THE DB4 GT ZAGATO THAT WOULDN’T DIE IS LEAVING ITS OWNERS OF 47 YEARS AND HEADING TO AUCTION
Ready the war chest: the most famous of all DB4 GT Zagatos comes to auction
we wouldn’t want to be accused of burying the lede, so here it is: after many years at aston works, Bonhams’ annual aston-only sale is moving for 2018 to englefield House near Reading. Hang on; wrong Bonhams story. we are, of course, very much looking forward to said auction, scheduled for June 2 to coincide with the Concours d’etat hosted by amoc. But we are considerably more excited by the news that the lots at Bonhams’ Festival of Speed sale on July 13 will include 2 VEV, arguably the most covetable aston racer in existence, inarguably the most storied, and expected to fetch in excess of $14.3 million – the price paid in 2015 for the last db4 Gt Zagato to be offered at auction.
unusually for a racing car of such extreme costliness, 2 VEV cannot claim a string of significant wins, or any, in fact. nor did it come through its track career unscathed; it was wrecked several times. But, goodness me, it has had a fascinating life – and, of course, it’s not bad looking, either…
that the car is not to be offered for sale at Goodwood as a crunched lump of metal is down to the current owners and aston works. It has been looked after since 1971 by the St John Hart family, but in the early years of their ownership it was still raced hard, and in 1993 a big crash left 2 VEV in need of a third rebuild. at works it was carefully put back together, resurrected in the correct specification.
It is that specification that makes 2 VEV a rarity even among db4 Gt Zagatos, of which a mere 19 were originally built. the car was supplied new to John ogier’s essex Racing Stable, which ran it with factory support alongside sister car 1 VEV. though not as quick as its Italian contemporaries, 2 VEV was captivating in full flow, straight-through exhaust pipes announcing the car to enthusiastic crowds at le Mans in 1961 and then at Goodwood, where it was driven in the tourist trophy by one Jim Clark, finishing fourth.
In 1962, aston borrowed the car from ogier and took it to Spa, where it was smashed to bits by lucien Bianchi. the factory was obliged to repair it, and did – after a fashion. By the time it was returned to ogier, 2 VEV had morphed into an experimental, lightweight dp209 car with an immediately identifiable lower roofline and longer overhangs.
Clark was back at the wheel for the ’62 tourist trophy and was famously involved in a pile-up with the Ferrari 250 Gto of John Surtees and a 250 SWB – a comingtogether serious enough to necessitate rebuild number two.
By the time rebuild number three was ordered, 2 VEV was recognised as being rather important, not to mention rather more valuable than it had been when acquired by the St John Hart clan for £3600. In recent years it has inevitably, then, lived a quiet life, though it remains ready for action should its next owner have racing ambitions. we’d hate for it to end up in the barriers at Goodwood again, but what a delight it would be to see it driven in anger once more.
Clockwise from left the db4 Gt Zagato known by its registration ‘2 VEV’ will be auctioned by Bonhams at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed; the car’s most famous outings – for better and worse – came at Goodwood: Jim Clark hustled the car to fourth in the tourist trophy of 1961, but at the same meeting the following year, Clark and 2 VEV had a race-ending encounter with the Ferrari 250 Gto of John Surtees