Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 26th September 2017

Classic car auctions are often filled with rare models that start bidding battles. At the 2017 RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction, a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 became the most valuable British made car in history when it was sold for £17.5 million. Only five were built between 1956 and 1958 and the one that sold was chassis number one.


The DBR1/1 was developed by racing design chief Ted Cutting to win at Le Mans. It participated in three Le Mans and although it didn’t claim the title, the car won the 1959 Nurburgring 1000 kilometre race. It was sold, converted and made legal for street use in 1962. Originally, the car featured an inline six-cylinder engine that put out 268 hp. It was upgraded with a modern engine, making the current output 301 hp. In the past, it’s been driven by famous racers such as Carroll Shelby and Jack Brabham.


RM Sotheby’s had valued the DBR1 at more than £15 million. For seven minutes, there was a fierce contest and people were making bids that exceeded the estimate price. A private collector put in their bid at the very end and the car was sold for £17.5 million. The DBR1 joined other Aston Martin models that were sold for impressive prices. They include the 1959 DB4GT, which sold for £5 million and the 2006 DBR9 that fetched £48,0000.


At rival auction house Bonhams, a 1995 McLaren F1 sold for £12 million. When it launched in the early 1990s, the F1 was the height of sophistication. It was also the fastest car in the world, being able to go from 0 – 62 mph in 3.2 seconds and reach a speed of 243 mph. Only 65 road cars were built, making the model that sold an exceptional motor.


The DBR1 and F1 are beautiful vehicles that represent the pinnacle of classic cars. The DBR1 may hold the title of most expensive British made car for now, but you never know what could be on the horizon.