Following on from Jaguar’s recreation of E Type Lightweight and XKSS models from their back catalogue, Aston Martin are doing the same, building a small run of “continuation” models of their C1959 DB4 GT – the short wheelbase version of the DB4.
Twenty-five examples of the ‘DB4 GT Continuation’ will be built, all in “lightweight” spec by the team at Aston Martin Works, which is based at the company’s traditional home of Newport Pagnell, instead of the modern Aston Martin production facility at Gaydon.
“For over 60 years Aston Martin Works has devoted unrivalled skill and experience to preserving Aston Martin’s heritage,” said Paul Spires, Commercial Director, Aston Martin Works.
“Now we are creating something for the future, with a special series of 25 continuation cars that celebrate one of Aston Martin’s greatest cars - the DB4 GT Lightweight.”
Launched in 1959, Aston Martin’s original DB4 GT came a year after the DB4 it was based on and was created primarily for competition use.
The GT featured a wheelbase five inches (127mm) shorter than the regular DB4, which reduced the 2+2 coupe to a two-seater. Additional lightweighting measures, including more alloy bodywork, made the SWB car 69kg lighter, while faired-in headlights were designed to improve aerodynamics.
Under the bonnet, a more powerful version of the Tadek Marek-designed 3.7-litre straight six engine featured three Weber carburettors in place of the normal DB4’s SUs, as well as twin spark plugs per cylinder. In this spec, it produced a claimed 302hp (225kW), compared to the regular DB4’s 240hp (179kW), and a top speed in excess of 240km/h.
When new, the DB4 GT carried a price tag of £4,534; a 20 per cent premium over the standard DB4 and a whopping amount for a car of any type, even back then.
Prior to its launch, the GT was given a boost when Stirling Moss drove one of the prototypes to victory at a race at Silverstone, but this would prove to be one of the car’s few major competition successes.
Despite being built for the track, the GT wasn’t a regular winner in this role, and when Ferrari released their now-iconic 250 GTO in 1962, the DB4 GT was rendered all but obsolete as a race winner.
The GT proved more popular as a very fast road car, and it was in this role that the bulk of the 75 examples produced by Aston Martin between 1959 and 1963 were deployed. Of that 75, only seven were true “lightweight” versions, carrying additional weight-reduction measures.
Today, DB4 GTs, along with the even shorter run DB4 GT Zagato that followed, are amongst the most sought after of all classic Aston Martins, with restored examples worth around £3 million (AU$4.16 million approx.).
Aston’s decision to bring back the GT as a limited-run continuation model is not entirely unprecedented, as a handful of the DB4 GT Zagato models were produced in the late 1980s, followed by two more a decade later.
While the modern Zagatos were approved, but not built, by Aston Martin, the “new” GTs are a full factory effort. They’ll be built by Aston Martin Works at Newport Pagnell and will carry VIN numbers following on for the last original GT produced – chassis 0202R.
Mirroring the features and specification of the original in most respects, the new GTs will be built to the lightweight spec, featuring thin wall aluminium body panels over a tubular steel frame. The modern recreations will also produce more power – a claimed 340hp (254kW), compared to the original’s 302hp (225kW).
Aston Martin also states that all the 25 continuation GTs will be track-only cars and not approved for road use.
The cars will feature some modern safety additions, while also using state-of-the-art digital technology in construction, but an “old school” approach will see each unit hand-finished by the Aston Martin Works team.
“Built in our recently refurbished, state-of-the-art facilities in Newport Pagnell, the DB4 GT Continuation is hand built in the same location as its illustrious forebears, and marks the return of production to the historic home of Aston Martin,” Spires said.
“Combining the authenticity of a hand-crafted David Brown era car with sympathetic application of modern engineering advancements and performance enhancements, the DB4 GT Continuation is a fusion of classic design and contemporary methods.”
Production of the DB4 GT Continuation is already underway, with first deliveries expected in Q3, 2017. At press time, there was no word on whether the Continuation was a sell-out, nor its price, although each unit is rumoured to cost around £1.5 million (AU$2.1 million approx.).
In addition to the car, the purchase price also gets you access to a two-year international track driving programme at major race circuits around the world. At selected times and venues, this can also include tuition from Aston Martin’s driver training team.