Touring A Perugian Estate With A Rare Pre-Production Aston Martin DB4

Story by Laura Ferriccioli
Photography by Marco Annunziata

The Aston Martin DB4 is a unusual machine, but like a lot of of the iconic and scarce sports activities and GT vehicles of the time period, there are ranges of exclusivity. Only about one,a hundred DB4s had been constructed initially, significantly less have survived, and there are even a handful of pre-manufacturing designs even now kicking right now. This automobile, DB4 chassis 109 R, which we shot on the grounds of the personal-residence-turned-luxury-hotel, Posta Donini, in Perugia, Italy, which dates back to the late 16th century.

A automobile synonymous with Britain, the DB4 is also fairly Italian thanks to its Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera created bodywork. Even though most of the manufacturing run of the DB4 was carried out in England, it is most likely that the bodywork parts of this certain DB4 had been primarily manufactured in Italy—the frameless glass pieces by the Securit brand undoubtedly had been. It might be the situation that soon after the agreement for the licensed manufacturing, the Milanese coachbuilder immediately provided the entire body panels for the 1st handful of examples. That is only hearsay at this level even though, as we will by no means know how it officially went down, seeing as significantly of the historical archive of Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera was devoured by fire in 1966.

Irrespective of its metallurgic origins, the automobile was undoubtedly assembled at house. It was constructed in the Feltham plant, even if in individuals many years Aston Martin street vehicles had been no longer created in the London hinterland city, but rather in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. But the specifics that make this automobile particular between DB4s proceed. There is also the hinged hood (hinged towards the wind) that is only incorporated in 149 examples, as effectively as some modifications for fuel injection in the cylinder head of the engine, which was unused—as evidenced by the carbs this automobile wears beneath the hood—given that Aston Martin launched this innovation a decade later on. The car’s pre-series authentication comes from the engine quantity: 370 / PP / 106. The two Ps, as indicated immediately on the factory card, indicate that this Aston Martin represents the real origin of the myth. The which means of the two letters is “Pre Manufacturing,” and homes 1 of only 5 this kind of engines set up in DB4s.

This automobile, the ninth DB4 constructed, not only marks the extremely early days of the model, but also the primordial sparkle of the David Brown era. In 1955, when the brilliant British entrepreneur sought a stylist who could put together a “guide project” for the vehicles he meant to create, he asked the Milanese Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera for 3 spiders based mostly on the DB two/four chassis. “It was a type of entrance examination,” recalls Engineer Giovanni Bianchi Anderloni, who on the function of his grandfather, Felice, the co-founder of the Carrozzeria with each other with Gateano Ponzoni, and of his father Carlo Felice, the brilliant designer of the organization, wrote in a guide bringing with each other paperwork and recollections (Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, published in English by Gilena Worldwide Motor Books). 

Soon after the presentation of the third Spider DB2/four at the London Motor Present the following 12 months, a contract was signed in between the British producer and the Italian coachbuilder for the layout and building of a modest series of prototypes of the new DB4 Coupé with the Superleggera program, with the provide of tools and technical consultancy for the building of the vehicles in England in the Aston Martin factories to comply with. “A constant collaboration was also envisaged for the growth of the model and subsequent DB4 GT versions”, factors out the designer’s descendant. That was only the starting of Touring’s collaboration with the English organization, the DB4 currently being followed by the Aston Martin DB5, the DB6, and the associated variants (the Volante Spider and Vantage Coupé).

The proprietor of this DB4—who grew up, like a lot of of us, enthralled by the MI6-modified DBs— located this rarity at an auction in London back in 2009. It was a sale he had participated in with out a strategy to come house with something “In individuals days, historic automobile auctions had been magnificent, it was really worth it to just be there,” he recalls. There was also an additional DB4 for sale that day in Battersea Park, but he had no doubts as to which 1 he had fallen for—the thrill of exclusivity of a pre-series automobile is some thing inherently particular. This kind of a powerful distinctive component is irresistible to a collector. And despite the fact that he is a collector, the vehicles are even now taken care of as vehicles. Which is to say this DB4 is seldom lain dormant in the garage for extremely lengthy. Of program, it is not a sports activities automobile by any semblance of a contemporary definition, and even for the duration of its very own day, the DB4 was not created to be a taut and higher-strung performer, far more like an stylish way to travel comfortably at pace. That currently being stated, at the time of its launch the DB4 was defined in ads as “The quickest 4-seater in the planet.” A best pace of 245km/h (about 152mph) was no joke for the time, but 1 just requirements to uncover a tight winding street to be reminded that this Aston is not “a race automobile for the street.” 

Soon after the shoot, I went out for a trip in this instance with the owner’s wife at the wheel, who I should say is a extremely good—and not extremely slow—driver. We had been overtaking vehicles and carrying far more pace by way of corners than I would have guessed provided this car’s relative irreplaceability, but we by no means reached past the limits of the automobile or the driver. The three.7L aluminum alloy straight 6 is very good for about 240hp at the crankshaft, which is loads of punch for a automobile of this age. And speaking of age, this automobile was restored by a preceding proprietor in 1986, but it even now bears a lot of of its authentic pieces, such as the “AM” branded valve covers.

As written on the factory card, the instance was initially employed as a present automobile by Cyril Williams’ dealership in Wolverhampton, exactly where it was delivered on March 25th 1959. It was outfitted with a 400T model HMV radio, a non-common accessory which nonetheless remained for 36 many years, until finally a Bristol dealer set up a new radio in 1995. The DB4 was then offered to an additional organization, later on to a personal personal and then back to a organization, the Vowles Aluminum Foundry of West Bromwich, in Midland, which had provided the aluminum for the series manufacturing entire body. By the time it was handed more than to its present proprietor in Italy, the DB4 had accumulated 96,835 miles. It was subsequently returned to England, to Aston Engineering in Derby, exactly where the engine was rebuilt. Then it was the body’s flip for a refresh, with the Aston’s aluminum shell restored in Voghera. The interior was also on the listing, and a group of Ferrari professionals took care of the leathers and trim function, producing this Aston’s Italian connection that significantly more powerful.