It looks like 20 million dollars may just be the tip of the iceberg! An Aston Martin DBR1 that competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1956 and 1958 is currently estimated in excess of that amount by RM Sothebys, offering the car at auction this Friday during Monterey Car Week in California.
The DBR1/1 chassis in question won only one race during the course of its career dating between 1956 and 1962, but the top step on the podium was claimed by none other than Sir Stirling Moss. Winner at the 1,000 km of Nürburgring in 1958 with one of the sister cars, the British driver convinced David Brown, owner of Aston Martin (the "DB" of the cars), that he could repeat the exploit the following year - challenge accepted, and with gusto! Relinquishing the wheel to his teammate Jack Fairman for just eight short laps (which is relative at the Nordschleife), Sir Stirling Moss beat the lap record no less than 16 times during what would prove to be the DBR1/1's final race under the official Aston Martin banner.
Though Sir Stirling Moss and three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham took the wheel of the DBR1/1 only once, it was the car of record of Roy Salvadori who won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 with the DBR1/2 chassis, along with Caroll Shelby, like at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1958 and 1959 (retirement), but this time with the DBR1/1.
The Aston Martin DBR1/1 was forced to retire six times in 16 races, but it also reached the second step on the podium five times, and clocked one fastest lap. In 2010, Brian Redman took the wheel at Goodwood, and in 2013 Sir Stirling Moss reunited with the car at the Nürburgring, the site of one of his exploits, for Aston Martin's centennial celebration.
The car's driver line-up was forced to retire three times in as many participations at the 24 Hours between 1956 and 1958, but it paved the way for the stunning one-two for the Aston Martin DBR1 at Le Mans in 1959, Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frère claiming the second step on the podium with the DBR1/4.
The DBR1/1 does not boast the same track record as the DBR1/2, but its success in the Eifel mountains contributed to the singular title that Aston Martin, winner of three out of five races on the calendar, earned in the World Sportscar Championship in 1959. And renowned drivers, starting with Tony Brooks and Reg Parnell, who debuted the car at Le Mans in 1956, took its wheel, as did Bruce McLaren, future winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, at the 1,000 km of Nürburgring (along with Jim Clark in 1961, retirement), and Tony Maggs (fourth) the following year, representing the Essex Racing Stable team.
The engine of the DBR1/1 is not original since its current owner, hoping to participate in the Goodwood Revival, replaced it with a copy, but the car is for sale with an engine of the time, most likely too fragile to hit the track.
The historic value of the Aston Martin DBR1/1 - which to some extent allowed David Brown to make his dream of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy come true - is priceless. This explains why the estimation by RM Sothebys exceeds 20 million dollars (approximately 17 million euros). This afternoon, it could become the most expensive Aston Martin ever sold…
PHOTO (Copyright - Archives/ACO): The #14 Aston Martin DBR1 in action in the rain at the 1956 24 Hours of Le Mans.