Senior Specialist, Head of Department, UK
The desire for competition success was the driving force behind Aston Martin co-founder Lionel Martin's arrival on the scene as a motor manufacturer in 1915; indeed, the 'Aston' part of the name refers to the eponymous hill climb in Buckinghamshire, scene of his earliest successes. For the first few years of its life the firm confined itself to building a handful of racing prototypes, only branching out into series production in the early 1920s. Even then, cars sold to the public were seen as little more than a means of financing the racing programme. Throughout many changes of ownership the company has never lost sight of its competition heritage, as evidenced by periodic forays into motor sport, the most famous being its successful assault on the World Sportscar Championship in 1959 and the historic Le Mans win that year. In addition to the works efforts, privateers the world over have campaigned Aston Martins with distinction, none more actively than the members of the Aston Martin Owners Club, whose Register of Members' Cars records this DB4's extensive race records in detail.
Possessing a competition record second to none, 'DB4/315/R' was first modified to lightweight specification by Richard Williams in the late 1970s and a few years later was specially prepared by him for racing with Lord Downe. Campaigned by Mike Salmon between 1982 and 1985 it was unrivalled, claiming 13 wins at Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and the other major British circuits. Shipped to the USA, it competed between 1986 and 1987 at Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen and Sebring with Peter Livanos behind the wheel. By the early 1990s 'DB4/315/R' was back in the UK and successfully resumed its competition career in this country.
Fully restored by Richard Williams in 1998 when it was acquired by the immediately preceding owner, the car was kept in de-humidified storage until re-commissioned by RSW for sale at Aston Martin Works Service in May 2004 (Lot 208) when it was acquired by the current owner. Apart from a short test run in 2004 to check that all was in proper working order, the car had not been used on either road or track between restoration in 1998 and its sale to the current owner in the USA.
At the time of restoration the special RSW, full race, 4.2-litre engine was rebuilt and dyno'd. Compression tested in 2004, all cylinders recorded a healthy 165psi reading. Other specification highlights include straight-cut gearbox pinions with dog engagement, competition clutch, lightweight alloy radiator and full roll cage, while the suspension and brakes have been modified within the AMOC Thoroughbred Class regulations. Stripped for racing and panelled in aluminium, the car currently weighs 1,026 kilograms (with 20 litres of fuel on board) - within a whisker of the AMOC Category C limit of 1,000 kilos.
While in the USA it has been raced with success by the current owner and Peter Giddings in 2005/2006 at Sears Point CSRG races, garnering two 2nd place finishes and one 3rd. Servicing has been carried out by Shawn Thomas since the Aston has been in the US. Described by the vendor as in good condition throughout, 'DB/315/R' is offered with customs documents and State of California Certificate of Title.
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