1963 Aston Martin DP214
Above Images ©Ilya Holt @ Silverstone Classic
Leading into the sixties, Aston Martin's main problem was Ferrari. Sporting versions of the DB4 where being spanked by the Ferrari 250 GT and when the purpose built DB4 GT could do little to stop the Italians, they could only do one thing: copy them.
Aston's first major move was to ship their chassis to Italy and have them bodied by Zagato in Milan. Although exciting and beautiful, these Anglo-Italian hybrids were still not enough for the major international victories Aston Martin needed. While they sold the DB4 Zagato to privateer race teams, the company continued development on the DP212 and DP214 project cars.
In 1962, the works department saw the 250 GTO get homologated for racing, so Aston Martin decided they would try some of very same modifications that made the GTO a winner. The first of these was the DP212, which used a low profile nose, sweeping body and rear Kamm tail to good effect. This helped the aerodynamics, especially at high speeds in much the same way as Ferrari's 250 GTO. Other features included a bored out four liter engine, a DeDion-type rear axle and a diet which used more aluminum in the chassis
Aston completed one DP212 just in time for the 1962 Le Mans 24 hour race, and showed great promise until retirement in the sixth hour. The following year they revised into the DP214 and made two examples (#0194 and #0195).
The DP214 was much lower and wider than its predecessor for increased stability and high speed racing. These changes allowed the 317bhp car to achieve 186mph down the Mulsanne straight.
Both cars were sent to LeMans in 1963 along side a sole DP215 that raced in the prototype class. These cars retired despite a good race: Jim Kimberley and Jo Schlesser retired after ten hours when they were third overall. The cars continued in the season, racing at Brands Hatch, Goodwood and Monza but only took a sole victory in the Coupe de Paris at Monthery.
Beyond the initial season, the works cars were sold off to the Dawnay Racing Team and one of the cars terminally crashed at the Nurburgring. The other has been replicated in whole or parts and is occasionally seen at UK events.
Story by Supercars.net