mar­ket watch

THE DB4 GT ZA­GATO THAT WOULDN’T DIE IS LEAV­ING ITS OWN­ERS OF 47 YEARS AND HEAD­ING TO AUC­TION

VANTAGE - - Contents - WORDS CHRIS BIETZK PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BON­HAMS, JARROTTS

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

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