This family of fast, alluring and supremely elegant cars first appeared in 1958 in the form of the 240bhp 140mph DB4. The response from the motoring press and the motoring public was rapturous, though the price of this handbuilt supercar was beyond the reach of all but a favoured few. The coupe was soon joined by a 266bhp Vantage version, by the 302bhp short-chassis DB4 GT(only 75 produced) and by a convertible. The DB4 GT Zagato, most powerful of all at 314bhp, is also the rarest, only 19 examples being made. The 1964 replacement for the DB4 was the DB5, again offered as coupe or convertible, with standard 282bhp engine or the 314bhp Vantage unit, and the line concluded with the 1965-70 DB6, with cut-off tail, better aerodynamics and in Vantage form having 325bhp. All these cars remain as special and as exclusive as they ever were, and they command correspondingly high prices based on three factors – condition, history and most of all originality. Here James Taylor gives full details of correct original specification and equipment for all these cars, backed up by in-depth colour photography of outstanding examples of all models and variants. Body panels, external trim and badging, paint colours, interior trim, dashboard, instruments and controls, under-bonnet components, engine and transmission, lamps, and other features right down to the tool kit, are all covered.
After graduating from Oxford and pursuing further academic studies at Reading, James Taylor spent 12 years working in central government. However, the lure of writing about cars – which he was doing in his spare time – proved too great and he decided to turn it into a career. James has now written well over 100 books in all, and among them have been several definitive one-make or one-model titles. He has written for enthusiast magazines in several countries, has translated books from foreign languages, and even delivers effective writing training in both the public and private sectors. He spent the best part of ten years as the editor of Land Rover Enthusiast magazine and has always counted the products of the old Rover Company and of Land Rover as his favourite subject. He also co-organised the “15 Years of Rover V8” event at Donington in 1982.