1959 Aston Martin DB4 ‘Lightweight’ Ex-Gerry Marshall/Marsh Plant
- The most famous and successful Aston Martin DB4 ‘Lightweight’
- The historic Marsh Plant DB4
- Driven by racing legend Gerry Marshall to 26 podiums
- One of only 25 official Lightweights on the AMOC Register
- UK-Road Registered
Rebuilt as an Aston Martin DB4 ‘Lightweight’ in 1992 by Geoffrey Marsh of the highly respected Marsh Plant race team, as one of two DB4s Lightweights (the other driven by Gary Pearson and Ray Mallock) 197/R made its debut at Oulton Park in 1994 when it finished first, driven by the legendary Gerry Marshall. Marshall repeated this success just a few months later at Silverstone, and began an unbroken series of seven wins in just two years.
After a five-year hiatus, when the car was in storage, it returned to the track in 2000 and went on to repeat its earlier successes, with a further 18 podiums, 11 of which were outright wins. Marshall’s last win in 197/R was in August, 2004 at Pembrey.
In all Gerry Marshall clocked up a remarkable 26 class and overall wins out of 47 outings in 197/R scoring his 600th win driving this car at Snetterton on August 6th, 2000 at Snetterton, and it remains the most successful racing Aston Martin DB4 Lightweight, ever.
Even after Marshall’s untimely death in 2005 his beloved DB4 made a number of further appearances, driven by fellow Marsh Plan team driver Ray Mallock in a series of Gerry Marshal Tribute Races, at Donington Park; Silverstone; and Brands Hatch.
Gerry Marshall was ‘one of the best racing drivers of all time’, according to Motor Sport Magazine and hugely popular for his flamboyant style, both on and off the track. Best known as a saloon car champion, he was adept behind the wheel of any car and these ranged from single-seaters to GTs, rally cars and Ferraris. His career spanned five decades and in 2002 he was the first saloon car driver to be awarded the BARC Gold Medal. In the intervening years since his death, Gerry Marshall’s legendary status as one of Britain’s greatest drivers has been recognised by events like the Goodwood Revival, where there has been a race series in his name.
Leaving the Aston Martin Factory as a standard DB4 on 19th December, 1959 197/R was delivered to A.P.B. Phillips, of Heath House, Stoke On Trent. Originally registered ‘1 GRE’, (a number transferred onto the DB4 from Mr Phillips’ old DB4 2/4 MK 3) this number was later transferred from the DB4 to another of Mr Phillips’ cars, an Aston Martin DB4 GT, a race car which retains that number to this day. At a later point the DB4, now registered as 445 YCE, was exported to the USA, returning in 1988 when it was granted its current registration LSU 573, and shortly after this, it was converted by Marsh Plant into a DB4 Lightweight. We are indebted to Tim Cottingham, Registrar of the Aston Martin Heritage Trust for this information.
Fondly remembered by racing enthusiasts not only for the way Marshall could make the DB4 ‘dance’ around the circuit, spectators also recall the unforgettable roar of the Aston’s 4.5 litre race engine as it accelerated out of the corners and along the straight. It also still wears its distinctive metallic blue livery and numerals from the time.
In 2009 the engine was rebuilt by Aston Engineering and is stamped AE MP7 (Aston Engineering Marsh Plant 7). It was then sold to the current owner who raced in the Aston Martin Intermarque Series for the next decade, achieving several class wins, until Covid ended both race careers in 2019.
Now available for the first time in over a decade this remarkable and historic racing DB4 will require some upgrades to comply with current FIA HTP requirements, but there is little doubt that with its unrivalled provenance and fabulous race history it will make a welcome return to historic motorsport.