A British Driving Classic: Aston Martin DB4 GT

Mar 17, 2014

We all know about James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from the movie Goldfinger; it’s one of the most iconic cars in cinema. But there are so many reasons to love the Aston Martins of the late 1950s and early 60s that have nothing to do with Bond. While Aston Martin always embodied a certain sporting yet aristocratic flair from its inception, in 1959 the company was really at its pinnacle of sporting excellence, having won the Le Mans 24 hours with the DBR1 racing car.

Aston’s production models of the time were the epitome of style, class and speed. The contemporary Bentleys and Rolls Royces were massive chauffeur-driven barges, having long abandoned any sporting pretense from their prewar glory days. Jaguar was selling the XK series—all fine automobiles—but had yet to create the show-stopping E-type that would really give Aston a run for their money in the mid 1960s. So in 1958 to 1960 if you wanted a fine British sportscar that represented the very best of the Empire, you could do no better than an Aston Martin DB4 GT.

First there was the stunning aluminum body designed and hand built in Italy by Carozzeria Touring using their patented Superleggera technique. Superleggera was a process of mating a thin aluminum skin to a lattice of fine steel tubes to create a stiff yet astonishingly light bodywork. Unlike a Jaguar of the period, there were no steel pressings here, just handcrafted alloy panels brazed and soldered together over the steel tubing.  Although the DB4 GT exhibits an upright, English restraint about it, there is no doubt that it benefitted enormously from the Italian flair for form and proportion.

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