1966 Aston Martin DB4GT - a sellers’ dream this time?
Film star returns to auction stage five years after a no-sale with better guide price
In any game of classic car one-upmanship, a film-star Aston Martin that was also owned by a film star is a trump card. Such has been the life of this Aston Martin DB4GT, 41 DPX, immortalized by its starring role in the 1963 British crime caper The Wrong Arm of the Law. It was also owned by one of the film’s other stars, the petrolhead Peter Sellers, though as with most of his cars he didn’t keep it for very long. The Aston Martin was damaged during filming, an irreparably broken engine block and subsequent small fire pointing to perhaps too many revs during the film’s memorable car chase sequence around Uxbridge. However, the car was quickly repaired, early in 1963, using a new Aston Martin-supplied 4.0-litre engine block intended for a Lagonda Rapide to replace the Aston’s 3.7-litre unit. The rest of the original engine was retained and fitted to this. So although there’s no record of its output being tested, it may produce even more power than Aston’s period-quoted 302bhp for the factory 3.7-litre engine. Or at least more usable low-down torque.
It was rare enough as one of just 75 DB4GTs built on fiveinch- shortened DB4 chassis – but 41 DPX has another ace up its sleeve, in being one of just three examples factory-fitted with occasional rear seats. The rest made do with a carpeted shelf. By 1966 the DB4GT was in the hands of Aston enthusiast J Melville Smith, who competed with the car in Aston Martin Owners Club sprint meetings, winning one at Curborough the following year. After that the Aston passed through many hands, even spending the best part of a decade in New Zealand where extensive work was carried out. It returned to the UK in 1990 and nine years later was bought by its saviour, Kevin Regan. He commissioned specialists to enact a body-off restoration that consumed four years and over £100,000. The car has been sparingly used and well cared-for since and remains in excellentcondition – even the underside and interior still appear almost resto-fresh. It has appeared at several events during this time and was our cover star on the June 2012 issue, but seems not to have been over-exposed, so should be welcomed at many hot ticket events if the next owner so chooses.
The car was last offered for auction by RM Sotheby’s at its September 2018 sale in London. It failed to sell, perhaps as expectations were too high. The £3m-£3.4m suggested was on the optimistic side, even with the car’s history, being around £1m above what one without the Sellers connection was worth at the time. Values of DB4GTs have fallen a little since 2018, and we’re pleased to see that Bonhams and the seller have set more realistic expectations this time with an estimate of £2.2m-£2.6m. The lower end of that is actually within expectations for the best examples. The car might well find a new home this time.
For more information see bonhams.com
This ex-Peter Sellers DB4GT has many factors to tempt collectors, and with a lower estimate is much more likely to find a new home on this crossing of the rostrum