The world’s "most important" Aston Martin has become the world’s most expensive British car, after it sold for more than $22 million in California.
The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 crossed the block at RM Sotheby’s, where it sparked an intense seven-minute bidding war between two private collectors, before finally selling for $22.55 million.
The DBR1 surpassed the previous record holder, a 1955 Jaguar D-Type, which sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in 2016 for $21.8 million.
It also set a new benchmark as the world’s most valuable Aston Martin, beating the 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato which sold at the same auction house in New York in December 2015 for $14.44 million.
The car was chassis #1, the very first of its kind, and one of just five original examples built by Aston Martin to compete in the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race.
DBR1/1 was campaigned three times at Le Mans, in 1956, 1957 and 1958, but its remarkable racing history didn’t end there.
With legends such as Carroll Shelby, Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, and Jack Brabham behind the wheel, the car had been raced in some of motorsport’s most iconic events, including the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Nürburgring 1000 KM, the British Grand Prix and the RAC Tourist Trophy.
Having passed from the Aston Martin works team to a privateer racer in the 1960s, the car was later acquired by a private collector – a "fastidious perfectionist" who restored it to its original configuration.
Regarded by experts as the most correct DBR1 in the world, chassis #1 ensured that its auction debut also came with a record-breaking podium finish.