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Racing royalty: ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight comes to market for the first time in two decades

by Nik Berg
6 April 2023 3 min read
Racing royalty: ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight comes to market for the first time in two decades
Photos: RM Sotheby's

It’s often said that you don’t so much buy the world’s most coveted cars as take on custodianship. It is seen as the owner’s responsibility to cherish and protect the rarest of the rare, and share it with the outside world, until the time comes that it can be entrusted to the next petrol-fuelled guardian angel.

Few cars come with as much weight of responsibility as this, 1960, Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight. It is only one of six right-hand drive examples made, from a total of 75 built, and from the moment the Touring-bodied model was built it was put to work for a living, racing its way around Britain’s circuits with Stirling Moss and Jack Sears demonstrating what a dominating package the 3.7-litre straight-six machine was.

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Moss and Sears took multiple wins at the wheel of chassis number DB4GT/0124/R, much to the delight of race team owner, Tommy Sopwith. Built on a lightweight chassis with a shorter wheelbase than the standard DB4, 0124/R was ordered through Aston Martin dealer Brooklands of Bond Street and delivered on 16 April 1960 to Sopwith’s team, Equipe Endeavour. Sopwith was the only son of wealthy industrialist Thomas Sopwith, who had come tantalisingly close to winning the America’s Cup in 1934 with his J-class yacht, Endeavour. Sopwith’s team racing had the car finished in Jaguar Indigo Blue with white detailing, matching the colours of the Endeavour yacht.

Stirling Moss wins the 1960 Fordwater Trophy race in the Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Stirling Moss wins the 1960 Fordwater Trophy race in the Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight. Photo: Aston Martin

On Easter Monday in 1960, the DB4 GT Lightweight made its competitive debut in the Fordwater Trophy at Goodwood, and with Moss doing the honours it chalked up its first victory. Two weeks later Jack Sears won the Aintree 200, then followed up with wins at Oulton Park, Snetterton and Brands Hatch.

Subsequent owners include racers Ron Fry, Ted Jones, David Ham and Pink Floyd’s manager Steve O’Rourke, who all campaigned the Aston in historic motor sport.

The current owner bought the car from O’Rourke, in 2005 and it has been in regular action at the Goodwood Revival and Silverstone Classic, with a little help behind the wheel from Richard Attwood, the former grand prix and sports car racing driver who won the 1970 Le Mans 24 hour race..

“Its fascinating association with one of the most illustrious of all privateer racing teams, race-winning pedigree – courtesy of “Moss the Maestro” and Jack Sears – and unimpeachable, entirely UK-domiciled provenance undoubtedly renders 0124/R one of the most significant Aston Martins to be offered for sale in recent times,” says RM Sotheby’s.

The car is being offered as a private sale and there’s no price listed. In 2021 a similar race car sold for $2.5 million despite being in bits, but with this DB4 GT’s illustrious history, we’d expect the next buyer’s pockets to be significantly deeper than that.

As you can see from the chart above, average values of the DB4 GT (in condition number 2, "excellent" condition) have almost tripled over the past decade, appreciating from a little over £1 million in January, 2013 to more than £3m today.

John Mayhead, Editor of the Hagerty Price Guide, expects the sale of the Moss and Sears raced car to reach new heights: "The DB4 GT has almost tripled in value in the eleven years in which the UK Hagerty Price Guide has been tracking it, with current values range from £1.8m to £3m. Other than an outlier back in 2017, a prototype that RM Sotheby’s sold at their Monterey auction for $6.76m, around £5.4m, that’s roughly been where most recent sales of the model have been.

"That said, this car isn’t a ‘standard’ DB4 GT (even if there is such a thing). This has battle scars from wins at Goodwood, Oulton, Aintree and Brands Hatch driven by Stirling Moss, Jack Sears and more. It has recent racing pedigree with the right drivers. The provenance makes it very special indeed."

Will it set a new record? And arguably, more importantly, will we get to enjoy seeing it compete on circuits and at hill climbs once again? We hope so, and will report back as we hear more about the private sale.

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Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
Ex-Stirling Moss Aston Martin DB4 GT Lightweight
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