1963 Aston Martin DB4 ConvertibleSOLD

The MJF Collection

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Registration No: 376 PE Engine No: 370/1163 CC: 3670 Colour: Fiesta Red Trim Colour: Black MOT: March 2011

Reference Number 80207

as of 5/5/2010

Overview
Car 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible
VIN DB4C/1092/R 
Mileage 63,072 miles 
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Known History

Debuting at first the Paris and then London Motor Shows of 1958, the Aston Martin DB4 was a world class high-performance GT car. Some four years in the making, its gestation was overseen by the marque's Technical Director John Wyer. Working alongside Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, Harold Beech developed a robust sheet-steel platform chassis which could accommodate the Italian coachbuilder's `Superleggera' or `Super Light' method of body construction (whereby hand beaten aluminium alloy panels are fitted over a cage-like structure of small-diameter support tubes). Equipped with independent coil-and-wishbone front suspension, a Watts linkage located `live' rear axle, rack and pinion steering and four-wheel disc bakes, the model was powered by a new all-alloy DOHC straight-six engine.

 

Displacing 3670cc thanks to its `square' bore and stroke dimensions (92mm x 92mm), the powerplant was designed by Tadek Merak. Interestingly, the Polish-born engineer is thought to have fought Wyer's wishes for a more competition friendly 3-litre unit and to have initially favoured cast-iron construction. With a quoted 240bhp and 240lbft of torque on tap, the two-door fixed-head also boasted a four-speed all-synchromesh manual gearbox as standard. Reputedly capable of 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds, 0-100mph in 21 seconds and 140mph, the DB4 won rave reviews from the likes of Autocar and Motor magazines. Despite a well stocked dashboard, finest Connolly hides and thick carpets, the refinement of early cars was compromised by wind roar at speed. Frames were quickly adopted for the side windows as a result and the 2 2 progressively refined through five series.

 

Widely recognised as one of the prettiest Aston Martins ever made, the DB4 Convertible was introduced at the 1961 London Motor Show. Styled in-house, the newcomer allied a notably well-resolved roof line (hood up or down) to an elegantly re-profiled rear deck. While, the adoption of a strengthened floorpan, load-bearing hood well and reinforced sills meant that it remained a taut and entertaining drive. The decision to paint the soft-top's dashboard and instrument binnacle body colour rather than black brought a welcome element of visual drama (as did opening front quarter lights). In keeping with the marque's 'Saville Row' attitude to motor car making, the model could be had with a bewildering array of options. Arguably the British equivalent of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, the Aston Martin DB4 Convertible was scarcely more populous (production tallies were 70 versus 55) and similarly expensive. As film aficionados, or at least fans of The Italian Job (1969), will recall after several years spent at Her Majesty's Pleasure 'Captain' Charlie Croker's wardrobe was decidedly pass┌, his Aston Martin DB4 Convertible on the other hand was still very much a la mode.

 

The copy build sheet on file for this particular example - chassis number DB4C/1092/R - reveals that the factory Service department fitted it with a new powerplant prior to delivery (engine number 370/1087 being supplanted by 370/1163). The replacement unit has remained part of the car ever since and is the one listed on its chassis / ID plate. Initially road registered as 'JM 115', the DB4 Convertible was supplied new via Aston Martin agent Brooklands to Sefton Myers Esq on 28th March 1963. A highly successful property developer and theatrical agent / manager who would later foster the careers of Sir Tim Rice and Baron Lloyd-Webber, Myers kept the drop-top for just under a year before selling it to fellow Walton-on-Thames resident G. Spreckley Esq (the latter re-registering his new possession as '376 PE'). Thereafter, chassis DB4C/1092/R passed through the hands of Howard Parsons Esq., Paradise Garage and Michael Moss Esq. before entering the current ownership on 14th April 1980.

 

The subject of a major engine overhaul by Doves of London at an indicated mileage of 53,378 in May 1974 which included a reground crankshaft, new main / big-end bearings, six replacement cylinder liners, crack tested con-rods, fresh timing chains and new clutch cover / plates etc, the Aston Martin was losing oil some six year later. Entrusted to renowned marque specialist Robin Hamilton Ltd of Burton-on-Trent, the engine's 'heavy breathing' was traced to incorrectly fitted piston rings but not until it had benefited from a cylinder head overhaul (new valve seats and inlet / exhaust valves etc). Whilst in Robin Hamilton's care, the decision was taken to treat the DB4 Convertible to an extensive restoration (August 1980 - April 1982). Stripped back to bare metal and shorn of its interior trim, drivetrain and transmission tunnel, chassis DB4C/1092/R received attention to its sills, jacking points, chassis box sections, door pillars / skins, wings, wheelarches and rear panel etc.

 

Resprayed in its original Fiesta Red hue and given a thorough Waxoyl treatment, the car also had its front suspension (king pins refurbished, new gaiters / thrust cups / front hub bearings), rear suspension (replacement shock absorbers, offside axle strap), steering (new UV joints / track rod ends), transmission (differential pinion oil seal renewed, clutch adjusted) and brake system (fresh rear discs, deglazed front discs, new handbrake cables) fettled. Further enhanced via the installation of a stainless steel exhaust, replacement crankshaft pulley / damper, oil cooler, new big-end shell and correct piston rings, it was then handed over to Chisholm (Trimming) Ltd of Wolverton, Milton Keynes. Again mimicking the specification recorded on its copy build sheet, the car was re-upholstered in black leather with a matching hood, tonneau cover and carpets; coincidentally the same paint / trim combination chosen by Aston Martin for the DB4 Convertible model brochure.

 

Returned to Robin Hamilton Ltd on 24th November 1982 for "a 1,000 mile service subsequent to major restoration", '376 PE' had its engine tuned, suspension greased, brakes checked and fuel system improved etc. Though, accompanying invoices suggest that the car had covered just 887 miles since its initial visit to the marque specialist's Burton-on-Trent workshops on 1st August 1980 (the corresponding mileage readings increasing from 61,209 miles to 62,096 miles). Sparingly exercised over the last twenty-eight years, the Aston Martin's odometer now shows an unwarranted 63,079 miles. The vendor informing us that chassis DB4C/1092/R has been "serviced regularly and only used in dry conditions" with "work being carried out as and when needed" including a reconditioned water pump, sundry brake fettling, new battery master switch and carburettor overhaul. Riding on chrome-plated wire wheels, this gorgeous 'matching numbers' Aston Martin DB4 Convertible is offered for sale with original buff logbook, copy instruction book, copy build sheet, various expired MOT certificates dating back to 1976, Robin Hamilton Ltd restoration invoices, assorted bills and current MOT certificate valid until March 2011.

 

The MJF Collection

 

The letters M, J and F equate to the initials of a charming Scottish gentleman and lots 50 - 54 are offered for sale from his private collection. MJF started his working life in the Clydeside shipyards at the age of just fourteen. Thereafter, a prodigious talent for football saw him embark on a career as a professional goalkeeper which culminated in two championship titles and a FA Cup win. Paid the princely sum of £6 per week to begin with, MJF's first motorcar was a Singer Nine Le Mans. While, time spent as a RAF driving instructor during National Service only cemented his love of motoring.

 

Farsighted enough to take various polytechnic courses as his football days were coming to an end, he founded a steel stockholding company upon 'retirement' which supplied metal to a good proportion of the British car industry during the 1960s and 1970s. Able to fund his passion for motor cars on a somewhat grander scale, MJF bought the 1977 Triumph Stag (lot 50) new and has since covered some 120,000 miles aboard it; proof that a well-maintained example can be reliable. The 1959 AC Ace Bristol was next to join the stable followed by the 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible and 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS.

 

The 1980 MG B LE Roadster was purchased new as a twenty-first birthday present for MJF's son but not road registered until the landmark date occurred in April 1989. Sadly, the son died last year and it is this bereavement which has prompted the collection's dispersal. During MJF's ownership the cars have been kept garaged and indeed have had the benefit of their own in-house curator. It may sound trite but we believe the quintet to have come from a good home. Though, the last word goes to MJF: "I will be sorry to part with them, of course, as they have given me such a lot of pleasure. But you can't keep them forever and I will be hanging on to one or two."