This is the 15th from last DB4 series 5 produced and was completed to Vantage specification in June 1963. The DB5 was launched just a few weeks later. Actually, this car was fitted with DB5 badges from the factory. Mark thinks this is probably because the first owner, a Mr Gerard Mason-Styrron, (number plate GMS1) who lived in London, didn’t want people to think he had the prior model! Spotting the difference between the two models takes a trained eye. The heater controls and roof line at the boot lid are the only areas that give it away. Mark says they are quite fast, but one has to drive it every second as 245 HP on cross ply tyres can get a little hairy. As usual for Astons the noise is probably the best part.
Mark has owned the car from a shabby but solid state in 1982. In those days the classic car scene was much less mature so they were just old cars, and one could purchase all kinds of exotic sports cars for quite little. This was mostly because they were an absolute financial liability and hadn’t been maintained! Mark’s father thought he was mad to buy it, but he is glad he did. Over the years it’s been fully restored from bumper to bumper… in some places more than once. Being a mechanical engineer, Mark handles almost all the work on it himself which he says is half the fun of ownership. Originally it was painted Caribbean Pearl (a sort of medium/light metallic blue) and fitted with white wall tyres. It had been repainted Dubonnet Rosso years before he bought from a conglomerate director (whose wife used to go shopping in it once a week). It’s been silver since 1983, was last repainted two years ago and so far, is chip & scratch free!
The DB4 was built by Aston Martin between 1958 and 1963 in five different series, distinguished by various developments made to the car throughout its production, totalling only 90 cars. The lightweight bodywork was designed by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan, and while the bodywork was Italian, the DB4 was actually the first car to roll out of Aston Martin’s then shiny new factory at Newport Pagnell.
Constantly improved during its five-year production span, the DB4 saw a number of minor changes culminating in the Series V. The more sought-after Series V cars were built to Vantage specification and differed from earlier series in that their wheelbase was increased by 3.5 inches to provide greater cabin comfort, and a higher roofline to accommodate taller drivers. Vantage specification gave triple SU carburettors and faired headlights. Interestingly, when the famous ‘DB5’ made its first appearance in the James Bond film, Goldfinger, it was, in fact, a DB4 Series V Vantage, as the DB5 wasn’t ready in time!