Aston Martin is building 25 brand-new DB4 GTs...

... for the first time in more than 50 years. Iconic lightweight racer returns

In Christmas news, Aston Martin has reached into its not-insubstantial back catalogue and returned with some stocking stuffers for the one per cent – namely, the exceptional DB4 GT.

Or, more to the point, 25 DB4 GTs, hand-built on the same Newport Pagnell production line as their famous forebears, making the ‘Continuation’ models the first Astons to be built at the plant since production of the last-gen Vanquish wrapped up in 2007.

Yes, Aston has announced that it’ll build 25 ‘DB4 GT Continuation’ models, which is motoring speak for ‘really good replicas’, from the original blueprints to original standards or better.

Suffice to say that the new track-only DB4 GT will be visually identical to the original run of 75, but with a raft of technological improvements hiding under the beautiful bodywork.

In a nutshell, each new car will run the original bits, including the tubular frame, lightweight aluminium panels, limited-slip diff, four-speed manual and DOHC straight six with two spark plugs per cylinder (eat your heart out, Alfa), but with modern revisions that remain true to the original feel. We hope.

But it gets better. Of the original 75 DB4 GTs, a scant eight were built as special lightweight models. And the DB4 GT Continuation models sing from the very same hymn sheet as the ultra-exclusive octet.

That means the sonorous straight six, now enlarged to 4.2 litres and tuned to achieve 340bhp, only has to motivate a mere 1,230kg. This is a Good Thing.

However, there is a catch. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that we said ‘track-only’. To preserve the exclusivity of the original GTs, the modern versions won’t be road-registrable. So, if you do want to own a road-legal DB4 GT, take £1.1m or so to an auction house when one eventually comes up for sale. If you want an original lightweight version, it’s time to stump up £3m or more.

The good news for those unable to wait and/or find millions of pounds down the back of the sofa is that Aston Martin Works has hammered out a two-year international driving programme to accompany the new DB4 GTs. The two-year track attack will wend its way through “a number of the world’s finest race tracks, including the spectacular Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.” So, more than the archetypal run up Goodwood hill, then.

Owners of the DB4 GT Continuation (yes, it’s a clunky name, but you won’t care if you buy one) will get instruction from Le Mans winner Darren Turner, among others, on how to exploit the kind-of-50-year-old car to its limits, and “master driving techniques from an era when track driving was more art than science.”

As befits a hand-built legend, orders won’t actually reach their new homes until late 2017, but we get the feeling it’ll be worth the wait.