The First DB4GT

1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The Asrton Martin DB4, DB5, and DB6 are the best looking of all the classic Astons (though I will forever maintain that the DB7 is the best looking period, especially the convertible). The DB4 was built between 1958 and 1963 until the DB5 took its place.

Among the most sought-after DB4s were the DB4GTs. These were lightweight, short-wheelbase, near-racing spec cars. Nineteen of them sported bodies by Zagato. One of them received a Jet Age body from Bertone. In all, 75 DB4GTs were built – but this is the first.

The GT came with an upgraded engine, a 302 horsepower 3.7-liter straight-six to be exact. Top speed was 151 mph – pretty stout for something pre-1960. The story of this car is that program manager John Wyer took an early DB4 chassis, shortened it, and wrapped it in aluminium to save weight. They tested it at Le Mans and actually entered in the 1959 race. Here’s how it fared:

  • 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans – 52nd (of 53), DNF (with Hubert Patthey and Renaud Calderari)

So maybe that race entrance was a little premature. After Le Mans, Aston converted this car to road spec and pushed it into service as a press car. The first real owner came in 1961 and it turned out to be a relative of the Royal family. The current owner acquired the car in 1986 and had the factory restore it in 1989. Between their original acquisition and now, the car was at one point owned by actor Rowan Atkinson.

At the time of writing, RM has not yet published an estimate for this car. It won’t come cheap, and rightly so. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $6,765,000.

DB4GT Zagato

1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | December 10, 2015

Photo - RM Sotheby's

Photo – RM Sotheby’s

This is one of the Holy Grail Aston Martins. The DB4GT itself is a rare, highly sought-after machine – but those handful of Zagato versions are really where it’s at. The DB4 was produced by Aston Martin between 1958 and 1963. The DB4GT came out in late 1959. It was a lightweight, high-performance version of the standard 2+2 road car.

The engine in the GT (including this car) is a 314 horsepower 3.7-liter straight-six. That’s actually serious horsepower – even today. About 75 standard GTs were built. But this is one of only 19 Zagato cars.

The car is instantly recognizable with that grille as an Aston. But the soft, sloping rear end makes it obviously a work of Zagato. This is car #14 and it was shipped new to Australia where it led a life as an independent racer. It went back to the U.K. in the 1990s, was restored in 2002 and has been shown all over the world. What’s truly impressive: not one of the 19 DB4GT Zagatos has traded hands in more than 10 years. This truly is a car that rarely comes up for sale. RM compares it to the 250 GTO and they aren’t wrong. While it won’t bring $30+ million dollars, it will definitely bring multiple millions. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $14,300,000.

Aston Martin Bertone Jet

1960 Aston Martin DB4GT “Jet” by Bertone

Offered by Bonhams | Newport Pagnell, U.K. | May 18, 2013

1960 Aston Martin DB4GT Jet Coupe by Bertone

The year 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of Aston Martin. It’s only appropriate that the rarest and one of the most desirable examples of Aston’s early GT cars would come up for sale to cap off a year of celebrations.

The DB4 was introduced in 1958 to replace the DB Mark III. At the end of 1959, Aston introduced the DB4GT – a sporting, lightweight version of the grand touring car. The engine was an upgraded 3.7-liter straight-six making 302 horsepower – a 60+ horsepower bump over the stock car. The factory-bodied GTs used a body designed by Carrozzeria Touring. They also made for successful race cars.

The next iteration of the DB4GT was made by Zagato. They were even lighter and had a very racy body and are highly sought after today. And then there is this car. The only DB4GT bodied by Bertone. It’s a steel body and it was actually penned by a young man just getting his start at Bertone: Giorgetto Giugiaro. The car resided in Lebanon before coming to the U.S. In the 1980s it was discovered by the chairman of Aston Martin and it was taken back to the factory.

The restoration – which was immense – was completed by Aston Martin in 1988 and the car has racked up over 35,000 miles since. It’s being offered for sale for the first time in nearly 30 years (the time before that spent mostly sitting out of the public eye). Only one was built. The name “Jet” was acquired over the years and it is speculated that Bertone wanted to build a run of these cars, but the premiere of the car was overshadowed by the debut of the Jaguar E-Type at the same show. Talk about bad luck!

The pre-sale estimate is $4,300,000-$5,900,000. That’s a big range but high-dollar cars like this usually aren’t even assigned a reserve. It’s nice to Bonhams to do so, though. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams’ 14th annual Aston Martin auction.

Update: Sold $4,897,334.

Bonhams’ 2012 Aston Martin Sale

Bonhams’ almost exclusively Aston Martin sale (there were a few Lagondas), held on May 19, 2012, was a huge success. The sell rate was very high and some cars brought a lot of money – and by a lot of money I mean some cars sold for up to five times the amount of the high-end of their estimate. Such as our featured 1971 DBS Estate. The upper end of the estimate was $110,000. It sold for $533,000. Wow.

The top sale of the auction was a 1991 DB4GT Zagato. While not one of the original 1960s DB4GT Zagatos, this was one of a handful of DB4s that were upgraded by the factory in the late-80s/early-90s. It sold for $1,896,720. But look at it. If there was a “perfect shape,” this is about as close as I’ve seen.

The second highest-sale was a 1962 DB4 Vantage Convertible with single-family ownership from new. It sold for $967,000.

Other interesting sales included a pair of sedans. First was a 1963 Lagonda Rapide – one of only 55 produced. It brought $90,800. The second was a Series I Aston Martin Lagonda from 1975. It is one of only seven made and it sold for $533,000.

And our other feature car, the 1952 DB2 Drophead Coupe, sold for $427,000. For complete results, click here.