Tadek Marek's Aston Martin DB4

Aston Martin DB4 front

Aston Martin DB4 owned by Tadek Marek

Tadek Marek

Tadeusz "Tadek" Marek (1908–1982) was a Polish automobile engineer, best known for his Aston Martin engines.

Marek was from Kraków and studied engineering at Technische Universität in Berlin, Germany before working for Fiat in Poland and also for General Motors. Despite a serious racing accident in 1928, he raced the 1937 Monte Carlo Rally in a Fiat 1100 followed by a Lancia Aprilia in 1938 and an Opel Olympia in 1939.

Driving a Chevrolet Master sedan, he won the XII Rally Poland (1939) before moving to Great Britain in 1940 to join the Polish Army. He joined the Centurion tank Meteor engine development (1944), but returned to Germany, working for United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

Aston martin DB4 Tadek Marek
Aston martin DB4 Tadek Marek

Tadek Marek

In 1949 he joined the Austin Motor Company, and eventually joined Aston Martin (1954). He developed the alloy 6-cylinder engine (forerunner of the DB4 engine) of the Aston Martin DBR2 racing car (1956), and redesigned the Lagonda engine with a new cast iron block using top seating liners, used in the DB Mark III.

The DBR2 engine (after changes) was subsequently used in the DB4, DB5, DB6 and DBS. Marek also developed the Aston Martin V8 engine (1968), which was in use until the year 2000.

It was first fitted to a DB5 driven by Marek personally (1965), and two Aston Martin DB7 were also equipped with this V8 (1995). Marek and his wife moved to Italy in 1968, and he died there in 1982.

Aston Martin DB4 Engine

The future of Aston Martin would be best served through a continuance of a 3 litre sized engine, which would emphasise refinement, or whether to emphasise the sporting ambitions of Mr David Brown, in his quest for a sports racing car that would win at Le Mans. 

That debate was quickly resolved and resulted in an outline decision of an engine of approximately 3.5 to 4.0 litre capacity, 6 cylinder in line with twin overhead camshafts, capable of powering a new Aston Martin grand touring car at speeds up to 150 mph. This would require an engine capable of developing approximately 250 bhp at the wheels

Right from the start, another debate ensued as to whether this engine should use a cast iron block, which was preferred for reasons of refinement, or to use aluminium. That debate was settled quickly when it was discovered that there was a national shortage of suitable iron foundries. The choice of aluminium was made. 

Aston martin DB4 Tadek Marek
Aston martin DB4 Tadek Marek
Engine continued

With an eye to refinement, need for longevity and endurance, Tadek Marek planned from the outset to use a seven bearing crank of unusually generous dimensions and being aluminium, also continued use of wet liners. The cylinder head, also of aluminium, would be twin overhead camshafts, allowing use of fully hemispherical combustion chambers.

The DB4 engine was initially sized with an engine of 3.7 litres capacity with a bore and stroke of equal dimensions of 92 mm. It developed about 240 bhp with a torque of 240 lbs.ft, using twin SU carburettors.

The DB4 GT specification of the engine was changed and upgraded throughout their racing history, the Aston Martin DB4 GT predominantly featured a 3.7-litre aluminium twin-spark straight 6-cylinder engine with a 9.7:1 compression ratio, with three Weber carburettors.

The engine produced 314 hp (234 kW), and had a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration of 6.1 seconds and a top speed of approximately 154 mph (248 km/h)

Aston Martin DB4 The Car

The car itself has been preserved absolutely original form.Its never been restored, though it has been re-painted, stripped to bare metal.

The upholstery is totally original from when Tad marek had it renewed by the factory in 1965, although the carpets have been replaced, its all in very good order throughout.

The car original buff log book reveals it wasn't always a development car, in fact it was purchased new by a Dr JC Roy who took delivery in October 1959 and drove the car down to his home in St Tropez.

Ir was originally painted in Ice blue and must have looked sensational glinting in the French sunshine on the Cote D'Azur.

Unfortunately, Dr Roy's relationship with the DB4was rather fraught, as it suffered an overheating issue and subsequent engine failure. To placate him, Aston Martin agreed to buy the car back and in 1960 it was repatriated to Newport Pagnel.

The factory made better use of the car and it ended up as a development car. It was during this period that it changed colour - to metallic green, that it still wears today and the interior was re-upholstered in black at Marek's request.

Aston martin DB4 Tadek Marek

Aston Martin the Car cont.

Mechanically the car has a fabulous specification: 4.0-litre engine with triple Webers (DB5 Vantage), five-speed gearbox and Selectaride dampers.

However its the unique peculiarities that make this car so special, and so emphatically one that used to be Tadek Marek's.

Look down the pedal box and you cant help but notice the accelerator, which has a rather crude riveted steel spacer to bring the face of the pedal a little closer to the sole of Marek's right foot.

There were also wooden blocks to raise the drivers seat a little, but these have now been removed for the owner to be seated correctly.

The most charming modification is the motorised drivers side rear window, installed to extract Marek's cigarette smoke from the cockpit, it still works today.