DB4 GT & Zagato
Higher performance variants of the DB4 engine were considered from an early stage of the engine’s development and this enabled the launch of the DB4 GT in 1960, within a year of the DB4 launch itself. A change in the rules for the 1960 Le Mans races led to the realisation that the continued use of the DBR1 and 2, which had won the Le Mans in the previous year and because of Mr David Brown decision to stop further major funding to sports car racing led to the realisation that the only way to provide privateers with competitive cars was to create a DB4 lightweight variant. Thus the concept of the DB4 GT was born, and with it 2 cars for the 1960 Le Mans race. The DB4 GT was announced and exhibited at the 1959 British Motor show. It had a reduced wheelbase, 2 seat accommodation, 35 gallon fuel tank and with thinner gauge panelling. The engine was further developed through improved engine breathing, a higher compression ratio, modified camshafts and a twin spark cylinder head design.
Carburation was improved with the use of triple twin choke DCOE 45 side draught carburettors, with increased compression to 9.7 to 1 The wilder camshafts gave a higher degree of valve overlap. Power went up to 314 bhp with increased torque of 287 lbs.ft. The 2 works cars were further developed, each with a significantly lightened chassis and with DCOE 50 sized carburettors; an additional 15 to 20 bhp was achieved. The DB4 GT was, while not possessing the performance or reliability to challenge the then Ferrari domination at Le Mans, highly successful for many major GT car races of the period, both in the UK and abroad.
In 1960, a further attempt was made to develop a lighter weight car that would be truly competitive and this led to the commissioning of the Italian styling house, Zagato, being requested to produce a light weight body for the DB4 GT chassis. The DB4 GT Zagato was exhibited at the 1960 Motor Show and was then offered as an option. 2 cars were further lightened and sold to the Ecurie Ecosse racing equipe and these, with works support were entered into the 1961 Le Mans race with indifferent results with both cars being retired. 19 cars were actually made during the period 1961 to 1963.