In 2014 history was written with the sale of a 1962 Ferrari GTO sold at an auction in Bonham’s Quail Auction for over $38 million. An unparalleled sum for a historic car, that raised the question if the classic car market was thriving on a fabricated bubble doomed for inevitable collapse in the near future. In present day, three years later, it appears that classics with historical significance are still worth astronomical amounts of money. Mid-August a pristine 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, often described as the most important model in Aston Martin history, will go up for auction at Pebble Beach.

Aston Martin produced a grand total of five DBR1s, and this particular model, the DBR1/1, was the first to be produced. The car was ultimately developed as a result of David Brown’s dream in 1949 to win LeMans, and to put the marque on the map as a contender in the World Sportscar Championship series. The dream came to fruition a decade later with its phenomenal 1959 Nurburgring 1000km win. Because of its legendary racing pedigree, the car has been driven by the world’s most prodigious drivers, including Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, and Carroll Shelby. With its dignified provenance and admirable racing record, the DBR1/1 was an integral team player to the end, crucial to the 1959 World Sportscar Championship victory. A remarkable feat of engineering considering that the car was built by a small team led by engineer Ted Cutting, who personally designed the chassis, engine, and bodywork.

Inside the cockpit everything is just as it was during the car’s prime. From the bucket seats – well-padded and adequately comfortable for a purpose-built racer – trimmed in the correct tweed cloth, to the engine – a 3 litre straight-six that sends around 300 hp to a five-speed transaxle. For the duration of its life the car was properly maintained by Aston Martin specialists, and has been kept in a near original state. This all makes the DRB1/1 a driving autobiography of Aston Martin, having put the brand’s name on the map in the racing world.

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