The DB4 was an innovation and distinctly un-English sports car, designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan and manufactured in Aston Martin’s recently acquired Newport Pagnell factory.
Using the superleggera (super-light) tube frame technology pioneered by Touring, together with rack and pinion steering and a powerful new 3.7 liter engine designed by Polish engineer Tadek Marek, Aston Martin constructed a landmark car — capable of 0-100 mph(161 km/h) in a mere 21 seconds, it was the first production car to hit the ton in under 30 seconds. Altogether 1,110 DB4s were produced, in five distinct ‘series’ with various style changes and improvements over the course of its five-year run, of which 70 were convertibles, first introduced in 1962.
Buoyed by the success of Ms DBR1 in the World Sportscar Championship, Aston Martin’s boss David Brown didn’t hesitate to milk the DB4 for all it was worth. In 1959 he produced a beefed-up GT version on a shortened wheelbase for lower weight and better handling. Only 100 DB4 GTs were produced, 25 of which were sent as rolling chassis to Zagato in Milan where talented young Ercole Spada, later to be Zagato’s chief designer, was given his first gig: turning out a spin-off limited edition with which to challenge Ferrari on the race circuits.
The 1960 GT Zagato was the ultimate evolution of the DB4. Spada Stalled a 314 bhp engine and effectually transformed the GT from a road car that could be raced into a racing car that could be driven on the road. Is the DB4 GT Zagato the most desirable Aston Martin ever? A price tag of £3.5 million when one comes up for sale suggests it is. Only 19 are in existence so don’t expect to be driving one any time soon.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1958 (until 19631
3,670 cc DOHC Straight Six
The GT Zagato had a top speed of 153 mph (246 km/M: 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.1 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Four DB4 ‘Sanction 8’ cars were officially given GT Zagato status at the Milan factory in 1991 – Zagato had to disassemble an original to remind themselves of the body building technique they had used on these iconic machines back in the early 1960’s.