Most Valuable British Car Ever Sold at Auction Leads RM Sotheby’s $133 Million Monterey Sale

The record-breaking 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 crosses the auction podium during RM Sotheby’s Friday evening sale session in Monterey to sell for a final $22,550,000
  • RM Sotheby’s achieves one of most successful Monterey events to date with $133 million total sales and 88 percent sell-through
  • Two-day auction sees numerous records tumble, led by $22.55 million 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1, now the most valuable British car sold at auction
  • Additional top sales led by most desirable Ferrari racing and GT cars
  • RM Auto Restoration takes home seven awards at Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
  • RM Sotheby’s continues calendar with London sale, 6 September, and single-marque sale at Ferrari Factory, 9 September
  • Complete results available online at
22 Prancing Horses- The Ferrari Performance Collection
22 Prancing Horses: The Ferrari Performance Collection and additional Ferrari highlights on display during RM Sotheby’s Monterey preview | image credited to Rémi Dargegen © 2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

MONTEREY, CA – August 21, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – RM Sotheby’s celebrated one of its most successful results to date this past weekend at its flagship Monterey sale (18-19 August), generating nearly $133 million ($132,993,810) with an impressive 88 percent of all lots sold across the two-evening auction. The total was led by 32 individual million-dollar-plus results, numerous record-breaking prices, and represents a 12 percent increase over the same sale in 2016.

The event was highlighted by the top sale on the Monterey Peninsula this year. The legendary 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, chassis no. 1 (DBR1/1) achieved $22,550,000 on Friday evening (est. in excess of $20,000,000) following a competition between two bidders on the phone, setting a world record not only for an Aston Martin, but for any British automobile at auction. The most correct example of what is arguably the most important Aston Martin ever produced, DBR1/1 carries a racing history that includes overall victory at the 1959 Nürburgring 1000 KM as well as the greatest names in motorsport, from Carroll Shelby to Jack Brabham, Roy Salvadori, and Sir Stirling Moss.

The DBR1 was part of the most significant group of Aston Martin competition cars to appear at auction. Other highlights included the 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype which fetched $6,765,000 to set a new record for a non-Zagato bodied example after a contest between three bidders (est. $6,000,000/$8,000,000), as well as the highly competitive 2006 Aston Martin DBR9, which soared past estimate ($275,000 – $325,000) to achieve a final $616,000, also a new record for the model at auction.

“Our 2017 Monterey auction represented an outstanding success on many levels and spoke to the overall confidence of the market,” said Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions for RM Sotheby’s following the sale. “We saw strong prices on rare historic cars of exceptional quality, while certain areas of the modern performance market continued to trend upwards. The sustained focus and interest in late model, low-mileage supercars and hypercars from our clients made for exciting competition at the auction, while the offering of fresh-to-market blue chip classics and post-war sports and racing cars clearly underpin the resilience of the hobby as a whole.”

The second evening of RM Sotheby’s flagship auction saw nearly all lots sold, with several exceeding pre-sale expectations. The night was led by all things Ferrari, including the Ferrari Performance Collection, a single-owner group of 13 beautifully maintained iconic road-going examples offered entirely without reserve, which brought a total of more than $16.5 million. Spanning over 50 years of the marque’s rich heritage, the collection and the night was led by a Classiche-certified and Platinum Award-winning 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta which sold for a final $8,305,000 after an extended bidding contest. Further highlights from the collection included a 1967 275 GTB/4, which sold for $3,025,000, while a 1991 F40 exceeded the estimate of $1.3/1.5 m to fetch $1,540,000.

The Classiche-certified 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta
The Classiche-certified 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta which achieved the second highest result of RM Monterey at $8,305,000 | image credited to Rémi Dargegen © 2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Beyond the collection, Ferraris achieved strong prices throughout the sale with a 1965 275 GTB/6C Alloy comfortably exceeding the $2.9 – 3.4 m estimate to sell for $3,575,000 and a 1972 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider, that had been previously unseen for 20 years, realizing $2,172,500 (est. $1.6 – 2 m).

In addition to icons of the 1960s and 70s, there was strong demand for supercars at RM Monterey: a 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari sold for $3,410,000 (est. $3 – 3.8 m), a Porsche 918 Spyder from 2015 beat expectations when it sold for a record-breaking $1,842,500 (est. $1.2 – 1.6 m), and a 2014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta with only 640 miles from new realized $2,420,000, also achieving a new benchmark for the model at auction (est. $2.2 – 2.8 m).

The Grigio Scuro Opaco greeted attendees
The Grigio Scuro Opaco greeted attendees during RM Sotheby’s busy flagship Monterey sale preview | image credited to Rémi Dargegen © 2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Duff adds, “Saturday’s near 100 percent sell through capped off a record-breaking Friday evening, it was standing-room-only from start to finish, and from watches to jewelry to cars, RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction was a resounding confirmation of the classic car market being alive, well and as evidenced by the crowds, very, very popular. We look forward to returning to the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center in 2018, where we’re sure to best our incredible presentation in the newly renovated venue.”

A list of all million-dollar-plus sales and records achieved will be available on the RM Sotheby’s Media Center.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017 – Top 11 Sales

1. Lot 148 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 $22,550,000
2. Lot 220 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta $8,305,000
3. Lot 147 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype $6,765,000
4. Lot 140 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider $5,720,000
5. Lot 249 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III Coupe $5,335,000
6. Lot 152 1950 Ferrari 166 MM/212 Export “Uovo” $4,510,000
7. Lot 252 1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spider $3,850,000
8. Lot 241 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/6 Alloy $3,575,000
9. Lot 256 1970 Porsche 908/03 $3,575,000
10. Lot 133 1930 Bentley 6.5 Liter Speed Six Sportsman Saloon $3,410,000
11. Lot 227 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari $3,410,000

On Sunday’s show field, RM Auto Restoration also found reason to celebrate, once again bringing home awards for each of the cars the team presented at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (20 August). The 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Roadster by Voll & Ruhrbeck from the Patterson Collection, the 1927 Isotta Fraschini Fleetwood Roadster “Rudi’s Ride” owned by Judge Joseph and Margie Cassini, and the 1932 Packard Twin Six Custom Dietrich Victoria owned by Chip Connor each won Best in Class, with the latter also winning the Most Elegant Convertible trophy and named runner up for Best of Show. The 1939 Packard Super Eight Darrin Victoria owned by Leon Flagg as well as the 1931 Stearns-Knight Convertible Coupe owned by Brent Merrill also achieved Third in Class awards.

RM Sotheby’s continues its busy fall calendar with the company’s 11th annual London sale, set for 6 September at Battersea Evolution. The official auction of the Concours of Elegance, the London event is led by an incredible lineup of Porsche’s finest 911 models. View all cars on offer in the complete digital catalogue, now available at The London auction is closely by Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione, RM Sotheby’s momentous single-marque sale held in partnership with Ferrari on 9 September. Held at the Ferrari Factory in Maranello during the legendary brand’s 70th anniversary celebrations, the sale will feature 40 the greatest sports, GT and racing Ferraris ever built. Stay tuned for the digital catalogue, available on our website later this week.

Full results from RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale are also available at


  1. Results are listed in USD and include 10 percent buyer’s premium for cars and 15 percent for memorabilia. Sotheby’s watches and jewelry as well as If Only experience lots carry a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
  2. Results include select transactions that occurred immediately following the sale.
  3. The previous auction record for a British automobile at auction was $21.78 million for the 1955 Jaguar D-Type sold at RM Sotheby’s 2016 Monterey sale.


About RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s (formerly RM Auctions) is the world’s largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. With more than 35 years’ experience in the collector car industry, RM’s vertically integrated range of services, from private treaty sales and auctions to estate planning, and financial services, coupled with an expert team of car specialists and an international footprint, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. In February 2015, RM formed a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s, uniting the two companies for the full calendar of future automobile auctions. For further information, visit

Source: RM Sotheby’s

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