Most valuable British car ever to be offered at auction in Europe unveiled by Bonhams
The most valuable British motor car ever to be offered at a European auction has been unveiled at the Bonhams Grand Palais sale in Paris.
Understood to be worth up to £15m, the 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato “2 VEV” is an exceptionally rare car racing version of an already-rare sports car. A total of 19 of this model were produced, but “2 VEV” is one of just two lightweight cars optimised for competition.
It has a slightly different silhouette to the ‘normal’ DB4 GT Zagato, with a lowered roof line, Frenched headlights and different wings to make it more streamlined.
In 1961, “2 VEV” was registered to John Ogier’s quasi-works Essex Racing team (joining sister car “1 VEV”) where it was raced by a number of prolific drivers, including Jim Clark.
In 1962 while racing the car at Goodwood, Clark span and swiped John Surtees, who was in a Ferrari 250 GTO. The collision ended the race for both drivers and badly damaged the Aston Martin, prompting one of three significant rebuilds over the car’s life. The most recent followed a crash in 1993, after which “2 VEV” retired from competition.
James Knight, Group Motoring Chairman, commented: "Bonhams is absolutely delighted to be bringing this landmark vehicle to auction, which continues our history of offering the world’s most important and celebrated sports and collectors’ motor cars to market.
"It is, by some distance, the most valuable British motor car ever to be offered at a European auction, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this historically significant vehicle."
The result of all that weight reduction is extreme fragility. Its bodywork is so easy to dent that an overly-firm grip of the door handle could cause thousands of pounds worth of damage. A mere press of a panel could result in a handprint remaining in the metal. After one outing to the Pebble Beach car show in the US, it returned with £40,000 of blemishes.
Bonhams has declined to offer an official estimate, but “2 VEV” is understood to be insured for around £15m. The car will be sold at auction on July 13, 2018, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.