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
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.