Car Show Classics: Streamlined Sundays: Cars in the Park, Part 2 – Little Did I Know

Oh yes, there were a couple of other cars at the Portland Art Museum’s “Cars in the Park” event that weren’t the Alfa Romeos we covered in Part 1. Parked behind the set of three hand-crafted Giulietta Sprint Zagatos, were an intriguing Aston Martin and an elegant Ferrari. Little did I know how unique and special these cars are.

This is a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. Another Zagato to go with the front row. I would have guessed from this streamlined bumperless front end that it was much later than a ’62. In fact it was introduced at the London show in 1960!

Ercole Spada at Zagato created this special body of aluminum and plexiglas, saving 100 pounds from the stock DB4. Curvaceous and aerodynamic, especially that super-clean rear end with recessed taillights. Bella!

Here’s a picture with the hood open. That’s the DB4 GT’s 3.7 liter aluminum dual overhead cam straight six, with two spark plugs per cylinder, and three twin-choke Weber carburetors. The Zagato version raised the compression ratio from 9.0 to 9.7 to 1, raising its output to a sensational 314 hp. This 1962 touring car flies to 60 in only 6.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 154 mph.

This interior photo from the web is superior to my snapshot. Such an inviting and classic driving position in such an advanced car. I can readily dream of myself and my lady taking a grand tour of Europe and America in this cabin.

The Zagato body is clearly an Aston Martin, yet it’s radically different from the DB4 it’s based on. It has an Aston grille, and the trademark fender-side opening bisected by a chrome spear. But it’s so much more fluid than the DB4’s more linear shape. Shaped so much like a sports racer of the time while clearly a Grand Touring car.

The side view shows off the rear fender bustle and special greenhouse. That aerodynamic front end makes an elegant nose.

The rear view is especially striking. See the two chassis match underneath, same twin exhausts and mufflers, same differential case. Small round taillights set vertically like the DB4, but so different it’s impossible to believe these two cars are even from the same decade.  Have you noticed that all these photos from the web are of the very same car, British registration “4 RTA”, as the car I saw out in a public square on 9th Ave. in Portland? Where has this car been before?

It’s been at Sotheby’s auction house in New York, that’s where. It sold for $14,300,000. You could buy a hundred new Tesla Model S P100Ds with that much money. Or a spectacular house and grounds just about anywhere. Why did someone pay such a price for a car?

Well, it’s very rare, #14 of 19 built. And it’s very special, at the top of the list of all-time desirable Aston Martins. It performs like few other street cars of its time. DB4 GT Zagatos have competed in Le Mans. This car was delivered new to Australia and raced with distinction there in ’62. This car has won Best in Class honors at many international concours, including Pebble Beach. And face it, this car is just drop dead gorgeous. The more I see it and learn about it, the more I love it. Somebody somewhere chose not to buy another mansion with that money, they bought this sublime car instead.

Finally we meet this 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C. At first glance it’s simply a magnificent mid-sixties V12 Ferrari sports car. Not a Zagato like the others, but apparently it has been racing. In fact it’s also a very special and rare example of its marque. Only twelve of these cars were built, to represent Ferrari in competition.

Bodied by Scaglietti in extremely thin aluminum, this Competizione Speciale model can be dented just by leaning on it. The chassis is specially lightened too. Over 300 pounds were saved compared with its earlier alloy bodied cousins. This is the last competition Ferrari with wire wheels. Its Dunlop tires had so much grip this car could break them.

Its engine is a 3.3-liter V12 with four overhead high-lift camshafts, 250 LM-type valves, custom pistons, a redesigned crankshaft, and three Weber 40 DFI/3 carburetors.

The car raced extensively throughout Europe from 1966 to 1970 under the ownership of Renzo Sinibaldi and Alberto Federici, where it competed in twenty races and took home multiple overall wins.  Another 275 GTB/C finished 8th overall and won its class in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Indeed, this very special Ferrari sold at auction in 2017 for $14,520,000. Yet there it was out in public for anyone to walk up to and appreciate! Not marked by any placard indicating how special it is. Little did I know.

Great thanks to the owners who were generous enough to share these two ultra-exotic cars. We’ll see the rest of the Cars in the Park in Part 3, soon.