Aston Martin unveiled their DB4 at the 1958 Paris Salon. This was a big achievement for the small British manufacturer as it was a totally new car on a completely new steel platform chassis and disc brakes on all four corners. It was powered by an alloy twin-cam 3.7-liter straight-six engine and bodied by Touring of Milan in an elegant fastback aluminum body. This combination was performance-oriented with all the necessary criteria such as the potent engine, lightweight body, excellent stopping power provided by the disc brakes, and finished in an attractive and elegant fastback configuration. It was state-of-the-art at the time, a modern masterpiece of British engineering and Italian styling.
Harold Beech was involved with the engineering of the chassis, including the fitting of an independent front suspension and a live rear axle located by trailing arms and a Watt's linkage. The coachwork was constructed by Aston Martin under license from Touring
At the September 1959 London Motor Show, Aston Martin introduced their competition variant dubbed the DB4 GT. It was based on the race-winning prototype SP199/1. In the very capable hands of Sterling Moss, the GT prototype had won its first outing in May 1959 at Silverstone.
The Aston Martin DB4 GT sat on a shortened wheelbase, made lighter, and given a more powerful engine. The engine was given a higher compression ratio, twin-plug cylinder heads, and triple dual-throat Weber 45 DCOE carburetors. Weight was reduced by 91 kg overall, partly by reducing the wheelbase by around 5 inches. The Standard DB4 produced 240 horsepower while the DB4GT produced 302 BHP making it the most powerful British car of its era. Top speed was achieved at just over 150 mph and zero-to-sixty took a mere 6.1 seconds.
The DB4 and DB4GT were visually distinguishable by the faired in headlamps, a feature that was later made standard on the DB5. The DB4 GT had quick-release 'Monza' fuel fillers on each of the rear wings, bumper overrider deletes, and frameless roll-down windows within the doors. The interior of the DB4 GT was rather luxurious with Connolly hides and Wilton wool carpeting. An oil temperature gauge was added to the array of instrumentation, along with an 8000 RPM tachometer.
The Ferrari SWB 250 Berlinetta was a very dominant and competitive car in FIA racing, but the DB4 GTs were able to mount a strong challenge in 1959 by both the Works team and Jon Ogier's Essex Racing stable. Individuals usually found behind the wheel included Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Roy Salvadori, and Innes Ireland.
Production of the Aston Martin DB4 GT lasted from 1959 through 1963 with a total of 75 examples produced, plus an additional 19 created by Zagato in various configurations. 45 of the 75 were right-hand drive with the other 30 having left-hand drive. Six of the 75 are known to have full Factory lightweight construction details. These six are further divided into two additional categories. The first group consisting of four examples were originally ordered as 'Build Sheet GTs' meaning they were ordered with this lightweight specification. Two were Right Hand Drive and the other two were Left Hand Drive. The other lightweight group is referred to as 'BESPOKE' or Service Department created GTs. Meaning they were modified to the lightweight specification after the factory had performed the original build.
Thus, most of the DB4 GTs created were suitable for competition or Grand Touring, for road or track.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007