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An Amazing Find: 1962 Aston Martin DB4

The Aston Martin DB4, which was left in the woods in Massachusetts for more than 40 years, could sell for nearly half a million dollars at auction on Jan. 18. Start checking those fields now for diamonds in the rough. In 1956, development of the all-new Aston Martin DB4 began concurrently with that of the model it eventually succeeded, the DB2-derived DB Mark III. Debuted at the 1958 London Motor Show, the DB4 set the tone of Aston Martin styling for the rest of the David Brown era with fresh, Continental-inspired bodywork by Milan’s Carrozzeria Touring using its patented Superleggera (super light) technique. The DB4 also heralded a new DOHC 3.7-litre engine designed by noted engineer, Tadek Marek, and all-alloy unit displacing 3,670 cc and producing 240 horsepower with twin SU carburetors. Capable of 140 mph and acceleration from 0-100-0 in less than 30 seconds, the DB4 placed Aston Martin on equal footing with Italian rivals Ferrari and Maserati. The DB4 remains a crucial model in the Aston Martin lineage. Produced along five informally recognized series, just 1,113 of these iconic “Gentlemen’s express” coupes were built in all from 1958 through 1963. An exciting and recently unearthed “farm find,” this ‘Series 2’ 1961 Aston Martin DB4 was recently and literally unearthed in Massachusetts after 45 years and it is certainly one of the most fascinating examples of these renowned GT cars to ever come to market in recent years. Numbered DB4/510/L and according to a copy of the original build sheet on file, it is an original, U.S.-specification DB4 that was manufactured during 1960, originally finished in Sable over Fawn Connolly leather. Original features and options included a 3.77:1 rear axle ratio, Laycock Overdrive, Motorola radio, 17-inch steering wheel, fully chromed road wheels, and three-wing “knock-off” hub caps. It was shipped to the United States on November 23, 1960 and received by official West Coast Aston Martin distributor, Charles Hornburg. The DB4 was possibly used as a demonstrator or company car at first, with the factory records listing six service entries running between December 14, 1960 and July 17, 1961 at 1,622 miles recorded. The DB4 was eventually sold on April 5, 1962 with a six-month factory guarantee to its first owner, Dallas Williams & Sons Inc. of Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Interestingly, Dallas Williams helped to reinvent the art of advertising during the 1950s and 1960s as the award-winning broadcaster, copywriter, and voice actor responsible for a host of memorable on-air characters including the “Culligan Man,” which he played opposite his wife, who portrayed the harried housewife character. Mr. Williams’ name is listed in the Aston Martin Owners’ Club register and the original engine number matching that on the build sheet is listed thereon as well. Between 1963 and 1967, his name no longer appears in the register, but the engine number was listed as having been changed, indicating that the original engine was changed in the period. Subsequently, the DB4 was driven from Colorado to Massachusetts and by the early 1970s, it was parked outdoors at the owner’s home, where it remained until just recently. At some point in time, the Aston was repainted in green and the upholstery re-dyed black. According to the wife of the long term owner, when they were dating, the DB4 was already sitting on the property where it was recently discovered. As now offered, this DB4 is a veritable time capsule with a remarkably preserved wood-rimmed steering wheel and personal effects found inside, retaining the wire-spoke wheels, and even the old tires, which held air when re-inflated after the car was found and its condition was professionally assessed. As offered, this 1961 DB4 carries fascinating history and it truly marks a wonderful find that is certain to electrify the Aston Martin faithful everywhere.

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