The gigantic sums of money that classics are commanding these days is just nothing short of amazing. At the recent Sotheby’s auction in New York, a 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato fetched $19.92 million. The price set a new record for a British car at auction, previously held by a McLaren F1.
When it was made in 1962, the DB4GT cost $11,600, twice as much as the average British house. It was originally built to take on Ferrari in the World Sports Car Championship, but the Aston Martin did not trounce the Ferraris.
The most expensive DB4GT Zagato.
Aston Martin sent the model to an Italian coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Zagato, from which it emerged with a new body shape, and with many of its steel panels replaced with aluminium, helping to save 50 kg from the car’s weight. An additional 12 bhp was found from the 3.7 liter engine, taking the total to 314 bhp. Weight was now 1225 kg, giving acceleration times of 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds, and a top speed of 246 km/h.
This car is number 14 of only 19 DB4GTs created by Zagato. The original plan had been to build 25, but demand was not as strong as expected.
The car was delivered to Australia, the only one of its kind sold there, where it competed in motorsport events. Its first owner, Laurie O’Neill from New South Wales, is reported to have also owned Ferrari and Porsche racing cars, as well as grand prix cars.
It was later sold to Colin Hyams, who displayed it at the 1965 Melbourne Motor Show, and then three years later to Alex Copland, who left it in storage for the following 20 years.
In 1993 it was brought to the UK and was acquired by G.K. Speirs of Aberdeen, and was restored, before competing at events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car was later purchased by Peter Read, who described it as like “a tailored suit. It’s agile, sophisticated, and equally responsive. It’s a truly beautiful car to drive.”
Under Mr Read’s ownership, the car underwent a complete restoration over two years, with specialists from Aston Martin and Zagato helping to bring it back to as-new condition.
It has since been shown at some of the world’s biggest car shows, winning a number of trophies, including overall victor at the Louis Vuitton Concours at the Hurlingham Club in 2002.
Prior to the sale, Rob Myers, chairman of RM Sotheby’s, said: “Never mind being the greatest Aston of all time, this is one of the greatest GT cars ever produced. It is an absolute jewel of a car.”
While this Aston Martin marks the most expensive British car ever sold at auction, it still falls short of the overall record holder, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that fetched 32 million in 2014.