1963 Aston Martin DP214

1963 Aston Martin DP214

1963 Aston Martin DP214
Coupe
Designer: Ted Cutting
Chassis #: 0194
Between 1959 and 1963 there were 75 examples of the DB GT with coachwork by Touring created. The DB4 sports car had been introduced at the 1958 London Motor Show with the GT version introduced the following year at the same show. It had been proved in competition earlier that year when the prototype 'DP/199' driven by Stirling Moss won its first race at Silverstone.

The Aston Martin DB4GT, a shortened and lightened version of the DB4. The GT is distinguished from the DB4 by an enlarged air scoop and faired in headlights. Modifications to the GT included 5-inches off the standard wheelbase and the rear seats were replaced with a luggage platform. There was lighter, 18-gauge bodywork. All these changes helped reduce the car by around 200 lbs. It was one of the first cars to go from zero-to-one hundred miles per hour and to stop again in under 30 seconds. The DB4 was also the first to be built at the company's Newport Pagnell works in Buckinghamshire, England.

The engine received much attention. When equipped with a twin-plug cylinder head and triple Weber 45DCOE carburetors, it produced just over 300 bhp at 6,000 RPM. This was a significant increase over the standard 240 BHP engine. Girling were used to bring this performance monster to a stop. There was a choice of five rear axle ratios and a Power Lok limited slip differential.

The front end of the car had faired-in headlamps with Perspex covers. The rear screen and quarter windows also were made of Perspex on many examples. Wind-down windows were frame-less within the doors. Sitting atop the rear wings were twin, quick-release, Monza competition fuel over-fillers. This led to a 30-gallon fuel tank mounted flat in the trunk, which it shared with the spare wheel. The GT cars came standard with lightweight Borrani 42-spoke wire wheels with alloy rims and three-eared 'Knock-offs.'

The interior featured Connolly leather upholstery and Wilton carpeting. The instrumentation cluster had the addition of an oil temperature gauge.

In competition, the DB4 GT, campaigned by the Works team and John Ogier's Essex Racing Stable enjoying numerous victories. In the capable hands of drivers such as Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Innes Ireland, the DB4 GT often set the pace of the race.

At Le Mans in 1960, Aston Martin had high hopes for their DB4 GT cars. Unfortunately for them, the Ferrari 250 GT SWBs took the first five places in their class. Obviously, more work was required to make the DB4 GT's even more competitive.

Italian Coachbuilder Zagato of Milan was commissioned to design and build 19 examples of the DB4 GT which would be used to compete against the Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta Coupes in international competition. The Zagato-built DB4 GT's were lighter and better prepared for racing, but were still unable to beat the Ferraris.

For 1962, Aston Martin began work on a new version of the DB4 GT which would compete under the new four litre prototype rules. It was called the DP212 and was the first of four 'project cars' produced by Aston Martin. The DP212 was lighter and used more aluminum for the chassis when compared with the DB4 GT. It was given a completely new body. Under the bonnet, the engine was bored out and the compression was increased. Horsepower was in the neighborhood of 345 BHP. In the back of the car was a DeDion suspension setup.

At LeMans, the DP212 arrived with very little test and development time under its belt. It had stiff competition, again from Ferrari, who had converted one of their 250 TR racers to comply with the new regulations, resulting in the 330 TRI/LM.

Richie Ginther and Graham Hill were given driving duties for the DP212. At the start of the race, the DP212 quickly showed its potential by leading the field. But the race is a long and grueling event; the DP212 lost precious time with small problems and was later forced to retire after a piston broke. Ferrari would finish the race and capture the checkered flag.

The DP212 had shown that it was capable of winning, or at least competing for podium finishes. Three new cars were built for 1963. Two DP214 models were built for the GT class and a single DP215 was built to contest the overall victory. Powering the GT cars were a 3.7 liter version of the Aston Martin straight six. The DP215 had a slightly larger engine.

The DP214 cars made their racing debut at LeMans where they both were forced to retire prematurely due to piston problems. The cars were fixed and continued to compete throughout the remainder of the season with victories being earned at Monza and Monthlery. At the close of the season, Aston Martin ended the program and both cars were sold to the Dawnay Racing Team. The cars continued to race, with minor victories being achieved. One example was nearly destroyed in an accident at the Nürburgring and was later scrapped. The only example to remain is chassis number 0194.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2013
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 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 a 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 dominate 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 configuration. 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
The Aston Martin DB4 was first introduced to the public at the 1958 Paris Salon and powered by a 3.7-liter straight eight and clothed in an aluminum body. Touring of Milan was tasked with creating the design. The Aston Martin DB4 GT was introduced a year later at the London Motor Show and was based on the race winning prototype SP199/1. 1959 was a great year for Aston martin as they had won the World Sportscar Championship title. The GT prototype inaugural race was in May of 1959 at Silverstone where it finished in first place at the hands of Stirling Moss.

The Aston Martin DB4 GT was lighter, shorter, and more powerful than the base DB4. In an effort to reduce the weight of the vehicle the bodywork was made thinner using 18 gauge alloy. The wheelbase was reduced by 13cm which made the rear seats obsolete. In total, 200 pounds had been shed. Under the graceful hood was the six-cylinder engine modified with twin plug cylinder heads and triple dual-throat Weber 45 DCOE carburetors. Horsepower was raised to over 300, bettering the standard DB4 engine by 60 horsepower, and making it the most powerful British sports car of its era.

Most of the DB4 GT's had Plexiglas rear screen and quarter windows. Disc brakes could be found on all four corners, as could the alloy Boranni wire wheels. The roll-down windows were frameless within the doors. A high-capacity fuel tank could be found in the rear. Quick-release 'Monza' fuel fillers were placed atop of the rear wings. All of this equated to a car that had a top speed over 150 mph and could race from zero-to-sixty in just over 6 seconds. Visually, in comparison to the DB4, the GT has cowled headlights and a very prominent hood scoop.

The interior of the cars were race inspired but still filled with luxurious amenities.

The DB4 GT was produced from 1959 through 1963 with only 75 examples being produced plus another 19 examples bodied by Zagato. 45 were right-hand drive and 30 were left hand drive. The Zagato bodied cars were necessary to keep pace with Ferrari's 250 GT machines. Zagato was legendary in the world or automotive weight reduction and their skills were in high demand. Ercole Spada of Zagato was given the task of performing the necessary modifications. Even after Zagato worked his magic, the Ferrari's proved to competitive for the DB4 GT's. Though the DB4 GT's suffered from oversteer and and low rigidity, its Achilles' heal was the fact that it was born from a road going car.

The final DB4 GT constructed was sent to Bertone who fitted it with a body and had it sent to the 1961 Geneva and Turin Motorshows. It was styled by Giorgietto Giugiaro who was in the infancy of his career. This, the 76th and final DB4 GT produced, was given an attractive steel body.


By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007

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