STAR CARS / Aston Martin DBR1 sells for a new World Record price for a British car – $22,550,000.

1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Chassis no. DBR1/1, Engine No. RB6/300/3.

ARGUABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT ASTON MARTIN IN HISTORY to come up for auction, this Aston Martin DBR1 broke records at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction on Friday, August 18th, 2017. RM Sotheby’s says it is the most correct of the five DBR1s built and while it has a new engine, it was being offered with its final Works-fitted engine. It is understood to be the first time a DBR1 has been sold at a public auction.

Inside the cockpit everything is just as in period, from the bucket seats – well-padded and adequately comfortable for a purpose-built racer – trimmed in the correct tweed cloth (like the right-hand chassis rail next to one’s knee) to the smallest dashboard detail; notably, the owner commissioned former AML employee/motoring journalist Michael Bowler, with the late Ted Cutting’s help, to produce a comprehensive report of DBR1 dashboard variations to ascertain the correct layout. It is also without question the most correct down to the smallest of details, inside and out.

1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Chassis no DBR1-1_14
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Chassis no. DBR1/1. Photo Courtesy Tim Scott/RM SOTHEBY’S/SWNS.COM
Photo Courtesy Tim Scott/RM SOTHEBY'S/SWNS.COM
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Chassis no. DBR1/1. Photo Courtesy Tim Scott/RM SOTHEBY’S/SWNS.COM
Photo Courtesy Tim Scott/RM SOTHEBY'S/SWNS.COM
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Chassis no. DBR1/1. Photo Courtesy Tim Scott/RM SOTHEBY’S/SWNS.COM

This works racer was campaigned by the Aston Martin Works Team between 1957 and the end of the ’59 season, after which Aston Martin withdrew from international competition, having won the World Championship. DBR1/1 ran multiple times at Le Mans, Goodwood, Spa-Francorchamps, the Nürburgring 1000 KM and the 12 Hours of Sebring, and was driven by Tony Brooks, Reg Parnell, Roy Salvadori, Les Leston, Carrol Shelby, Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman.

After 1959, DBR1/1 was twice raced by Ogier’s Essex Racing Stables in the Nürburgring 1000 KM, with Jim Clark/BRuce McLaren in 1961 and McLaren/Tony Maggs in 1962. It’s best result there came on June 7th, 1959 when it won first place overall at the hands of Stirling Moss/Jack Fairman. The fabled sweet handling balance of the DBR1 enabled it to compete at the top level in this most handling focussed of races for an amazing 5 years, from 1957-1962.

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The car was first road registered in 1962 with the registration 299 EXV which it wears today. It currently produces 301 bhp at 6,500 rpm (redline 6,800) from it’s racy straight six, with the plugs fouling badly if the revs fall below 3,500. Road legal it may be, but driving this car in traffic would be a challenge. It is however, the perfect mount for any top level vintage race or concours event that you can think of.

We were there in 2015 when RM Sotheby’s achieved the current auction record for an Aston Martin with the sale of a 1962 Aston Martin DB4/GT Zagato, Chassis No. DB4GT/0186/R at their Driven By Disruption Sale. The Zagato sold for $14,300,000. This DBR1 smashed that record this year, selling for $22,550,000. This is also a new World record for a British car at auction.

Photo Courtesy Tim Scott/RM SOTHEBY'S/SWNS.COM
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Chassis no. DBR1/1. Photo Courtesy Tim Scott/RM SOTHEBY’S/SWNS.COM
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