RM Sotheby’s is hosting an impressive auction of racing Aston Martin competition cars at a flagship auction during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 18 and 19, 2017. And the amazing Aston Martin auction includes DBR1 Chassis 1. Which is arguably the most important Aston to have ever been created. It was the first of just five cars built between 1956 and 1958 purely to win at the Le Mans 24 Hours race.
1956 Aston Martin DBR1, Chassis No 1 (DBR1/1)
Aston Martin boss David Brown had bought the company in 1947 for £20,500 after seeing it for sale in a classified advertisement in The Times. And to fulfill his dream of winning at Le Mans, the purpose-built racer was designed by Ted Cutting with a lighter, faster 3.0 litre engine than the previous DB3S, and a small tube spaceframe chassis featuring an all-new rear end. It also gained a new semi-dry sump, five-speed transaxle and cast-iron Girling disc brakes with light alloy calipers.
Aston Martin DBR 1/1 entered the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans driven by Tony Brooks and reg Parnell, eventually retiring after more than 22 hours with engine bearing failure. In the following years it would be driven by the likes of Carroll Shelby, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori (pictured). And it competed at Le Mans again in 1957 and 1958, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958 and 1959 and also at the Nurburgring 1000 KM in 1957, 1958, and 1959. it won at the third attempt with drivers Sir Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman, which was a third consecutive win for the DBR1 model, and also helped it to take the first World Sportscar Championship for a British manufacturer.
Although it was a sister car which eventually took a Le Mans victory in 1959, Aston Martin DBR 1/1 returned as a privateer car under Essex Racing Stable in 1961 and 1962 before being sold to the Honourable John Dawnay, and raced in the early 1980s by Mike Salmon. It also won the Most Elegant Sports Car Trophy at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The present owner is selling it in immaculate condition with the final Works fitted engine, and fitted with a bespoke reproduction engine by Aston Martin specialist Richard Stewart Williams, having recently competed at the Goodwood Revival. It’s expected to break records in excess of $20 million, with the most valuable British car previously being 1955 Jaguar D-Type chassis XKD 501, which sold for $21,780,000 in 2016.
But it’s not the only special Aston up for auction. Three other famed examples will be for sale.
1935 Aston Martin Ulster Competition Sports, chassis no. B5/549/U
One of the best known and most original of the 21 Ulsters produced, B5/549/U was a Works-supported car, campaigned in period at motorsport’s finest events. The Ulster ran the 1935 Mille Miglia, and secured a fourth in class finish at Le Mans that same year before winning the Targa Abruzzo in 1936. After having spent more than three decades as the personal race car of Derrick Edwards, founder of Ecurie Bertelli, it is presented in Monterey as a highly eligible historic racer, ready for the Le Mans Classic, the Mille Miglia, Goodwood, and the Monaco Historic Grand Prix (Est. $2,500,000 – $3,000,000).
1959 Aston Martin DB4GT, chassis no. DP199
DP199 (development prototype) is widely considered the most important non-Zagato DB4GT. Significantly, DP199 took overall victory in its first competitive outing at Silverstone in 1959, with none other than Sir Stirling Moss as its driver, and was campaigned at Le Mans later that year. Following its Works career, DP199 passed through a string of privateers, seeing club racing action over the next couple of decades. Restored to its 1959 Le Mans specification, the DB4GT comes to Monterey representative of the beginning of the GT lineage (Est. $6,000,000 – $8,000,000).
2006 Aston Martin DBR9, chassis no. DBR9/9
Fast-forward to the 21st century and Aston Martin continues to dominate the track, having just clinched victory at Le Mans earlier this month. In 2006-2007, DBR9/9 was one of four chassis campaigned by Scuderia Italia BMS, operating under semi-Works status at the time. The car competed at the highest level, including at Le Mans and Spa. Seldom does an opportunity to acquire a factory race car arise, especially one with four FIA GT1 class podium finishes (Est. $275,000 – $375,000).