2018 RM Sothebys’ Monterey Sale (Aston Martin DP215 Announcement)

The 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype is offered at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 sale – estimate $20 to 25 million.

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype
1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype – Simon Clay © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s announced that the 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype will be one of the lead cars for the Monterey 2018 classic car auction. This car represents the pinnacle of Aston Martin racing. It was specifically developed for Le Mans and with Phil Hill at the wheel was the first car to break 300 km/h on the Mulsanne straight. The Aston Martin joins the previously announced 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO and 1966 Ford GT40 to represent the pinnacle of racing performance for each of these legendary marques from the golden age of motorsport.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 Sale

1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Sold
Remi Dargegen ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 classic car auctions are scheduled for 24 to 25 August 2018 at the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, California, USA.

In 2017, RM Sotheby’s earned $132,993,810 with a sell-through rate of 88%. RM Sotheby’s sold 32 cars for over a million dollar. The top result was $22,550,000 paid for a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 – a marque and British-made car record.

Highlights from The Pinnacle Portfolio
Patrick Ernzen © 2015 courtesy RM Sotheby’s

In 2016, RM Sotheby’s grossed $118 million from just over 100 cars – 21 cars were sold for over a million dollar including three that sold for over $10 million and setting new marque records: a 1955 Jaguar D-Type1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Lungo Spider and a 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra CSX2000 – the most-expensive American car ever.

The world’s single auction record remains RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015 when three days of auctions grossed $172.7 million and million-dollar results for 35 cars.

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype

Master sheet metal worker Bert Brookes, in apron, affixes the magnesium/aluminum alloy panels to DP215 in 1963
Courtesy of Ted Cutting/Aston Martin Lagonda

The 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype, estimate $20,000,000 to $25,000,000, was the last of four one-off development project cars and the final racing car produced during the David Brown era. The DP215 lapped Le Mans 12 seconds faster than a Ferrari 250 GTO.

DP215 was the pinnacle achievement for Aston Martin’s racing program, approved by David Brown in March 1963, ordered directly by John Wyer, designed by chief engineer Ted Cutting and fitted with an engine by Tadek Marek as the final racing car built by the factory in the Brown era. By no means a converted road car, this was the ultimate evolution of Aston Martin’s racing program, and the last of the four completely one-off “Development Project” cars, with its sights set squarely on the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans just two months away.

Aston Martin DP215 at Le Mans 1963

Phil Hill leading the NART Ferrari 330 TRI/LM on the opening lap of the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans
© Courtesy of LAT Images

Ultra-lightweight, with a four-liter version of the DP212 engine set farther back in the chassis and cutting-edge wind tunnel-tested aerodynamics, the car was piloted by American ace driver Phil Hill, a three-time Le Mans-winner and the first ever American Formula 1 World Champion, paired with Belgian Grand Prix and endurance-racing veteran Lucien Bianchi. What the pair achieved is almost unfathomable, clocking a staggering 198.6 mph along the famed Mulsanne Straight—becoming the first car to officially break the 300 km/h barrier at Le Mans.

The DP215 lapped Le Mans 12 seconds faster than the Ferrari 250 GTOs but retired at Le Mans 1963 with gearbox failure two hours into the race. Gearbox trouble while leading also forced retirement at Reims. Aston Martin closed its Racing Department officially at the end of 1963 and DP215 would not race again.

Aston Martin DP215 in Retirement

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype front
Simon Clay © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Following its racing career, DP215 has always enjoyed a well-documented and illustrious chain of enthusiast owners, who in later years even engaged Ted Cutting himself to consult on and approve the authenticity of the car’s long-term restoration.

The current owners, Neil and Nigel Corner, vintage racing drivers of considerable renown and expertise, perfected the car’s restoration by reuniting DP215 with its original engine, 400/215/1, which was separated from the chassis very early in the car’s history but is indeed the very powerplant with which Phil Hill raced at Le Mans. DP215 is expected to bring $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 when it crosses the podium at Monterey.

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype Profile
Simon Clay © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Neil Corner comments: “Ted Cutting designed these project cars and has fully blessed DP215’s restoration. I will always remember when I asked him what his proudest achievement was during his magnificent career with Aston Martin and he replied that DP215’s design and its recorded speed at Le Mans eclipsed even his pride in winning the World Sports Car Championship in 1959 with the DBR1s. This was the fastest speed ever recorded by a front engine car on the old course at Le Mans.”

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype rear
Simon Clay © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

“The lines of the car are absolute perfection. You can see where its outstanding maximum speed came from. What’s more, its performance cannot be overemphasized – from a driving point of view, the acceleration in 2nd and 3rd gears always caused the hairs on the back of my hand to stand up. The car feels like a thoroughbred to drive – the steering is delightfully light, the brakes are outstanding for the era, and there’s nothing quite like the bark of its incredible exhaust note. I’ve driven DP215 everywhere, from rush hour traffic in the busy streets of Paris to full speed on some of the world’s greatest circuits, and I can attest that its performance is unbelievable on road or track. I hope that DP215’s next custodian drives and enjoys the car as much as I have.”

Alain Squindo, Chief Operating Officer, RM Sotheby’s Group adds: “The DP cars are completely one-off competition projects and are essentially on their own level when it comes to Aston Martin racing royalty. DP215 is the pinnacle of the Works team’s racing development, and the new owner will acquire a car that is not only extraordinarily special but also more capable of running at the front of the pack than virtually any other racing car on the market. We’ve had the pleasure of offering some of the world’s most important Aston Martins at auction, including the record-setting DBR1/1 and the DB4GT Prototype at Monterey just last year, and we’re tremendously honored to add DP215 to that list.”

Top Aston Martin Prices at Public Auctions

1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Side profile
Tim Scott © 2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Aston Martin cars have performed very well at auctions in recent years with an increasing number selling for above a million dollar.

RM Sotheby’s is responsible for the top-three all-time most valuable Aston Martins sold at auction, led by the 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 sold at Monterey 2017 for a final $22,550,000, becoming the most valuable British car sold at auction. The second most-expensive Aston Martin ever was the 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato that achieved $14,300,000 at the RM Sotheby’s New York 2015 sale – the only other Aston Martin to have sold for over $10 million. The third place is $6,765,000 paid for a 1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT Prototype at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017.

Bonhams hopes to get into the action with the 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, chassis 0183/R, registration number 2 VEV, on offer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in July 2018.

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1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis 3413 GT – Patrick Ernzen © 2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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