A 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 sold for a world record $22,550,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017 sale as the most-expensive British car ever.
RM Sotheby’s achieved $22,550,000 for a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017 classic car auction to set a new record for the most-expensive British car sold at public auction. This 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 was the first of five DBR1s produced and the only one ever sold at public auction. It won the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 KM driven by Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman and is a sister car to the 1959 Le Mans winner.
1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Auction Records
The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, chassis DBR1/1, sold for $22,550,000 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017 sale as the most-expensive car at the Monterey Week 2017 auctions, the most-expensive car sold thus far in 2017, the most-expensive Aston Martin ever and the most-expensive British car ever sold at public auction. This Aston Martin is the seventh most-expensive car ever sold at public auction and only the eighth car ever to have achieved a result above $20 million.
The previous record for the most-expensive British sold at public auction was set by the 1956 Le Mans-winning 1955 Jaguar D-Type that RM Sotheby’s sold for $21,780,000 at Monterey 2016 while the Aston Martin marque record increased from the $14,300,000 that was paid for a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato at the RM Sotheby’s 2015 New York sale.
1956 Aston Martin DBR1
The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 is of course a very special car. It was the first of five DBR1s built – a car designed specifically to fulfill David Brown’s dream to win the Le Mans 24 Hours race.
The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 participated at Le Mans three times – 1956, 1957 and 1958 – but retired on all three occasions, including after 20 hours on its debut Le Mans race. A sister car – DBR1/2 finally won Aston Martin the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1959.
The most-significant result of DBR1/1 was an overall victory at the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 KM. During this race, DBR1/1 driven mostly by Stirling Moss – he allowed Jack Fairman only eight laps – broke the lap record 16 times to repeat the victory Moss achieved the previous year at the same race in DBR1/2.
As an Aston Martin works entry, DBR1/1 participated in 16 major international raced between 1956 and 1959. Entries included the three runs at Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958 and 1959, as well as three entries at the Nürburgring 1000 KM, in 1957, 1958 and 1959. DBR1/1 was mostly driven by Roy Salvadori but he was also co-piloted on longer races by such famous drivers as Carrol Shelby and Jack Brabham.
The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 is considered to be the best presented of the five DBR1s produced and is in immaculately restored yet highly original condition. The final Works fitted engine accompanies the car but a replacement unit produced by R.S. Williams in 2010 is fitted so as not to risk the original engine during historic races.
Although the Aston Martin participated in historic races in recent years, the new owner may appreciate that it seems not to have been shown since being awarded the Most Elegant Sports Car Trophy at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.