The owners: Paul and Jennifer Martin
‘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!’