This gorgeous thing is the first in the run of Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato ‘continuation’ cars to have been completed and it is the most expensive new car ever built by Aston.
As a fine a grand touring car as the original Aston Martin DB4 was, it was on the large side for racing. Aston solved that by chopping several inches from the wheelbase, fitting lighter bodywork and adding a more powerful engine. And so the DB4 GT was created.
But even that still wasn’t fast enough, so Aston turned to Italian styling house, coachbuilder and aerodynamics pioneer Zagato for help. The Milanese outfit penned a sleek and beautiful body for the DB4 GT. Yet more power was extracted from the engine as well, all of which helped up top speed by a few precious miles-per-hour. And a useful chunk of weight was lost, improving handling and braking.
The DB4 GTZ’s frontline competition was short and not exactly stellar. When it first hit the tracks in 1960, it was up against the all-conquering Ferrari 250GT SWB. And just a year or two later, it found itself battling against the brilliant Jaguar E-Type and Ferrari 250 GTO. Entries in the crucial 24 Hours of Le Mans in ’61 and ’62 ended in retirement.
But legends are based on more than racing results, and the DB4 GTZ has become one of the great icons in Aston Martin history. Only 19 were built so they have always been massively sought after. It the late Eighties, a small number of factory-blessed ‘Sanction II’ cars were built and now Aston itself is matching the original production run with its continuation cars.
The DB4 GTZ continuation may be built to exact same specs as the original, but it is constructed using modern methods to ensure repeatability and quality. Yet traditional skills are still being used. So, while the thin-gauge aluminium body panels are beaten into shape using English wheels and hammers, they are checked for accuracy on a digital body buck.
The engine, too, has been thoroughly updated. It starts out as the same, Tadek Marek-designed straight-six as fitted to the DB4, but it’s stretched out to 4.7-litres and produces “in excess of” 390bhp – around 80bhp more than the original DB4 GTZ.
The power is sent to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential. The only traction control is the driver’s right foot.
Aston hasn’t given any performance figures for the continuation car. The original could crack 60mph in just 6.1secs and run on to 154mph. Given how much more powerful the continuation is – and it only weighs 1,200kg or so – we reckon on a 0-60mph time in the low fives and a top speed on the far side of 160mph.
The car you see here will be on display at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a few weeks time as part of the commemorations for the 60th anniversary of Aston’s only outright win in the great race. It’s finished in Rosso Maja, the same colour as the very first DB4 GTZ to roll out of the Newport Pagnell factory 59 years ago.
Which brings us back to the not-so-small matter of price. It’s a slightly unusual situation, as the DB4 GTZ continuation is only available as one half of the DBZ Century Collection, which also includes the as-yet-unseen DBS GT Zagato. The price for the two-car collection is a whopping £6 million.
It’s worth noting at this point that DB4 GTZ continuation isn’t actually road legal – unlike the original cars. But it is fitted with a full FIA rollcage and it’s possible that some historic racing organisors will accept it.
It might seem like a ludicrous idea to race a car costs so much. But originals can be worth more than £10 million and many are still actively campaigned…
By Graham King