THE ASTON MARTIN DB4 – A Development Story
The DetailSeries l
Launch – February 1960: Instrument panel inherited from the DB2/4 Mark lll . No chrome surrounds were fitted to the windows on the initial production (50 cars) and after that initial run, over riders and heavy duty bumpers were fitted.
January 1960 – April 1961: Heavy duty front callipers were fitted together with a 17 pint sump and a radiator blind and the bonnet hinged from the front. The height of the car was increased by half an inch to 4 feet 4 inches while the car was lowered with the ground clearance moving from 18 cm to 16 cm. Various options were introduced including an oil cooler, selected by 34 buyers, electric windows and an overdrive unit. The overdrive was normally used with a 3.77 rear axle – discounting these options, the kerb weight of the car increased by 45Kg to 1,353Kg.
April 1961 – September 1961: Optional oil cooler continued from Series ll, selected by 53 Series lll buyers. An additional bonnet sty fitted together with a modified handbrake, clutch cover and brake pedal linkages. Separate rear lights fitted on a chrome plate, a single stalk switch, courtesy switches and an electric tachometer. The heating system was improved with the fitment of 5 rather than 3 demister outlets and an optional 4.09 ratio rear axle was offered. Three cars in this series were sold with the special fitment of a DB4GT engine.
September 1961 – October 1962: Lower bonnet scoop introduced as well as a new grille with 7 vertical bars and internally, the ashtray was moved from the top of the dash to the gearbox cover. Also introduced as an option was a Vantage or Special Series (/SS) engine. With 3 SU HD8 carburettors, larger valves and a 9:1 compression ratio, this engine delivered 266bhp at 5,750 rpm. Most cars fitted with this engine were also given a restyled front sloping headlamps and called the DB 4 Vantage. Internally, the GT instrument panel with separate gauges was fitted to most cars.
September 1962 – June 1963: The body was extended by 9cm to provide more leg room and boot space. A higher roof gives the best indicator of change in the line where the roof meets the boot lid, but the overall height of the car remained the same 132cm because of the change to 15 inch wheels. Under the bonnet, an airbox on the carburettors, an electric fan in front of the radiator and a vacuum advance. Smaller brake pads complete the external differences.
Introduced at the London Motor Show in 1961: Of 1,110 Aston Martin DB 4’s manufactured, only 70 were convertibles. The first 30 were Series lV cars (11 with Vantage engines) and the balancing 40 cars were Series V of which 21 were built with Vantage engines. The standard petrol tank was replaced by twin tanks positioned in the rear wings with a combined capacity of 16 gallons – 3 gallons less than the coupe.