Aston DBR1

1956 Aston Martin DBR1

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 18-19, 2017

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

On their home page, RM Sotheby’s describes the DBR1 as “the most important Aston Martin ever built.” Why’s that? Because David Brown bought Aston Martin in 1947 and set his sights on winning Le Mans. With the DBR1, he finally succeeded, putting his little car company in the spotlight and ensuring its survival for decades to come.

This car is not the Le Mans winning car, but the first of five DBR1s built (chassis #2 triumphed at Le Sarthe). This was built in 1956, there was one example in 1957, one in 1958, and two in 1959. If you’re a big fan of Astons, perhaps this car reminds you a little bit, styling-wise, of the DB3S.

This DBR1 is powered by a reproduction 3.0-liter straight-six developing 302 horsepower. The owner had the engine specially constructed for this car so it could be used in historic events without fear of damaging the original 3.0-liter unit (which peaked at 255 horsepower).

The competition history of this factory race car includes the following:

  • 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans – 14th, DNF (with Tony Brooks and Reg Parnell)
  • 1957 1000km Nurburgring – 6th (with Roy Salvadori and Les Leston)
  • 1957 24 Hours of Le Mans – 34th, DNF (with Salvadori and Leston)
  • 1958 12 Hours of Sebring – 52nd, DNF (with Salvadori and Carroll Shelby)
  • 1958 1000km Nurburgring – DNF (with Salvadori and Shelby)
  • 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans – 34th, DNF (with Salvadori and Stuart Lewis-Evans)
  • 1959 12 Hours of Sebring – 62nd, DNF (with Salvadori and Shelby)
  • 1959 1000km Nurburgring – 1st (with Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman)

What a race history! Tony Brooks, Roy Salvadori, Carroll Shelby, and Stirling Moss all drove this car in period. And it won the 1000km of the Nurburgring (with Moss at the wheel, no less). The current owner, a major Aston Martin collector, has owned this car since 2009. RM hasn’t published estimates at the time of this writing, but it’s possible this one gets tagged with the ubiquitous “Inquire.” Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $22,550,000.

2 thoughts on “Aston DBR1

  1. With this history, I would have instantly assumed this car to be more valuable than the Porsche 917 and the McLaren F1 you presented as the two top heavy hitters for the season, but what do I know.

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