This excellent #Zagato
evocation has a colourful past and is ready for the road or racetrack. If you have the money… Richard Gunn
After being built as a standard DB4 GT in 1961 this car was modified by Aston Martin into a ‘DB GT Special’ in 1968, with a DB5 front and DB6 rear, along with other, ahem, enhancements. Never that highly regarded in enthusiast circles, despite subsequent ownership by AM boss Victor Gauntlett, it was rebuilt at the start of the 21st century by RS Williams to Sanction II Zagato spec, including a 4.2-litre engine. As a genuine DB4 GT, the car is eligible for historic competition and has raced at the Goodwood Revival.
The bodywork is in beautiful condition. Aside from the odd stonechip up front, it’s practically flawless. The Coniston Sand paint is superb throughout, while the wheels – painted wires with Borrani hubs – have no flaws. They are clad with Michelin Pilote 185/80 R16 rubber with plenty of tread left. Undersealing has been applied. If you’re searching for faults then you have to look extremely closely. For example, the felt trim by the sill covers is becoming a little flaky. But that really is the limit of any issues. The bonnet sits slightly proud at its rear edge to aid cooling. It’s pretty spotless under the bonnet too. All fluids are where they should be, although the car will be serviced before sale and freshly MoT’d.
Inside, there’s a full rollcage, Sabelt safety harnesses, a high-level LED brake light, bucket racing seats and a Halda Twinmaster tripmeter on the passenger side. The dashboard retains its original gauges, albeit with supplementary stickers on some of the faces; for example, marking the 16-litre fuel reserve. During our test, that particular dial was slightly vague.
However, bonus points should be awarded for the working clock – on older Astons this is generally inoperative. Oil pressure is satisfactory at 80-100psi when hot. There is light scuffing to the driver’s seat leather, and the wood-rimmed steering wheel looks original, with a pleasing patina. As a car more set up for track than road, this Aston feels a little fussy in urban environments. It’s easy enough to drive, but not as smooth as a less-tuned DB4. However, it comes alive at speed, with an urgency and charisma that makes it a truly exciting car. It is very fast, sounds terrific and has slick handling with no worrying suspension or mechanical noises.
While the clutch is on the heavy side – as expected – the four-speed manual gearbox is easy to use, although fourth proved a little evasive while the car was warming up. The brakes are effective enough to rein in the considerable speed potential, and free from problems, although a little squeaky. This is something Desmond J Smail intends to rectify before sale. At £4.75million, this is not cheap. But it’s a faithful evocation based on a real Aston DB4 GT. It is in exceptional condition and will allow membership of a very exclusive fraternity.
CHOOSE YOUR DB4
DB4 is launched in 1958. The body by Touring uses Superleggera tube-frame construction, while the 3.7-litre six-cylinder dohc engine develops 240bhp. Shorter and lighter DB4 GT arrives in 1959 with 302bhp and enclosed headlamps – 75 cars are made and a further 19 have Zagato bodies.
Series II from February 1960 with small detail changes. The short-lived Series III sees revised three-piece tail-lamps. Series IV cars switch from an egg-crate to barred front grille. A convertible model is added, plus a 266bhp Vantage and the rare Vantage GT.
The Series V (September 1962) is longer, taller and most have enclosed headlamps that will be carried over to the DB5 in summer 1963.
In 1987 Aston builds four more Zagatos from unused chassis numbers. These are known as ‘Sanction II’ cars. RS Williams gets permission to build another two, which were completed in 2000 and dubbed ‘Sanction III’ cars.
Make: Aston Martin
Exterior Colour: Coniston Sand
Trim Colour: Black
Carpet Colour: Black
Date Registered: 15/05/1961
Chassis Number: DB4/GT/0148/R
Engine Number : 370/240/GT
Hand of Drive: RHD
TECHNICAL DATA FILE SPECIFICATIONS 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT ‘Zagato’
Contact Desmond J Smail, Olney, Bucks, MK46 4AP (01234 240636, djsmail.co.uk)
Engine 4212cc, 6-cyl, dohc
Power 352bhp @ 6000rpm / DIN
Torque 330lb ft @ 4600rpm / DIN
Top speed: 153mph
Fuel consumption 14mpg
Quote £7158.76 comprehensive, 5000 miles per year, garaged call: 0333 323 1181
Goodwood Revival eligibility is just one of the benefits of owning this DB4 Zagato tribute. Bucket seats and rollcage – this car is happiest on the track. Engine is a genuine DB4 GT unit tweaked by RS Williams.