Monterey | Lot 132
1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series II
$577,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
15 August 2019
- One of approximately 349 second series DB4s
- Restored by marque specialists
- Tastefully upgraded to Vantage-style specifications
- Offered with factory build sheet, owner’s manual, and tools
- Classically styled DB4 with GT-level performance
Of all the post-war Aston Martins, the gracefully sleek DB4 is most admired for its robust British engineering combined with the elegant Italian lines in perfect proportion.
The specification included a new and strong steel platform chassis engineered by Harold Beech, who had recently taken over as Aston Martin’s chief engineer. In production form, this rigid frame underpinned a sleek, virtually unadorned fastback body designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, utilizing their vaunted Superleggera construction, which features a skeleton of small-diameter steel tubing covered by hand-formed aluminum alloy body panels. The coachwork was constructed by Aston Martin under license from Touring. The new chassis featured independent front suspension and a live rear axle well located by trailing arms and a Watt’s linkage. Four-wheel disc brakes and rack-and-pinion steering were specified for the first time; both items were advanced for their day and offered conspicuously ahead of adoption by Ferrari.
The most exciting development, however, was the innovative alloy twin-cam 3.7-liter straight-six engine created by Tadek Marek and further developed for use in the DBR2. With twin SU carburetors, it was rated at 240 brake horsepower and produced the prodigious torque for which these DB series Astons have become famous.
The car offered here is one of just 349 Series II DB4s produced, a model that addressed a number of problem areas associated with early production, yet still retained the original, uncomplicated look of the initial design. The perforated grille, tall hood scoop, and one-piece “cathedral” taillights exemplified the classic style, making the second-series cars especially desirable to devoted enthusiasts of the model.
A rare original factory left-hand-drive car, chassis number DB4/558/L was delivered new in July 1961 to Charles M. Huttig of Clayton, Missouri. Mr. Huttig specified his new DB4 be finished elegantly in Snow Shadow Grey with a contrasting red leather interior and chrome-plated wire wheels. It was also fitted with the standard equipment for US delivery cars: 3:77:1 final-drive rear-axle ratio and Power-Lok differential. In the late 1990s, the DB4 had made its way to the northeast, where it was acquired from Doug Petersen’s Petersen Classics in 2002 by Richard Phillips of Westport, Connecticut. Mr. Phillips commissioned Marjan Kraljevic’s respected Vantage Motors of Stamford, Connecticut, to perform a comprehensive restoration.
A respected Aston Martin specialist, Kraljevic began his career work with noted Ferrari driver and dealer Bob Grossman before officially joining Aston Martin as a mechanic in 1977. He would go on to become Aston Martin’s North American Vintage Racing department chief mechanic before opening his own specialty shop in 1990, earning a reputation for his authentic restorations and upgrades to proper Vantage and GT specifications. Kaljevic’s upgrades to this DB4 include upgrading the original engine to displace 4.2 liters, larger inlet manifold, RSW camshafts, a large-bore air box and triple Weber carburetors. Also added were large-bore stainless steel headers and a stainless exhaust system to improve breathing. The upgrades resulted in a lively, enjoyable car delivering an estimated 330 hp, considerably more power and performance than when delivered new in 1961. A Harvey Bailey suspension and handling package complement the engine upgrades, making this DB4 a very quick and nimble automobile.
After the restoration was completed in 2004, the car was driven sparingly, appearing at the Fairfield and Greenwich Concours d’Elegance before being sold to Indianapolis 500 victor Danny Sullivan in 2014. The current owner has continued to refine this DB4 with period-correct Pirelli Cinturato radial tires and period-style seat belts using NOS Britax hardware and matching webbing. A factory-correct distributor cap and “bumble bee” ignition leads have been installed, as well as a new QuickSilver stainless exhaust system. Numerous additional items were attended to while returning the Aston Martin visually to its USA delivery, factory-correct specification.
This DB4 was exhibited at the 2016 Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance and the 2018 Rule Britannia inaugural event in Monterey. It is accompanied by a tool roll, jack with jack bag, an original owner’s manual, British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate, and receipts from the current owner’s servicing and updates. Binders are also included with relevant workshop manual and parts catalogue information.
Finished stunningly in classic Aston Martin Racing Green over parchment-tan leather with contrasting green piping and matching green Wilton carpets, this DB4 is both sporty and elegant, as well as fast and refined—a superb example that is at home on the concours lawn yet encourages spirited driving with confidence on winding country roads, as well.