3 BYR, The Ex – Ian Moss 1961 Aston Martin DB4 to FIA Appendix K Specification
Formed in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford and like so many great names in motoring history, Aston Martin firmly stamped its marque on motoring history through its impressive achievements in motorsport. This entrenched connection with motorsport started before the War and has remained a focal point with the brand right up to the current day.
Having returned to fame post-War, with the success of the DB2 and DB2/4, Aston Martin’s position as an icon of British culture, truly came to fruition with the launch of the svelte new DB4 in 1958. Classically proportioned, the Touring-designed body established an instantly recognisable look that would stand the marque in good stead until it was sold in 1972. The engine remained an all-alloy, twin-overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder layout but the old 3.0-litre unit had been superseded by a new design by Tadek Marek. The new 3,670cc engine featured ‘square’ bore and stroke dimensions of 92mm, and developed its maximum power of 240bhp at 5,500rpm. The David Brown gearbox employed in the DB4 was a new four-speed, all-synchromesh unit.
A significant step forward with the DB4 was the use of Carrozzeria Touring’s Superleggera body construction, which employed a lightweight tubular structure to support the aluminium body panels. This, combined with a new strong platform type chassis, drawn up by Aston Martin engineer Harold Beach, new suspension designs – with unequal length wishbones on the front and a live axle controlled by a Watts linkage on the rear – meant the cars instantly out performed their forbearers.
Five series of the DB4 were built over its 5-year long production which totalled 1,204 cars by 1963. The DB4 design had proven popular and had improved through the various iterations. Like its forbearers, the DB4 soon featured in rapidly growing world of motorsport at that time. It success was cemented by the DB4 GT and the iconic DB4 GT Zagato.
Many DB4s have led active lives. This fine example, Chassis Number 598/R, with its distinctive registration 3 BYR, has been raced almost since new and judging by its success in competition over the years, has certainly delivered as promised.
Registered 3 BYR from new on the 19th of April 1961, 3 BYR did not start its 45 plus year racing career until then owner, Craig Dent, prepared the car for occasional competition events in the early 1970s.
Serious racing started soon after when 3 BYR was purchased by David Reade. He set about developing the car further and had great success with the car between 1973 and 1981. Driven by himself and sometimes his son Alex, they secured numerous outright wins and podiums with the AMOC and other club events throughout the UK.
From the Reade family ownership passed on to David Furzeland who continued to race the car at weekends while his wife Jan drove the car to work during the week. As family commitments grew, the difficulties of fitting a baby seat into a semi stripped out race car took their toll and the Furzeland family were forced to look for more practical family transport. As such, 3 BYR was sold to well-known racer and ex-Aston Martin Works mechanic Ian Moss half way through the 1983 season.
During Ian Moss’ 14 year ownership, 3 BYR entered another chapter in its racing history, described as being full of ‘heroic wins and daring do’ and as always being at ‘the sharp end of the grid’. In 1997 ownership passed to David Reed. Still running in the B1 ‘Standard Class’, both he and his wife Anne raced, sprinted and hill climbed the car with great success, taking numerous class wins and ‘Fastest Lady’ awards in every event the AMOC could put together. Apparently a hard act to beat, business pressures put an end to this chapter of the cars racing history and it was sold to Mark Taylor in late 2000.
Mark Taylor enlisted the services of highly respected Aston Martin race preparation specialist Chris Woodgate from Rex J Woodgate Ltd. to look after the car. The engine was rebuilt ready for the 2001 season where Mark finished runner up in the 2001 AMOC Championship, earning the Montessori Trophy. In 2002 he divided his time between the AMOC Championship and the Heritage Racing Series, taking the class win with the AMOC.
For the 2003 season Mark started to use 3 BYR for more endurance based races, which as he describes, suited the car better. Run under FIA Appendix K rules, their first foray into Historic Endurance Racing was the 2003 Spa Six Hour race where he shared the car with Cecil Offley and they finished well. From there came the Eifel Klassik 500km race on the Nordschleife where they finished 47th out or 124 starters.
2005 saw 3 BYR enter Carol Spagg’s Gentleman Drivers series, where they finished 3rd overall in Dijon and Julius Thurgoods Top Hat Cloth Cap series. By now Tony Dron had been secured as Mark’s co-driver. In September they competed in the Spa Six Hour and then took 5th overall in the Eifel Klassik a week later.
In 2006, 3 BYR competed in the ADAC Classic Trophy Series, consisting of five, two driver, three hour or 500km races on the Nordschleife, Spa, Hockenheim and Zolder. They won their class every time and came 5th overall in the championship. In 2008 Mark and 3 BYR went on to take an impressive 5th overall in the Spa Six Hours, sharing the driving with Phil Bennet and Michael Vergers.
Purchased by the current owner in 2010, 3 BYR has been maintained and developed by Pearsons Engineering and has been raced at Spa, Silverstone and Donington with frequent podiums in the prestigious Pre-63 GT series. Very much a car with a character that stands out for itself, this is a rare opportunity to acquire an Aston Martin with such a prolific racing past, without having to stretch to the heady heights of the DB4 GT and GT Zagato. A true stalwart of the AMOC and historic racing world, this is an ideal entry to a wide array of competitive and exciting race series and events, such as the Spa Six Hours, Gentleman Drivers, GTSCC, Tour Auto and so much more.