What’s the most valuable British car to ever sell at auction? As of this past weekend, there’s a new answer to that question: the 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 sold by RM Sotheby’s for $22,550,000 at its 2017 Monterey sale.
The famed Aston sold to a telephone bidder last Friday evening, who was undoubtedly enamored with the car’s provenance, which includes an overall win at the 1959 Nurburgring 1000KM and such drivers as Carroll Shelby, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Roy Salvadori. In addition to breaking sales records, the car was also the top seller for the entire week’s worth of Monterey auctions and fell in line with RM Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate of “in excess of $20,000,000.”
Several other Aston Martins sold for strong amounts during the two-night sale, including a 1959 DB4GT Prototype that brought $6,765,000 against an estimate of $6 million to $8 million, and a 2006 DBR9 that more than doubled its low estimate with a sale price of $616,000.
A 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta that was Classiche-certified was runner-up to the top-seller, despite its result of $8,305,000 falling just shy of an $8,500,000 low estimate. Other Ferraris stood out as well, including a 1967 275 GTB/4–a desirable “four-cam” model that sold at $3,025,000, right in the middle of its estimate range—and a 1965 275 GTB/6C Alloy that sailed past its high estimate to a final price of $3,575,000.
Disappointments? There were a few, including a 1997 Porsche 911 Cup 3.8 RSR that sold at $357,000–more than $140,000 below its low estimate. Why the poor result? This was a race car without an impressive race history, campaigned in club-level racing events by its first owner, rather than in professional series with top-flight teams and drivers. A 2000 Lamborghini Diablo GTR was one of just two cars to not find a new home on the second night of the sale, falling short of a $580,000 to $780,000 estimate.
In the end, RM Sotheby’s sold $132,993,810 worth of cars, watches and jewelry–exceeding its 2016 total of $117,900,000. Its sell-through rate (the percentage of cars that were actually sold) was also up from 82% in 2016 to 88% this year. A total of 32 cars broke the million-dollar barrier, up from 21 cars in 2016.