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Aston Martin DB4 Series V Vantage Special Series 1963

The Aston Martin DB4 was first unveiled at the 1958 London Motor Show, to rave reviews of the public. The car proved to be a significant achievement for the then small British manufacturer. The monocoque punt-type chassis, developed under Harold Beach, featured coil-over A-arm front suspension with an anti-sway bar and a live rear axle, which was located by trailing arms and a proper Watts linkage, as well as coil springs. The coachwork utilised the vaunted Carrozzeria Touring process, in which a skeleton of small-diameter steel tubing supported the all-alloy body panelling, which created a very light yet rigid structure. Although styled by Touring, the DB4’s sleek fastback body was actually produced by Aston’s own highly skilled panel beaters in Newport Pagnell.

The 3.7 L engine, designed by Tadek Marek, a Polish born race driver, was a rugged double overhead cam straight-6, with cylinder head and block of cast R.R.50 aluminium alloy, a further development of the earlier engine used in the DB3. The twin-SU carburettor version was capable of producing around 240 hp at 5,500 RPM. This engine would enjoy a decade-long life as the motive power for the the DB4-, DB4 GT-, DB5-, and DB6-series Aston Martins. The lightweight, alloy-cased, four-speed synchromesh gearbox was an in-house design that had been built by David Brown’s gear and machine-tool division. Four-wheel disc brakes by Dunlop or Girling, depending on the model, provided immediate stops, especially when compared to the old DB2 series’ original drum brakes. The normal final-drive ratio for British and European use was 3.54:1 in the United States the ratio was usually 3.77. Customers wanting a car with an especially high top speed could choose an optional 3.31:1 ratio.

Throughout is lifetime there were five series of the DB4. The most visible changes were the addition of window frames in Series II and the adoption of a barred (rather than eggcrate) grille in Series IV. The Series III cars differed from the earlier ones in having taillights consisting of three small lamps mounted on a chrome backing plate. Earlier cars have single-piece units and the last Series V cars of September 1962 have similar taillights but recessed. The Series V also has a taller and longer body to provide more interior space, though the diameter of the wheels was reduced to keep the overall height the same.

With the introduction of the Series IV in 1961, a high-performance DB4 Vantage was offered. It featured three SU carbs and special cylinder heads, increasing power to 266 hp. Most Vantage models used the enclosed headlights of the DB4 GT.

The latest and most advanced model of the DB4 line-up, was the DB4 Series V. Changes to the Series V included its wheelbase, being increased by 3.5 inches over the Series IV in order for the DB4 to become a grand tourer suited for longer trips. The Vantage specification of the Series V featured the uprated engine, and a more aerodynamic front fascia. The redesigned front was of the style also used on the Series IV Vantage and GT models. This body would later be used for the iconic James Bond car, the DB5.

The car shown here is a DB4 Series V Vantage Special Series, besides the usual upgrades of the already rare Series V Vantage, this included an even more powerful engine, featuring larger valves and a raised compression ratio, among other things. This resulted in a gain of no less than 26 BHP, bringing the total power to 266 BHP at 5,700 RPM.

This car was originally delivered on 31 July 1963 in Stanground, Peterborough, England. Afterwards the car was sold to Barton Bendish Farms Ltd, of Norfolk. The third owner was a B. Myers, of Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey. The fourth owner, P. Stacey, of Southampton, was to keep the car well into the 00’s before selling it. In its lifetime the car has been restored to pristine conditon, being well maintained ever since. The car boasts its original livery of Fiesta Red with fawn leather interior, sporting a set of genuine Borrani wire wheels. Included with the car is detailed history and documentation.

The DB4 is among the best classic performance grand tourers you can buy. It’s powerful, quicker than its direct competitor from Ferrari, and it features all the gorgeous styling cues of the popular DB5. Produced in only 168 units (including 32 convertibles) of the total DB4 1,210-unit run, the Series V Vantage is one of the rarest DB4s ever built. On top of that, this example features the optional Special Series specification, making this car even more of a rare collectors item.

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