The own­ers: Paul and Jen­nifer Martin

Classic Cars (UK) - - 60th Anniversary Special -

‘I’d wanted an As­ton DB4 ever since they were launched in 1958, but couldn’t af­ford one,’ says this car’s owner, for­mer Mer­chant Navy en­gi­neer Paul Martin. ‘There was a step-change in the pric­ing be­tween the DB MKIII and the DB4, from less than £3000 – still ex­pen­sive – to more than £4000, which was a huge amount of money in the Six­ties. But thank­fully, they de­pre­ci­ated quite heav­ily back then.

‘It was 1971. I al­ready owned a vin­tage As­ton MKII – which I’ve still got – and I saw an ad­vert for a se­cond­hand DB MKIII for sale in Lon­don for £2000. I drove all the way down there from Hull to have a look, but hav­ing test-driven it, it wasn’t quite what I was ex­pect­ing. I was dis­ap­pointed, and set off home back up the M1. But just out­side Lon­don I passed Mo­tor­way Sports Cars, which had this DB4 on its fore­court for the same amount of money. I stopped, took it for a drive, and bought it there and then.

‘I’ve had it 46 years now and drive it in all weathers for all sorts of oc­ca­sions, from club events to wed­dings. I’m not your typ­i­cal As­ton owner – well, not nowa­days at any rate – in that I do most of the work on it my­self. There’s a lot of mys­tique sur­round­ing how ex­pen­sive they are to run and I cer­tainly couldn’t meet most spe­cial­ists’ prices, let alone af­ford to buy the car now; I can barely be­lieve how valu­able they are nowa­days. It’s a fun­da­men­tally straight­for­ward, solidly-built car with off-the-shelf parts such as a Sal­is­bury dif­fer­en­tial, so it’s not dif­fi­cult to work on if you know what you’re do­ing.

‘Given parts prices, it of­ten makes more sense to re­pair than re­place. For ex­am­ple, I once spent a while straight­en­ing the grille out after en­coun­ter­ing a sui­ci­dal pheas­ant. It meant a few days in the garage with the grille in bits on the work­bench, but given that a new one costs £1000, it was time well spent!’

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