RM Sotheby’s has announced that it will be offering a once-in-a-lifetime group of Aston Martins at its flagship Monterey auction this August 18-19 during the California coastal city’s annual motoring week. The group is led by arguably the most important Aston Martin ever produced, the 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, chassis no. 1 (DBR1/1).
The DBR1 was the result of David Brown’s dream to win Le Mans, a victory achieved by DBR1/1’s sister car in 1959. The first of just five examples built by the factory between 1956 and 1958, DBR1/1 (above, Tim Scott photo courtesy of RM Sotheby’s) was a purpose-built competition car developed by AM’s racing design chief Ted Cutting. The DBR1 boasted a lighter, faster 3.0-liter engine than its DB3S predecessor, set into a small-tube spaceframe chassis with an all-new rear end. The gearbox was a new semi-dry sump, five-speed transaxle, and the brakes were cast-iron Girling discs with groundbreaking light-alloy calipers.
DBR1/1 debuted at the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans at the hands of Tony Brooks and Reg Parnell, retiring after more than 22 hours with engine bearing failure. It was subsequently driven by such racing greats as Carroll Shelby, Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss and Jack Brabham. Entries included two more runs at Le Mans in 1957 and 1958, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958 and 1959, as well as three entries at the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometers, in 1957, 1958 and 1959, the latter of which produced an overall victory with Sir Stirling Moss and Jack Fairman at the helm. This marked the third consecutive win for Aston Martin and the DBR1 that year, and played a major role in securing Aston Martin the 1959 World Sportscar Championship — the first for a British manufacturer.
Immaculately presented, and the most correct of all five examples built, DBR1/1 is offered with its final Works fitted engine, and is currently equipped with a bespoke, completely correct, reproduction engine manufactured by Aston Martin specialist Richard Stewart Williams.
DBR1/1 is joined in Monterey by three additional significant competition Aston Martins: a 1935 Aston Martin Ulster Competition Sports, chassis no. B5/549/; a 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT, chassis no. DP199 (a development prototype) widely considered the most important non-Zagato DB4GT; and a 2006 Aston Martin DBR9, chassis no. DBR9/9.
“This is the most significant group of Astons to ever come to auction,” says Barney Ruprecht, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “It is a true privilege to be entrusted with the sale of all four remarkable cars. From the Ulster — the pinnacle of pre-war competition — to the founding member of the DB4GT family, the ultimate Aston in the DBR1, all the way through to modern times with the DBR9, the group represents the complete lineage of Aston Martin competition history.”