Next month's Monterey Car Week auctions are set to see plenty of action. Already confirmed for the Californian event is a Ferrari 250 GTO as well as as one of the winning trio of Ford GT40s in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now we have details on one of the rarest and most valuable Aston Martins ever built heading to the peninsular.
The car is the one-off DP215 race car that Aston Martin built in 1963 and debuted that year in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Lucien Bianchi and Phil Hill taking turns behind the wheel. It managed to clock 198.6 mph on the Mulsanne Straight and proved considerably faster than its Ferrari counterparts, including the 250 GTO, but unfortunately was retired due to transmission trouble.
Financial troubles saw Aston Martin end its factory racing program shortly after, thus also ending further development of the DB215. At this point Aston Martin sold its remaining race cars but held on to the DB215 for development in the hopes of an eventual return to racing in subsequent years.
Unfortunately the car was involved in an accident during testing and was badly damaged. The wreck was sold in 1974 and by this time many of its original parts had been used in other cars, including its 323-horsepower 4.0-liter inline-6 which ended up in one of the two DP214s built.
1963 Aston Martin DP215
The DP215 was later to sold to Aston Martin collector Nigel Dawes who with some help from the car's original designer, Ted Cutting, set about restoring it to its original condition, albeit without its original engine. The two wouldn't stay separated forever, though. The second owner after Dawes in the early 2000s managed to secure the DP215's original engine and had it installed, no doubt at great expense.
The original four DP (Design Prototype) race cars were built in the early 1960s at the request of dealers that wanted to see Aston Martin continue its factory racing program. They were based on modified DB4GT chassis and had the primary aim of taking on Ferrari at Le Mans. The first was the DP212 built in 1962. It was followed the next year by a pair of DP214s and the DP215.
It's hard to gauge how much the DP215 will fetch at auction but you can count on the number having eight figures. As an estimate, a less significant 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato that was raced by customer team Essex Racing Stable and featured a similar chassis to the DP214 was sold at auction earlier this month for $13.24 million.
Monterey Car Week runs from August 18-26 and concludes with the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. For more coverage, head to our dedicated hub.