Chassis number '0201L' from 1960 is the last Aston Martin DB4GT completed in period, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro at Carrozzeria Bertone. They call it the "Jet Coupé", and Bonhams estimates its value at around $5.8 million.
The DB4 was an impressive car. Launched at the London Motor Show in 1958, it featured a new steel platform chassis with disc brakes all round, and a race-developed twin-cam six-cylinder 3.7-litre engine, all clothed in an aluminum body by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan.
Aston Martin realized the potential, and was quick to develop the top of the line lightweight version, the DB4GT. They took 5 inches out of the wheelbase and replaced the rear seats with a luggage platform on almost all cars. With the lighter, 18-gauge bodywork and the faired-in headlamps with Perspex covers, the car's weight got reduced by around 200 lb. The engine got more power too. With a twin-plug cylinder head and triple Weber 45DCOE carburetors, the 1959 car produced a claimed 302bhp at 6,000rpm instead of the original's 240.
While the Perspex windows, the deleted bumper over-riders, quick-release competition fuel fillers and the added large-capacity fuel tank mounted flat in the boot were all about racing, the GTs interior was trimmed to full Aston Martin road car specification, with Connolly leather upholstery and deep-pile Wilton carpeting, and the addition of an oil temperature gauge to the standard set of dials. So, it's fair to say the DB4GT was pretty damn good as it was. But then came Giugiaro, only to present this at the 1961 Geneva Motor Show:
Great Škodas, female legs and a casually smoking man are all in this picture, but it's still hard not to focus on Bertone's light green, steel-bodied Jet Coupé. Today at least, since at the show, everybody was busy with another British car, the Jaguar E-Type.
After Geneva, the Jet spent some time in Beirut before relocating to the USA, remaining there for several years before being rediscovered by the Aston Martin Chairman, Victor Gauntlett, in the 1980s. According to Kingsley Riding-Felce, currently Managing Director Aston Martin Works, by that time, it didn't look that good:
The car was in a pretty sad state. It had suffered an engine fire... The bonnet was badly burnt and rust had taken hold in the steel bodywork.
Hans-Peter Weidmann bought it from Gauntlett. Fast forward to today, and this (probably production-intended) one-off is past a full restoration and many thousands of road miles. But getting there wasn't an easy task. Weidmann puts it this way:
It was a big job because we had to make new door skins and fabricate replacement bumpers out of brass. It was quite a challenge configuring them to the body and getting the clearances right, but we wanted to keep it as original as possible. The instruments had to be redone and searching out missing switchgear in Italy proved quite a task. The Jet was very well made and clearly built to be driven. The styling isn't very Aston Martin but we never tired of looking at it.
The car has won many awards since it was finished in 1988, with Weidmann driving it regularly. Bonhams will put it on auction this year, and Aston Martin is expecting the new owner to take part in this year's centenary events as well.
Fingers crossed, as the Jet is something kids should see on the road: