Automobiles of Arizona

21-22 January 2010

Thursday - The British Are Coming!

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Lot 134

1961 Aston Martin DB4 "GT Zagato" Replica Vintage Racing Car

Sold for $192,500

Est. 380 bhp, 4.2 liter alloy Aston Martin six-cylinder full racing engine on triple 55 mm Weber carburetion, four-speed DB gearbox with internal modifications, independent front suspension with coil-overs and adjustable anti-sway bar, solid rear axle on four trailing arms, Watts linkage and coil-over shocks, Borrani 7.5/9 X 15" alloy rimmed wire wheels. Normal safety items include six-point roll-over bar, six-point belts, automatic fire system with three nozzles, electric cut-off switches, racing bucket seats, transmission and rear end forced air cooling, ATL 22 gallon fuel cell. Wheelbase: 93" (DB4 GT)


In the UK, replicas by both factories and individuals are a time honored tradition, especially on famous chassis like Bentley, Lagonda, Frazer-Nash and Jaguar. Even Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. got into the act in the early 1990s with their four DB4 GT Zagato “Continuation Cars” which were built with saloon donor car parts on four unused GT chassis numbers.

A correctly done replica, based on a proper donor chassis and constructed as per the original, is a practical way to save a factory identity which could otherwise have been lost forever.

Very few of the really great Grand Touring cars are nowadays seen at Historic Racing events. Have Ferrari GTOs and Aston Zagatos discarded their automobile status in favor of dehumidified sealed storage in investment portfolios? Probably. In order to counteract this lack, most historic race organizers and the FIA now admit “Rebodies” – essentially period-correct chassis and mechanicals, sporting personality make-overs in the form of smart new replica coachwork, in the original material.

This Aston “Zagato,” originally commissioned by AMOC member Joseph Hish in 1994 is just such a specimen.


After a long interest in the marque, Joe bought DB4 GT/0143/L in 1993. A few drives later he was hooked on Aston motoring and innocently began to inquire about GT Zagatos. Such rarities were not beyond Mr. Hish’s means, but a seven-digit hobby car offended his sensible side. (Of fourth generation American-German farming stock, his Company builds bridges and other large steel things.) “I just got interested in Astons a bit late,” related the affable Hish, who still owns the AC Cobra that he bought new in 1965!

The retina-etching beauty of an Aston Martin Zagato GT wouldn’t fade, however, so he did the next best thing. He commissioned a perfect replica of “2 VEV,” the famous lightweight DB4 GT racing Zagato. As is typical with such projects, a “donor car” – in this case the remains of DB4/384/R – was acquired. The chassis was shortened five inches to the correct 93-inch wheelbase, and a new Zagato body, from the original “2 VEV” body buck no less, was hand formed in alloy by Shapecraft, an English panel company that carries out body work for the Aston Martin Factory. The steering, suspension and braking systems were rebuilt and installed by the Derby, England based firm of Aston Engineering.

After this, the car was shipped across the pond as a roller, to Jon Clerk’s PTR Inc. Florida shop, where all the mechanicals, including a “full-house” Aston DB4 engine was built and fitted. Instead of the usual Aston Racing color, variously called Almond or Sage Green, Joe opted for a natural polished alloy finish. “Besides getting gorgeous looks, it saves about 75 pounds of paint materials, you know,” he enthused!

384/R’s debut at the 1995 Chicago Historic Races saw Concours wins in the English Car Class and “Peoples’ Choice” as well as fastest race lap in the hands of old pro Brian Redman, competing against a field full of AC Cobras and Ferraris.

Yours truly was privileged to try the beautiful beast next at both VSCDA/Elkhart Lake and SVRA/Summit Point. Two more easy first places resulted. What’s it like out there? Well, at 2,300 pounds and close to 400 bhp, it makes my ordinary standard-weight DB4 racing saloon seem…well, ordinary.

(The majority of the “2 VEV”s description is excerpted from then AMOC Vice-Chairman Jack Boxstrom’s AMOC Quarterly mid-‘90’s magazine article.)


After many approaches by various parties, Joseph Hish sold his Aston Martin to the current owner in the late 1990s. A major auto dealer and retail store owner, he is also a vintage racing car enthusiast with a substantial collection. Accordingly the Aston DB4 “GT Zagato” has been selectively shown and raced for the past few years at Daytona, Sebring, Road Atlanta and other major historic venues. On these occasions, this spectacular polished alloy Aston Martin is invariably the most admired and most photographed entrant!

While dozens of replica Ferrari 250 GTO and 250 GTBs exist, this is likely the only version of Aston Martin’s fabled aerodynamic Zagato GT “2 VEV” to have been replicated.

This lot will be sold on a Race Car Bill of Sale.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more