1961 Aston Martin DB4 Barn Find

1961 Aston Martin DB4

There are few cars I dream of owning more than an Aston Martin DB4, so naturally when I saw this barn find that Gulling Motor Cars recently discovered, I knew it had to be featured. It is not listed on their site, but we just received an email with the photos. The asking price is sky high, but it is the kind of barn find that many of us dream of. It is a super rare, ultra valuable and highly desirable sports car that was stashed in an actual barn and forgotten for decades. Aston Martin values keep climbing and unless Gullwing were to move the decimal point a few spots, I guess I will just have to keep dreaming and hoping that I will stumble across one in an old barn myself.

DB4 Barn Find

The barn hasn’t been friendly to this Aston, it is covered in dirt and grime. It also has plenty of dents and scratches from barn life. For unexplainable reasons, this makes it more interesting to look at. It’s like a train wreck that you want to look away from, but just can’t take your eyes off of. I’m not sure if David Brown would be proud of this sight or enraged that one of his beauties had been left in such conditions. From the little information that Gullwing provided, this was imported from the UK in the ’70s by the previous owner. The 85 year old gentleman claims to have only driven it for a few years and then parked in the barn. Who in their right mind could park something as beautiful as a DB4 and never drive it again? Perhaps there were mechanical issues that lead to its exile to the barn or perhaps the owner simply grew tired of it?

Aston Martin Barn Find

If you have $325k to spend on a car though, it’s doubtful that condition is much of a concern though. Obviously it will take someone with deep pockets to bring this one back to life, but given the desirability there is doubt that there are a few collectors out there who would love to get their hands on it. Whether I will ever get the chance to drive a DB4, I don’t know, but for the time being I will keep dreaming of the day when I can open that aluminum clad door and take a seat behind the wood rimmed steering wheel. Does anyone here share my dream or is there a different car that you lust after?

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Comments

  1. Horse Radish

    I share your desire for this car be it even just to drive it for a day.
    Great find, but not from Gullwing Motors.
    I am sure the poor elderly Gentleman owner or his family just got tired of life and called them up,for whatever ‘convenient’ reasons, may it be location or ease of transaction.
    I am fairly sure they paid half of his asking price or less…..
    just makes me sick,……. high roller flipper

  2. Dude234

    Since when did “Barn Find” become a desireable condition? Any “Barn Find” I looked at had animal issues besides the run – of – the – mill rust……….whatever problems.

  3. Jim-Bob

    I have no idea if this is a good deal or a bad one, but I guess the price of pretending to be Sean Connery’s Bond has gotten quite high in recent years if this is any indication. As to the owner, I have to wonder if he had come into some money years ago and just bought a flashy car to show off. When the fun of that wore off and the price of maintenance and repairs got too high he just stuffed it in a barn like an unused pickup truck. After all, not everyone who buys an important or prestige car is a car person. Fortunately though, the car was not left in a field and will live again in the collection of someone who will appreciate it for what it is (either a cool old car with history or an appreciating asset-take your pick). Sadly though, only the farmer will have ever enjoyed it as an actual regular car to be driven for the mundane tasks of life as it will never be just a car ever again.

  4. William Armstrong

    Josh you have no idea how much I share your desire for these cars, as said before, ever had since I saw Sean Connery drive the DB5 in Goldfinger when I was a kid in 63, 64 I was in love with that car. I’ve been car crazy all my life, mostly Chevy’s, but the Aston Martin has always had a soft spot with me and it’s the only non American car I like.

  5. paul

    Someone give me a gun, first I’d like to shoot whom ever painted this that color & then the guy who tossed into the barn & left it for the rats.

    • Mark E

      Yeah, It’s a shame Gullwing got it…oh, wait, you mean the RODENTS!! ^_^

    • paul

      Oh come on guys your gonna get me bleeped

  6. Mark Wemple

    To me, the odd part in all of this is that the e- type jag is a better car in every way. Looks better, more reliable, easier to get parts and way cheaper. Like the early Ferraris, early AMS are priced way above any real value they have. They may be art, in a way, but I’d never, remotely pay more for one than for, say a Picasso. Heck, I’m a p-car nut but the early 36 and race cars are in the stupid, or is it idiotic, range now too. Having owned some of these, don’t dream, buy a jag or a bug eye sprite or something affordable and maybe cooler.

    • Jim-Bob

      Yes, but the current prices have little to do with the intrinsic value of the cars. A lot of the reason the prices have gotten so obscene is that art, cars and real estate are good places to park wealth outside of the financial system. Most people have not been paying attention, but in the last year supranational entities like the IMF and World Bank have been calling for bail-ins of banks and one time wealth taxes. The bail ins mean that if a bank is failing, a certain percentage of unsecured creditor’s funds (bank depositors) can be confiscated by the bank to bring it back into solvency. The wealth tax is basically the same thing but on a national level. The IMF is proposing that countries confiscate 10% of total bank deposits over night one day to bring debt levels back to a sustainable level. So, you would just wake up the next morning to find that your bank account is suddenly 10% lighter and there is not a damn thing you could do about it. This could extend to all assets held within the electronic financial system, so the smart money is now moving a portion of it’s assets into tangibles. They know this is inevitable because the math says it is, so they are trying to minimize their exposure to these risks. If governments were to become suddenly responsible and live within their means then I suspect the pressure on these markets would subside.

      • Graham Lloyd

        Jim-Bob, you sound like a doomsday prophet but you are probably right about this plan. Ten percent of the savings of the rich won’t hurt them, but for you and I, that 10% represents a lot of work, sweat and scrimping. Let’s face it, retirement for a lot of us is a pipe dream.

        No surprise that Bank profits won’t be attacked in this manner. Each or the 5 major banks in Canada have continually posted record quarterly profits in the billions. (that’s “b” illions) And they continue to raise fees because they claim rising costs necessitate it.

        I enjoyed your joke at the end of your comment. “Responsible government”

      • Jim-Bob

        The sad thing is that what I am referring to is easily confirmed with a simple Google search because it is a matter of public record. The bigger question is whether it will actually happen or if it is just a matter of a few brainstorming sessions by these organizations that will never see the light of day. I tend to think it won’t happen in the current environment but that it might when the next crisis hits. As far as being a doomer, well… I just consider myself someone who examines the raw facts and numbers and thinks for himself. I successfully predicted the real estate bubble collapse a few years before it happened by just using common sense. Now, I don’t work in the financial field (I’m a pizza delivery driver) but I don’t think you need to do something like this for a living to be able to figure most of it out.

      • Don Andreina

        Cash is king. Bitcoin the joker.

  7. Brian

    I wanted to daydream about this car, but there was a toll booth at the begining of the dream and I had no change!!

  8. LuxMan

    For those that are interested (and assuming that panels etc on this car are original ) then this is a DB 4 series 3

    @ Paul, your right about the colour, travesty. Although about the farmer well not so sure I would criticise perhaps this was his only “semi-decent” indoor storage in which case well done to him.

    @ Jim-Bob . . . . By the way some of us use such cars to drive to work (okay maybe not everyday) . . . so it may yet get used the way it was originally intended, although I agree it is remote.

  9. jim s

    if i had 325k to spend on anything… 1 car for 325k or 100 old cars @ $3250 each.. which would make a person more happy.

  10. Von

    Wish I had my 54 100-4 Austin Healey back.

  11. That Guy

    We can look back on the owner’s choices with 20-20 hindsight and say, “What was he thinking? How could anyone treat this wonderful machine so shabbily?” But the reality is that most people who buy cars like this new, or when they are just used cars at the bottom of their depreciation cycle, aren’t gearheads. It’s a fancy new toy, or a fancy cheap used toy, and fairly soon another toy will come along to replace it. Most likely, that was the case here. Something broke and the owner found a new toy instead of repairing the old one; or he just simply got bored with it. At least he didn’t cover it with a tarp and leave it to rot under a tree. I know of a Ferrari 308GTB which lived in a redwood grove under plastic after the owner just got tired of it; that was almost 20 years ago and I’ll bet the crusty remains of the car are still there today.

  12. Bryan Cohn

    I think its completely different than what you guys think. These cars were quite expensive but a good doctor or lawyer could afford one as well as others, like a good farmer for example.

    However, if you are buying cause its the latest thing to have, and you have all the money you’ll need plus more (as a doctor or lawyer could have back then), it got parked when it went out of fashion, just like his wife bought new shoes or purses. It got parked for a bit while he played with his new toy and a few months later when he did try to fire it off it would crank or start, or something like that. Into the barn it went, out of sight and mind. It was nothing more than a trendy appliance.

    This is all conjecture of course, but why not? Look at all the cars abandon in Saudi Arabia and other places. Are those, to some extent not a trend item of no real value?

    • Dolphin Member

      I think there’s a chance that you might be right about this DB4, but I think you’re exactly right about those decaying car collections in the Middle East, some of which are going downhill fast because the cars are baking in the heat under poor storage conditions.

    • Jim-Bob

      The thing about the abandoned cars in places like the Emirates is that they exist that way because of Islamic law. For example, in Dubai, if you lose your job and owe debt to anyone and can’t immediately make good on it they throw you in a debtor’s prison. So, wealthy foreigners who lose their jobs many times make a speedy exit from the country abandoning all they own in the country to avoid prison time.

      Sharia law also prohibits loans charging interest. The work around in what is called Islamic banking is that the bank buys the property and then sells it back to you for a higher price than they paid over a period of time and payments. The margin between the two prices is equivalent to interest in the Western banking system but it is not seen as such and is therefore Sharia compliant. There is no incentive to paying off the debt early either as there is no compound interest, only an agreed upon price and number of payments to pay off the balance.

  13. rancho bella

    If they hadn’t been driven by Bond, would they still be so popular? I wonder.
    Living in SoCal I see them a Brit car shows……….nice…….but…….I can think of others I would rather have.

    • Don Andreina

      If the hadn’t been driven by Bond, they’d be halfway between an Alvis and an Intercepter. Better looking, but.

  14. Mark E

    Well, back in the ’70s these were affordable exotic cars. Just like MB 300 gullwings and BMW 507s. If you had the space, when these needed work you’d just put them away till you got around to fixing them. Just wish I was 10-15 years older and could have picked up my dream cars back then when they were affordable…

  15. Nova

    I have to agree, interesting piece! BUT…The car is too clean, The whole car, drivers front tire and wheel, no dirt or years of accumulated dust/grime or evidence of such other than what looks like sprinkled saw dust.

    I call B.S. on the term “Bar Find” for this one.

    IMO

    Nova

    • John

      Having wandered through many barns and junkyards in search of MG Midget wire wheels, I’m always drawn to the wheels on cars like this one. This car’s wheels look like they have been recently cleaned. The tires are dirty, but he wheels aren’t. I wonder just how long this one has been in that barn. Still, I’d love to have it — but that price seems to be pretty optimistic.

  16. Dolphin Member

    Great car, but a very sad example of a DB4.

    Valuable car, but way overpriced for the condition, by a flipper who seems to have gone into overdrive compared to what he was doing not very long ago.

    Gullwing is in Astoria, in Queens, NY, which is an area that I am familiar with. Like the rest of NYC, space in Astoria comes at a Very High Price. I can’t believe that the dozens of cars on the Gullwing website are on-site, especially since some of them are very high end and look perfect, or close. My guess is that he’s brokering a lof of the cars to get in on the big move that the moneyed folk have been making into collector cars as inve$tment$.

    Thing is, most of these moneyed folks are not likely to put up big money for this DB4, plus more big money for a restoration. I think most of them want PERFECT right now. After all, what investor can tell what the market will be for the car after a couple of years go by?

    Of course, nothing to stop Gullwing from brokering cars in the land of the free, but this is a very sad and discouraging thing for the people who have lusted after a DB4 ever since James Bond hit the big screen and are now frozen out.

  17. Nova

    Note:

    Please edit Bar to read Barn. Even though it most likely was a “Bar” find…Lol

    Sorry,

    Nova

  18. dj

    A friend of mine had a Jaguar XKE convertible. He realized he would never fix it after it being in his basement for about 15 years and sold it to them. They gave him a third of what it was worth. But I guess if you want cash quick, you can use them. Of course he told me that he never thought I would want it after I had some nice words to say to him about it.

    • Alan

      You knew he had it, and you never told him: “if you ever decide to sell it….” ???

  19. Chris H.

    Yes, Gullwing and others have really ruined the hobby for the average guy. But let’s face it, in today’s information age, I’m fairly certain the family had a good idea of the money they could get for this beauty. Sadly, that still puts it out of the reach of most of us.
    Regarding the color change, there wasn’t such a sense of outrage about such things in the 70’s, and hey, this was just an old exotic… Nobody cared all that much.

  20. skibum2

    I am happy that I grew up when these were cars that you could afford..I remember looking at a three car garage with .. 62 GTE, 67 GT500 Shelby and a 64 Maser..Could have bought all three for under 9K.. BUT, the wife had input on my excitement.. Hahahaha…It was so much fun to find these as they were just cars back then..70’s..enjoy the “barn find”..unreal.

  21. Charlie Member

    Instead of moaning about what “might have been”, go out and buy today’s bargain. I bought a ’93 Cadillac Allante for $3000 a year ago. It is at the bottom of its market (I hope), but it is in excellent condition, in and out, original other than a rebuilt transmission, and a newer top, and various belts, hoses, gaskets, etc. and is a daily driver once the salt is off the roads here in New England. So, we all have regrets about what we could have bought, or should have kept, but there are real bargains out there now in 20 year old cars, and if they are relatively rare, and open cars, can be great to drive, you can get parts, and ten years from now they will be worth a lot more. Think the Pontiac convertibles with a hard top that folded in the trunk,(maybe just sold in Canada) and the Chrysler ones as well, relatively few built, very good cars, very cheap. 20 year old Jags, and Mercedes, and other brands as well – two doors and a top that comes down and you almost can’t go wrong if you have a ten year outlook.

  22. Graham Lloyd

    Jim Bob: Well, to paraphrase the late George Carlin, you wouldn’t make a good American. You think for yourself and form your own opinion. As for being a pizza delivery guy, well, what we do for a living doesn’t necessarily reflect our intelligence level. I drive a truck for a living. And guess what? Higher than average education and life experiences are the norm in this industry. Why? We have to make a living and you and we do what we have to do, to put food on the table.

    This depression we are in that the governments of the world have insisted is over, was easy to predict. If common sense was used. Since the Industrial Revolution, there has been a cycle of checks and balances, reflected as economic slowdowns pretty well every 10 years. The continuous availability of cheap money, no down payments on houses, the relaxation of laws to prevent dangerous economic situations, lead to excessive spending that was seen as a never ending economic utopia.

    It had to end, and anyone with common sense could see that. Consumption of goods and services has a saturation point. But, too many believe what they are told, spent money like a drunken sailor, and forgot that borrowed money has to be repaid. The economy had to correct itself. The propping up that was going on was an obvious indicator that when (not if) the breaking point came, it was going to be a big one.

    Like yourself, I think for myself. I sold my house at the height of the boom, waited a year, and bought low after the market crashed. I have a stable of barn finds and abandoned projects that people begged me to take off their hands.

    Don’t sell yourself short. Your insight is a gift.

  23. Graham Lloyd

    I forgot to add. Keep an eye out. There will be an upcoming segment on this wonderful site on my 3 GTO barn finds.

  24. Mike_B_SVT

    Ok, incredible car, and I actually don’t mind the color. Can a DB4 be an “in yer face” color and pull it off? I think this one does the job! Another one of those “never gonna own one” cars… but I’ll join in the dream with you all :-)

  25. ConservativesDefeated

    Leaving aside all the insightful comments on the state of our piggish consumption based society and the jobs shipped overseas by those forward thinking dynamos of American Capitalism,the Corporations, I once had a 1964 . I believe, DB4. Gold. I

    Of course it was a Corgi car with an ejector seat,James Bond figure , a bullet proof shield that raised over the trunk with a push of the exhaust, and made this then ten year old feel like The Man when he carried it to school in his pocket.

    Always wanted one of these despite all the valid observations made above of its contemporaries such as a Jag. And yes the color is excreable.

  26. John

    I would still be happy with a good 59 Sprite.

  27. Alan

    Time for another tale from a bygone era….

    In the fall of 1977 I had finished school in SoCal, and was trying to find a job in my field locally, so that I could stay there in the land of sunshine, fruits and nuts. I fancied myself the type to fit right in, eschewing my Ohio roots. In order to get by in the meantime, I fell back on an old occupation, and took a gig driving a tow truck for a couple of guys who owned a gas station and a repair shop very near LAX.

    They had contracts with AAA, Hertz, Avis, several local parking facilities, the CHP, etc… Was a great, busy job to have, cruising around the S. end of LA, helping out, doing repos….

    Ahh. Life was good. One afternoon I was called for a AAA run in the parking lot of a mall, and the guy I met had a mid-60’s V-8 Mustang. Seems to me that there was some issue with the starter, and the answer was a tow. Problem was, he lived a couple of miles beyond what the auto club would pay for, and he was flat broke, or so he said. The ‘Stang was indeed pretty ratty….

    Anyway, it was slow, and they guy was a talking gearhead; I was having fun, and although I certainly did not want to shortchange my employers, I thought it would be OK to stretch the boundaries just a little. So I hooked the car up and off we went in the direction of Long beach. Along the way, we swapped stories of cars, driving, local events… All the normal guy stuff which flows between kindred spirits. At some point, he told me that when we got to the house, there was something he wanted to show me.

    The drive really did not take that long, and presently we rolled into an old neighborhood that was kind of hilly, with small, bungalow wood frame homes. Some had garages, of various sizes and vintages. The house he pointed out had but a single car sized, kind of ramshackle looking out-building. It needed a paint job, as did the house. OK, so maybe the guy really was short on cash, or perferred spending it elsewhere.

    I backed the Mustang up what was left of the concrete driveway, and dropped the pony in the spot that the owner requested. “I can work on it there.” he said. After the obligatory paper-work, was done, helped by some judicious numbers-fudging for the distance, came the reveal of what he had hinted.

    When he opened up the garage, there sat an unmistakeable silhouette: Aston Martin. So easy to recognize, as I had for a decade prior to the CA adventure read “Sports Car Graphic” as well as the occasional other Euro-centric publication. I’m sure my jaw dropped.

    I was ready to spend an hour going over every inch, and learning how such a sophisticated machine came to be housed in a shed well below what its’ pedigree would have expected. But the radio in the cab crackled. I had a call to get to a certain intersection ASAP, as there had been an accident, and one of the cars was disabled. Of course, I was a few miles away from where I was supposed to be, making the rush all the more urgent.

    Dang. I pretty much had to hop in, belt up, and go.

    This is what I remember of the car: Year? Not sure. Very late 50’s, or perhaps early 60’s, up to maybe ’64. Light blue I think, like a metallic silver, but blue tinted. Heck, it may have just been silver, but the blue tone is like a photo in my head. Wires and knockoffs… I think. The interior does not stand proud in my brain’s filing cabinet, but I think it was black. The owner told me that he had inherited it, maybe because he was the only one in the family who told the dearly departed how cool the car was, when the man was able to hear it and cherish someone else’s good taste in cars. May have been an Uncle.

    One thing I am certain about: The car was slightly damaged. Because his only other set of wheels was the Mustang, the CarGuy decided that the AM would be better at hauling some lumber, raw materials for a home-improvement project. It did have a hatch-back, afterall. So he went to the local lumberyard, and loaded the boards from the rear. There was not much of it, but of course the car was too short, so what there was had to stick out the back, with the hatch lid pulled down by string.

    Bouncing is possible even on CA streets, and there was some jostling of the cargo on the trip home. Much to the owner’s dismay, when he pulled into the garage and proceeded to unload, the bottom lip of the opening had been damaged. It was pushed down by the weight and minor impacts from the 2X4’s, resulting in an appearance of a smallish open mouth when viewed from a certain angle.

    Now, in only the minute or two that I was able to look at the Aston, it had not dawned on me until he stated that the car was… ALL Aluminum! He explained that from what he knew, it was one of a very few with lightweight aluminum bodywork, considered rare, even in the low value days mentioned above.

    So, Aston Martin knowledgeable persons, who can shed some additional light on the possible vintage and rarity of an aluminum-bodied bearer or the marque?

    *sigh* It has been 36+ years…. I could not find the location of that garage if my life, or all of our lives depended on it, even if it still exists. One place it will forever stay, of course, is in my mind’s eye. Indelibly imprinted on some neurons somewhere between my ears. I’ll always cherish the memory of: My Aston Martin Barn Find.

    • Alan

      Please forgive the typos… Whatever happened to the “edit” feature, anyway?

    • Don Andreina

      Ummmmm… Try looking up Aston Martin DB4 Zagato. If that’s the car, your friend was sitting on a holy grail.

  28. Alan

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