In many ways, the DB4 was the model that foretold Aston Martin’s future. Introduced in 1958, the saloon was entirely new from the ground-up; a newly designed chassis was fitted with all-round disc brakes, and the famous engineer Tadek Marek designed an all-new six-cylinder engine. All this was housed in a stunning saloon fastback body penned by Touring of Milan; it was this styling that would influence future Aston Martin models for many years to come.
As the years progressed, Aston Martin continued to refine its star model; aficionados have separated the model into five distinct series. Upgrades to successive series included subtle body modifications including recessed rear lights, a lower bonnet scoop, and a new grille with vertical bars, in addition to the resolution of mechanical issues such as engine overheating. The DB4 GT was launched the following year in 1959, and was powered by 3,670 cc twin-overhead camshaft engine, breathing via three Weber 45 DCOE carburettors, and producing a claimed 302 brake horsepower at 6,000 rpm.
In 1961, Aston Martin unveiled a convertible version of the DB4. With just 70 produced, the DB4 Convertible is one of Aston Martin’s rarer models. Delivered on 19 July 1963 to Aston Martin of Brooklands, Weybridge, chassis DB4C/1173/R was a very special example of the Series V Convertible. It left the factory in the stunning colour combination of Midnight Blue over a Red Connolly leather interior, complemented by optional chrome wire wheels and a Powr-Lok 3.31:1 differential. But what really set it apart was its powerplant, being the only example of its type to be fitted with a DB4 GT-specification engine by the Aston Martin factory.
Collected by its first owner, Mr. Goodwin of Hale, Cheshire, chassis 1173/R was first registered with the number plate “70 GLB”. From 1963 to 1970, little is known about the history of this DB4, though factory service notes state in February 1967 that the GT engine was replaced due to failure and exchanged with a standard unit. Chassis DB4C/1173/R was clearly in regular use, with service notes from 1963 to 1971 showing more than 65,000 miles had been covered, with regular maintenance carried out.
By the early 1970s, a Mr. Stroud of Hampstead, North London had acquired the car and re-registered it with the rather fitting “DB 4” number plate. Of note are period photographs depicting this DB4 at a farm, with Mr. Stroud posing next to chassis 1173/R alongside amateur racer Nick Cussons and his DB5. Stroud retained the car for just a few years before selling it to Hewlett Packard executive Marcel Cohen-Hadria, who had the car exported to California. Notes on the build sheet confirm that Cohen-Hadria owned the car from 1974 until 1977, before selling it to a gentleman in Connecticut. By 1984, The Aston Martin Register notes that the car had returned to the UK and was registered as “114 JGF”, then fitted with engine number 370/0692. Four years later, this DB4 Convertible was still in the UK, but no ownership details are recorded.
At some point thereafter, this Aston Martin found its way back to the United States, and in July 2006 was owned by a gentleman in the state of Maine. The car was in need of total restoration, but still retained the supplying “Cheshire Sports Cars” dealership plate on the glove box—likely a relic from its first owner, Mr. Goodwin. Acquired by the current owner in 2014, the decision was taken to send chassis DB4C/1173/R to Aston Martin Works for a no-expenses-spared, concours-standard restoration. This DB4 is accompanied by an Aston Martin restoration certificate and book, detailing the thousands of hours spent returning the car to its factory specification, documenting stages from paintwork through to the creation of a new “SS” (Special Series) engine block and “GT” cylinder head.
During the restoration, Aston Martin began by assessing the condition of the car, before deciding to carry out a bare metal restoration of the body. The bulk of the bodywork was replaced due to its condition; using traditional methods; brand new panels were fabricated by hand. The body was finished in the factory-correct colour of Midnight Blue, and the original interior was re-upholstered in the correct Red Connolly leather.
The engine in the car was not of the correct type and was subsequently removed. A new “SS-type” block was fitted, alongside a “GT” cylinder head, meaning that the car is now powered by a GT-specification engine, correct of the type it originally left the Newport Pagnell factory with. The braking and suspension systems were entirely overhauled, and a new wide ratio gearbox was installed. Every facet of the DB4 was touched by the highly skilled team at Aston Martin Works, and part-way through the restoration in 2019, the car was displayed on the firm’s stand at Rétromobile in Paris. By 2022, three long years of work had been completed, and this DB4 Convertible left the workshop in concours condition. The car received an Aston Martin restoration certificate, and leather-bound book detailing the immense amount of work taken to restore the car. The Aston Martin is accompanied by a copy of the build sheet, previous titles, and digital copies of period photographs.
Chassis DB4C/1173/R represents the sole chance to acquire the one and only DB4 Convertible fitted with a “GT” engine supplied by the factory. Now beautifully restored by Aston Martin Works, this drop-top DB4 will surely be the pride of its new owner.