Driven by charismatic leadership and inspired by sporting elegance, Aston Martin has long been associated with top performance cars built for racing and road use. With fierce competition from larger companies fortified by greater resources, Aston Martin delivered on their promise of performance and elegance with a unique blend of style mixed with a dash of bravado. When entrepreneur David Brown took the helm, Aston immediately benefited from the purchase of Lagonda, particularly for the sophisticated 2.6-liter, twin-cam, inline six-cylinder engine designed by none other than W.O. Bentley.
As success surrounded Aston Martin, they smartly retained the services of the finest Italian coachbuilders to design and build both production and show cars. The resultant improvements in their cars were immediately evident through the seminal DB series cars, culminating in the stunning DB4; the first truly modern Aston Martin. Licensing the patented Touring Superleggera (Super Light Weight) construction, hand formed aluminum bodies were constructed at Touring and mounted over steel sub-structure. The stunning coachwork was not only brilliantly conceived, it was light, offered beautiful interior appointments, and landmark performance, delivered by the new Tadek Marek designed 3.7-Liter, twin overhead cam engine. Glowing reviews from contemporary motoring press would have been more than enough to secure the future of the DB4, but it would be Aston Martin’s good fortune, just a few years later,, when the DB5 was selected as the mount for fictional secret agent 007, James Bond, the dashing British spy in Goldfinger.
The “Q-prepped” silver DB5 would deliver not only hair-raising stunt driving sequences, this uncanny bond would forever cement the Aston Martin as the preferred exotic sports car of cold-war intrigue and international espionage.
In addition to the beautifully executed Touring bodied DB4, Aston Martin also commissioned a small series of Zagato bodied DB4 models prepared primarily for competition use. These Zagato bodied cars have not only become iconic in their own right, they remain today an extraordinary example of design comparison when viewing the vision of Touring and Zagato. Ercole Spada came to Zagato at the tender age of 23, just shortly after gaining a degree in industrial engineering. Having completed his military service, in 1960, he joined Zagato and immediately penned the DB4 GT. While Spada penned his version, the slightly senior and seasoned Federico Formenti of Touring was already working on revisions for the next Aston Martin. Of course, neither man could have possibly known that the era of coachbuilding was soon to come to a crashing halt as the ’60s came to a close. Both designers would go on to pen many more cars of significant importance, but at this moment in time, each penned one of the most significant cars of their careers, making their statement of sports car excellence, each without compromise.