Rare 1959 Aston Martin DB4 Hidden for 40 Years Flaunts an Unexpected Feature

Some say the golden age of barn finds is behind us. That may be true when discussing super-rare Ferraris and Bugattis, but scarce and desirable classics are still being discovered. The million-dollar 1931 Duesenberg Model J that emerged in 2023 after some 60 years in hiding is one of many examples.
1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find 11 photos
Photo: The Late Brake Show/YouTube
1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find
Granted, most barn finds are usually mundane cars that were built in high numbers back in the day. But occasionally, someone stumbles upon a limited edition muscle car or sports car that could be worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. The 1959 Aston Martin DB4 you see here is one of those vehicles.

Documented by barn find enthusiast Jonny Smith of "The Late Brake Show," this DB4 has been sitting since 1982. That's a whopping 41 years as of 2023, which is unusual for a British classic that's very rare and sought after. How did a fine British automobile like this end up in storage for so long? Well, as it turns out, the second owner got tired of it after almost 20 years and chose to retire it in a garage.

The DB4 has a somewhat exotic background, too. The original owner was a spy, while the guy who bought it in the 1960s was a wealthy fellow who blew his one-million-pound inheritance on expensive automobiles. The third and current owner acquired the Aston Martin in poor condition in the 2000s and kept it in storage ever since.

Sadly, the four decades of sitting have taken a toll on the DB4, which is quite weathered on the outside. The car was also repainted before it was parked, with the previous owner opting to cover the original red coating in gold.

1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find
Photo: The Late Brake Show/YouTube
The interior, on the other hand, is in surprisingly good shape. Sure, the seat upholstery is worn out, the headliner is dirty, and the dashboard is a bit rough around the edges, but the cabin is still a relatively nice place to be overall. And it won't require a fortune to restore.

The grand tourer also appears to be rust-free at first glance, but only as long as you don't look at the rear bumper. The latter is very crusty and looks like it could crumble at the lightest touch. And that's very unusual for a steel element, even if it's over 60 years old. But there's a good explanation for why the rear bumper is so rusty.

According to our host, the previous owner used the Aston Martin to haul a boat trailer and dipped the car's rear end into water numerous times. He didn't bother cleaning it after unloading the boat, so the bumper deteriorated due to salt water. That's a shame, but at least DB4 bumpers aren't impossible to recreate.

The DB4 still sports its most unusual feature, the hitch attached to the rear end for trailering purposes. It's the weirdest thing I've seen on a classic Aston Martin in years. And I've never heard of anyone else using a luxury grand tourer to haul boats. To each his own, I guess.

1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find
Photo: The Late Brake Show/YouTube
Luckily, the car still has its original engine under the hood. Not surprisingly, the 3.7-liter straight-six was no longer running after more than four decades without a sip of gasoline. However, our host and the owner managed to fire it up with a bit of maintenance and new ignition parts. The mill is still far from running as it should, but it's amazing that it wasn't stuck.

And here's what makes this DB4 a rare gem. The grand tourer sports chassis number 124, which means it's the 24th DB made and a very early production model.

Aston Martin introduced the DB4 to replace the DB Mark III in 1958. Production lasted until 1963 and included the regular DB4, the GT, and the GT Zagato. While the latter was obviously designed by Zagato, the other DB4s were penned by Federico Formenti at Carrozzeria Touring.

Powered by a straight-six rated at 240 horsepower and 240 pound-feet (325 Nm) of torque, the DB4 was one of the quickest production cars of its era. It needed only 9.3 seconds to hit 60 mph (97 kph) from a standing start and reached a top speed of 139 mph (224 kph).

1959 Aston Martin DB4 barn find
Photo: The Late Brake Show/YouTube
The lightweight GT model came with 302 horses on tap. Aston Martin produced 1,204 DB4s, including 56 GT and 19 GT Zagato models. This leaves only 1,129 regular DB4s, including 70 convertibles. Although not quite as rare as the GT, the DB4 coupe is worth more than $200,000 nowadays.

There's no info on what will happen to this car, but a frame-off restoration is mandatory for such a fine British grand tourer. Hopefully, we'll see this early DB4 back on the road soon enough. Until then, watch it coming out of hibernation in the video below.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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