Aston Martin DB4 - Chassis # DB4/206/R
|Go to Team CJ restoration log for
|Original factory build sheet
||Car still retains its matching number
In our quest to track down the first owner of our DB4, in March 2004 we asked the Yorkshire Post newspaper in England to publish a letter asking if any of their readership remembered the car, or indeed the first owner, recorded on the factory build sheet as A. Mainz and Son, Ltd of Bradford, Yorkshire. We were delighted to receive a reply on March 25, 2004, as follows:
With reference to your enquiry about the DB4 that belonged to A. Mainz and Son, I worked for said company during the early 1960's and well remember the car.
A. Mainz were raw wool importers/exporters and the company was run by Helmut Mainz. I think he bought the car from the Charles Sidney (dealership) and from memory he paid approximately 4,000 pounds. It was maroon in color and I drove it on many occasions.
As far as I know, Helmut is still alive and lives in Harrogate.
Less than 24 hours later, we received the following letter:
Subject: Your letter to the Yorkshire Post
Re your letter to the Yorkshire Post and the Telegraph & Argus asking for info about a DB4 Aston Martin car which was sold in 1960 by David Brown of Huddersfield to A Mainz & Son of Bradford, of which I was the owner:
Unfortunately the car did not perform to expectations and I did not keep it for long. On the suggestion of David Brown (the then owner of Aston Martin) I drove the car to Poznan in Poland where both David Brown and A Mainz & Son were exhibitors at a trade fair. The car was put on display on the David Brown stand, presumably as light relief from the heavy tractors they were famous for.
My return journey from Poland took me via Berlin, Hanover and Hook van Holland. Between Poznan and Berlin the roads were very poor at that time except for the last 20-30 miles into Berlin which had been the prewar AVVS car racing track. Probably to vent my frustration after miles of Polish cobblestones I put my foot down only to be engulfed after very few minutes in clouds of steam from a blown cylinder head gasket.
I had to nurse the car back to Berlin where I was unable to find a replacement and instead had to wait around for several days for the makers to fly out the part. My upset was the greater because David Brown sought to put the blame on me for my failure to fit an "oil cooler" which they recommended to prospective clients who intended to use their cars at high speeds for sustained periods.
I felt that this should have been a standard fitting on such an expensive car and as a result of their nonchalant attitude I sold the car shortly afterwards.
|The latest model David Brown tractors were
displayed at the 1960
International Trade Fair in Poznan, Poland
|David Brown thought his new DB4 sports car
would add interest to
his agricultural tractor display stand at the Poznan Trade Fair
I subsequently spoke to Helmut Mainz who reiterated how disappointed he had been with the car, and in David Brown himself. It turned out that he knew David Brown personally and that it had been David Brown who persuaded him to allow his car to be displayed on the stand at the International Trade Fair in Poznan, Poland in June 1960. He was therefore somewhat annoyed when David Brown, in absolving himself of blame for the mechanical breakdown near Berlin, said that he (Mainz) should have specified the optional oil cooler when he ordered the car, if he was planning on using it for high speed continental cruising!
Eventually, after several warranty issues, Mr Mainz traded the Aston against a Jaguar Mk II, which he remarked was a much better car...
|David Brown persuaded the first owner of
DB4/206 to display the car on the David Brown tractor
the 1960 International Trade Fair in Poznan, Poland
In December 2013 I had the great pleasure of speaking on the telephone with a lady called Joanie Waldman in Indiana. Mrs Waldman and her late husband Michael owned our DB4 for almost 30 years, before eventually selling it in November 2003.
In August 1975, the Waldmans had been driving in Indianapolis when they spotted the Aston parked by the side of the road with a For Sale sign in the window. Initially they drove on by, but then Michael, who was apparently a huge James Bond and Aston Martin fan, told his wife they had to go back and check the car out. Mrs Waldman recalled how they both fell in love with the Aston, buying it on the spot! She told me how their daughter, now in her forties but just an infant at the time, used to love being driven around in the 'red car with the right hand steering'.
|Our DB4 shortly after the Waldman's sold it in 2003, after 30 years of ownership||Original UK license plate still with car 55
Sadly, Michael Waldman passed away in July 2013, otherwise his wife says he would have been thrilled to follow the restoration of his car on the Internet. It was truly a joy for me to speak to someone who had so many happy memories of the old Aston, before it came into my hands.
|Michael and Joanie Waldman on their wedding
day - June 13, 1971
||Michael sight seeing in London
|Michael and Joanie vacationing on Aruba
||Michael and Joanie at their son Adam's
wedding in October 2012
As a sidebar to the above, the way I found Mrs Waldman is something of a story in itself. While searching on-line for Michael Waldman, who's name I had on several invoices dating back to the mid seventies, I was sad to come across an obituary in an Indianapolis newspaper that looked as if it might be the person I was looking for. I called the funeral home mentioned in the obituary and told the lady on the other end of the telephone that I was researching the history of a very special car that I believed may have belonged to the late Michael Waldman, who's funeral service had been held at the venue in July 2013. I told the lady I was hoping to contact relatives of Mr. Waldman, to see if he had indeed been the owner of my car. Somewhat amazingly, the lady said "You need to speak to Joanie Waldman, Michael's wife. She works here, let me get her for you!" A few moments later, Mrs Joanie Waldman came to the phone and said "Is this about the Aston Martin?"
Shortly after speaking to Joanie Waldman, I received the following letter from her son, Adam.
My name is Adam Waldman. As you know, my father, Michael, passed away in July. I was very happy to receive the email from my mother regarding dad's Aston and the fact that you are restoring it. Your restoration photos are fascinating. I was born in 1978 and that Aston never moved from our garage my whole life. In fact, I would not be surprised if the low mileage you see is correct.
Anyway, what are your future plans for the Aston? Also, would it be possible for you to send me a few really good before and after photos that I can blow up and frame to put on the wall in my home. That car really meant a lot to my father. It would really mean a lot to me if you could send some photos so I can show my children one day.
Waldman with his parents and sister, Wendy