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Campbell’s DB4 GT for sale at Goodwood Revival

Published 12 September 2019

An Aston that used to be owned by speed record breaker Donald Campbell is going under the hammer. The 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT is one of only 45 right-hand drive examples produced. It is for sale at Bonhams Goodwood Revival auction on Saturday, 14 September.

For many, the DB4 was the ultimate Gran Turismo of its time. Introduced in 1958, marrying state-of-the-art British engineering, it featured a new steel platform chassis with disc brakes all round and a race-developed twin-cam six-cylinder engine. An aluminium body designed by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan added a touch of Italian flair.

A year later, Aston Martin unveiled the GT at the London motor show – a lightweight version designed for racing, whose prototype, when driven by Stirling Moss, won its first race at Silverstone. Having shed 200lbs, due to a shorter wheelbase, the replacement of the rear seats with a luggage platform and lightweight Borrani wire and alloy wheels, the GT achieved a top speed of 153mph during testing and a 0-60mph time of 6.1 seconds.

The DB4 GT was also one of the first cars to go from standstill to 100mph and then brake to a dead stop in under 20 seconds. With the GT being driven in GT racing, not only by Moss, but also Roy Salvadori, Jim Clark and Innes Ireland.

Donald Campbell Aston Martin DB4 GT (2)

This example was originally retained by the factory as its first official demonstrator but was then privately sold to speed king Donald Campbell CBE. 

Since being sold by Campbell in November 1961, this GT was fitted with a racing engine in the early 1970s, which came from a 1961 Le Mans 24 Hours challenging DB4 GT Zagato ‘1 VEV’, and for the next decade was entered into hill climbs, sprints and concours events around the country, including Goodwood. 

The DB4 GT was acquired by the current vendor in 1991, who oversaw a bare metal, six-year restoration and mechanical overhaul by Swiss specialists Max Wetzel and Roos Engineering, costing some CHF 360,000 (£303,000).

Now the car goes under the hammer, carrying an estimate of £2,200,000 to £2,800,000.


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