I recall having a conversation decades ago with an accomplished Aston Martin restorer—the best in the US, to be sure. At the time, he regaled me with tales of DB5s coming into his shop, more than a few of which had Goldfinger soundtracks stuffed into their aftermarket cassette players. Their prototypical owners all imagined themselves to be Agent 007 and desired a restoration in Silver Birch with black leather interior to match the cinematic example. A classic Aston Martin will do that.
It’s probably because they are so good looking, a trait inherited since the first 1958 DB4. But if there’s a pecking order, the DB4, DB5 and DB6 models have to take center stage. Most every single one of these was a fastback coupe, resplendent in its body by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, distinguished most of all by the elegant rear backlight and a profile that, once contemplated, is impossible to forget. And a few of those DBs were convertibles—later called Volantes in Aston-speak—a car as rare as it is beautiful to behold.
Coming to Bonhams’ upcoming Zoute Sale in Belgium on October 9 is an exquisite 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Convertible, a standout example and one of only 10 built with a left-hand-drive configuration. The DB4 was an entirely new car for Aston Martin, replacing the DB Mark III and using and entirely new, straight-six engine designed by engineer Tadek Marek.
The engine, an Aston signature for more than a decade, was a 3.7-liter, DOHC power plant—with an aluminum block and head—that made about 240 hp when fitted with twin SU carburetors. With increased displacement, various improvements and as much as 325 hp, that particular mill carried through to the final DB6 Mark II of 1971.
Unlike its tube-framed predecessor, the DB4 used Touring’s patented “Superleggera” body of lightweight alloy panels formed over a delicate tube skeleton, itself welded to a platform chassis. Though its body and chassis design were Italian in origin, the model was fabricated at Aston’s Newport Pagnell factory in Buckinghamshire, England.
The DB4 lineage, built from 1958 through 1963, is complicated, with a total of about 1,100 made in five series (a later taxonomy established by the Aston Martin Owners Club), each distinguished by various cosmetic and mechanical improvements. Of the total, a special lightweight DB4 GT version was limited to just 75 examples, and 19 now-incredibly valuable Zagato-bodied DB4 GTs were built as well. Equally rare is the DB4 Convertible, introduced in late 1961 and known as the Series IV, of which about 30 were made, followed by about 40 Series V examples.
This DB4 Series IV Convertible, chassis No. DB4C/1069/L, is a matching-numbers vehicle still fitted with its factory-given engine and overdrive gearbox. Unlike many Astons of the era, it was manufactured as a left-hand-drive example, and wears its original colorways of Dubonnet Rosso for the exterior with a leather interior in Fawn.
The car was initially delivered to US importer J. S. Inskip in July 1962 and sold new to Robert Salant of Long Island, N.Y. Significantly, it comes with the removable roof it was born with. With its engine upgraded to the higher-output Vantage specification, the Aston has been extensively maintained by the recognized specialists at Noble House in the Netherlands, and is estimated to fetch between $1.2 million and $1.4 million.
Click here to see more photos of the 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Convertible to be presented by Bonhams on October 9.