Record-breaking Aston DBR1 leads the RM Sotheby’s charge in Monterey

After a relatively steady start, RM Sotheby’s turned things around at its flagship Monterey sale, grossing 132.8m US dollars and breaking the world record for a British car sold at auction with the 22.5m dollar Aston Martin DBR1…

Self one-upmanship

While we had to wait until Saturday evening’s auction to see how the world-class assembly of classic and modern Ferraris RM Sotheby’s had managed to consign for its flagship Monterey sale would fair, on Friday, it was Aston Martins — more specifically, those with racing pedigree — that proved to be the flavour of the day.

Just surpassing the 21.78m US dollars achieved by the Jaguar D-type XKD 501 at RM’s Monterey sale in 2016, the ex-Moss, -Shelby, and -Salvadori Aston Martin DBR1 was hammered away at 20.5m dollars — that’s 22.55m dollars all in, and a new record for a British automobile at auction. Fitting for what is arguably one of the most important Aston Martins in existence.

Born to race

Other Astons to fare well included the brutish DBR9, which more than doubled its lower estimate, fetching 560,000 dollars (616,000 dollars including premium), the ex-Brian Redman AMR1 Group C car, which hammered at an on-estimate 560,000 dollars (616,000 dollars including premium), and the fabulous DB4GT prototype, which made 6.765m dollars all in. 

It’s also important to note that we now live in a world where microcars are worth more than 100,000 dollars. The pair of cute Peels — a 1965 Trident and a 1964 P50 — fetched 121,000 and 140,250 dollars, respectively. 

The year of the Prancing Horse?

Of the 58 lots to cross the block on Saturday evening at the Portola Hotel & Spa, just two – a 1938 Avions Voisin and a 2000 Lamborghini Diablo GTR – failed to find new homes. The headlining Ferrari Performance Collection, comprising 13 classic and modern road-going Ferraris, performed particularly well, led by the 1961 250 GT ‘SWB’, which fetched 8.305m dollars with premium, and the 1967 275 GTB/4 (3.25m dollars incl. premium).

Bolstering beauties

Elsewhere, blue-chip Ferraris continued to pull strong prices, including the 1959 410 Superamerica Series III (4.85m dollars) menacing black LaFerrari (3.41m dollars), and the 1954 500/735 Mondial (3.5m dollars). Several collector favourites also garnered healthy results, such as the ravishing blue 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, which hammered bang-on its lower estimate of 1.25m dollars (1.375m dollars incl. premium), and the 1951 Porsche 356 Pre-A 1500, which exceeded its 600,000–700,000m dollar estimate, hammering at 925,000 dollars (1.017m all in).

A prettier picture?

In all, the Canadian auction house’s results echoed those of the other sales during this year’s Monterey Car Week – that there are still plenty of buyers willing to pay strong money for great cars. While some adjustments will have been noted, namely the slight drop in demand for pre-War cars, the market paints a robust picture. No doubt the extra effort taken to curate a stronger catalogue than those we’ve seen so far this year will have been deemed worth it. Onwards to London…

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2017 

You can find all our Monterey and Pebble Beach coverage, which is kindly supported by Borro, in our regularly updated overview.