Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Touring
John D. Sconfienza, Wise River, Montana (acquired new via Charles Hornburg 1961)John Botelar, San Francisco, California (acquired circa 1968)Tony Andersen, St. Paul, Minnesota (acquired from the above in 1972)Richard A. Candee, Shaker Heights, Ohio (acquired from the above in 1982)Christopher H. Greendale, Weston, Massachusetts (acquired from the above in 1999)David Evans, McLean, Virginia (acquired from the above in 2002)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2006)
Bonneville, Utah National Speed Trials, 1961, Sconfienza (1st in Class)
Numerous Vintage Races (1983–1993)VSCCA Castle Hill Concours d’Elegance, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 1994Car of the Century Exhibition, Toronto, 1995Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2007 (Second in Class)
Launched at the 1958 Paris motor show, the bold DB4 ushered in a new era for Aston Martin and its road models. It would also serve as the basis for the competition-oriented DB4 GT, development of which was reportedly spurred by the French Aston Martin distributor, who demanded a GT-class racing car capable of besting Ferrari’s victorious 250 GT Tour de France. Based on the DP199/1 prototype, which won at its first race at Silverstone with Stirling Moss, the DB4 GT debuted at the London motor show in 1959, the year of Aston Martin’s brilliant 1–2 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Sportscars Championship title.
Developed under Aston Martin racing manager John Wyer, the DB4 GT was at once shorter, lighter, and more powerful than the production DB4. Featuring thinner, 18-gauge aluminum-alloy body panels, the new Aston Martin’s wheelbase was shortened by approximately 5", and the rear seats were removed on all but a few special-order cars, helping achieve a 200-pound weight reduction. Built with an aluminum and twin-plug cylinder head, the Tadek Marek-designed 3.7-litre DOHC engine of the DB4 GT was extensively modified, featuring higher 9:1 compression and three Weber 45 DCOE carburetors, yielding 302 factory-rated hp at 6,000 rpm. Girling four-wheel disc brakes were shared with Aston Martin’s sports racers of the era. Distinguished by its Perspex-covered headlamps, lightweight rear- and quarter-windows, deleted bumper over-riders and frameless side windows, the DB4 GT also included twin competition-style, quick-release Monza fuel fillers, a high-capacity fuel tank, and Borrani knock-off wire wheels. Interiors were still fully trimmed with Wilton wool carpeting and fine Connolly leather covering lightweight seat frames. DB4 GT instrumentation also included an oil-temperature gauge.
Raced from 1959 by both the Aston Martin Works team and the Essex Racing team of John Ogier, DB4s were piloted by the era’s greatest drivers including Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, and Innes Ireland. In December 1959 at the Bahamas Speed Week, when another driver rolled a DBR2 intended for Moss, a DB4 GT just delivered to a Caribbean customer was “borrowed” and driven by him to victory in the next race. As Aston Martin’s successful reply to Ferrari’s 250 GT Tour de France, the DB4 GT was countered in 1960 by the 250 GT SWB, itself inspiring Aston Martin’s lighter-weight DB4 GT Zagato in 1961, only to be countered in 1962 by the 250 GTO, its nemesis from Maranello. Aston Martin built a mere 75 DB4 GTs between 1959 and 1963, plus another 19 Zagato-bodied derivations and one Bertone-bodied special. Of the standard DB4 GTs, 45 were right-hand-drive cars and 30 were left-hand drive.
Numbered DB4GT/0130/L, this 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT carries outstanding and fascinating provenance, confirmed by a wealth of accompanying documentation. Its history is also chronicled in the 2016 book, The Aston Martin DB4GT, by marque authorities Stephen Archer and Richard A. “Nick” Candee, with the latter a former owner of DB4GT/0130/L from 1982 to 1999. According to a copy of the factory vehicle record supplied by Aston Service Dorset, this extremely rare, original left-hand-drive 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT was shipped new to the US via official Aston Martin distributor Charles Hornburg, and its guarantee was duly issued on December 12, 1960. In addition to its comprehensive standard high-performance features, DB4GT/0130/L was factory-finished in Fiesta Red paint over Fawn Connolly leather upholstery and equipped with a non-standard (optional) 15" steering wheel.
The DB4 GT was purchased new during the autumn of 1961 by John D. Sconfienza, a construction engineer from Wise River, Montana. As told to Aston Martin historian Nick Candee by Rex Woodgate, who managed Aston Martin’s “works” racing entries for North America in period, Sconfienza traveled to California to deliver a Ferrari to a buyer in Los Angeles. Driving along Sunset Boulevard, he spotted this DB4 GT inside Hornburg’s showroom, purchased the car, and promptly had it placed onto his trailer. On the trip home to Montana, Sconfienza happened by the annual speed trials held at the Bonneville Salt Flats. According to a Car and Driver article covering the event, Sconfienza was persuaded to enter the car – the first Aston Martin ever to race at Bonneville. There, the DB4 GT was driven by Sconfienza to a two-way average of 134.4 mph, setting a speed record in his class. Event coverage garnered attention of another kind – a stern letter from Reg Parnell, Aston Martin’s service manager. While a noted race car driver himself, his February 1962-dated letter on file gave notice that “…the Warranty period had expired on this car but, in any case, since the car was raced last Autumn the Warranty automatically became invalid.”
Sconfienza retained the car until circa 1968, followed by two more owners to 1982, when it was acquired by AMOC luminary Nick Candee, who prepared the car for vintage racing and campaigned it enthusiastically and successfully in a multitude of circuit races and hill climb events through 1999. Christopher H. Greendale of Weston, Massachusetts, acquired the Aston Martin from Candee in 1999 and had the car shipped to the UK for restoration, before selling it in 2002 to David Evans of McLean, Virginia, through whom the car eventually passed in 2006 to the current owner.
Soon after acquisition of DB4GT/0130/L, Bjorn Nordemo of Sports Leicht Restorations (SLR) of North Carolina was commissioned to perform a no-expense-spared restoration of the car in preparation for display at the August 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®. In addition to providing technical assistance for the total restoration of the DB4 GT, UK marque expert Richard Williams also provided numerous rare parts to the SLR team. Factory-original colors were thoroughly researched as well, with the owner choosing the car’s present and highly striking Black Pearl over red leather. As intended, the DB4 GT made its post-restoration debut at Pebble Beach in fine form, placing second in a highly competitive class to the ex-works DB3S/9 sports-racer driven in period by Moss and Peter Collins.
As expected, this exceedingly rare 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT has enjoyed media coverage from its record-setting debut at Bonneville to the present, including detailed accounts of the vehicle’s restoration in The Vantage Point, the official publication of the Aston Martin Owners Club in America. As offered, DB4GT/0130/L is accompanied by the original books, extensive service and restoration records, a large quantity of photographic images, and the original tool kit. While rare, elegant, and beautifully presented for auction, this DB4 GT is eligible for virtually any worthy classic event. Perhaps most importantly, it stands as a wonderful touchstone to Aston Martin’s commitment to GT-class racing dominance during the 1950s and early 1960s.