Market Finds: The 'Missing Lightweight' Aston Martin DB4GT Competition Lightweight Is Coming Up For Sale For The First Time In 55 Years

The ‘Missing Lightweight’ Aston Martin DB4GT Competition Lightweight Is Coming Up For Sale For The First Time In 55 Years

News Desk By News Desk
November 21, 2019
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A car is that both elusive and revered is heading to auction next month. It’s a 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT ‘Lightweight’ 4.2-liter Sports Saloon, one of only nine examples completed to the popular car’s special Lightweight road and competition specification. This one is considered the ‘Missing Lightweight’ and it also was owned by renowned hillclimb competitor Phil Scragg, who had plenty of success in it. It’s going under the hammer on December 7 at Bonhams’ Bond Street Sale in London and is estimated to go for £2,000,000 to £3,000,000. It’s offered without reserve.

This DB4GT has had only three owners and been in the same ownership since 1965. It’s one of only 45 right-hand-drive DB4GTs and indeed one of only 75 DB4GTs of any specification that Aston Martin built, meaning it’s regarded as one of the ‘Holy Grail’ Aston Martins.

The DB4, launched in 1958, was considered the ultimate Gran Turismo of its day, demonstrating that British manufacturers could beat the Italians at their own Gran Turismo game; marrying state-of-the-art British engineering with Italian flair in the form of its Carrozzeria Touring aluminum body. The DB4 is an enthusiasts’ favorite—previous Astons were short of power while the DB5 and DB6 that followed had additional weight meaning, in the words of Mike Twite in Motors, they “were more like fast tourers than high-speed thoroughbreds”. The DB4 by contrast “was the most thorough all-round Grand Touring car of the lot”.

And the 200lbs-lighter racing GT version built for competition and road use was, among DB4s, the crème de la crème. The handful of special ‘Lightweight’ versions were built outside the main production line at Newport Pagnell. They were modified with a shorter wheelbase, a luggage platform instead of rear seats, lighter 18-gauge bodywork and lightweight Borrani wire wheels. Even greater lightness came with extensive use of aluminum and Perspex. While its twin spark engine was tuned to produce over 300bhp, meaning a top speed of 153mph, 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds and it was also the first car to go from a standstill to 100mph and stop in under 20 seconds.

The competition Lightweight was sanctioned in 1960 by Aston Martin’s acclaimed team manager John Wyer, and was driven with success by many famous racing names including Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Innes Ireland and Roy Salvadori.

This DB4GT heading to auction, chassis 0169/R, was registered on January 17 1961 by HWM, who sold it to Ernest Scragg & Sons Ltd under a month later. It was then raced by Phil Scragg, a circuit racing star of the 1950s and who then found even more fame as a hillclimber in the sixties. The Aston Martin Owners’ Club register lists three second-place results for Scragg in this car, at Loton Park, the BARC Sprint at Aintree and BOC’s Prescott meeting.

The late Malcolm Cramp was the next owner, from April 1965, and it’s from his estate that the car is offered. Cramp had a five-speed gearbox fitted in 1974 plus there was an engine rebuild in 2007, including conversion to its current 4.2 liters. However it is noted that the car is extraordinarily well-preserved, with no major repairs or restorations and it’s reckoned to require only light recommissioning to be used as it is.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

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