originated from the Humber Hawk.

From April 1961 more changes were made to the DB4 and as such, cars between DB4/601/R to765/R are called 'series 3'. Again most improvements are hidden, but the principle external change are to the rear light clusters. A polished plate houses the indicator, rear/brake light and a red reflector on heavy polished chrome bases.