A classic Aston Martin has broken the auction record to become the most expensive British car ever sold at auction, fetching £9.45 million. The DB4/GT Zagato, which when new in 1962 cost £5,470, was sold at RM Sotheby’s Driven By Disruption event in New York Saturday, the 12th.
The price marks a new record for a British car at auction (even if it fell slightly shy of the £10 million some had expected), which was previously held by a McLaren F1 that went for £8.8 million earlier this year.
The DB4/GT was originally built to allow Aston Martin to take on Ferrari in the World Sports Car Championship, but with its Italian rival having a competitive edge Aston sent its car to Carrozzeria Zagato, with the instruction to maximise its performance.
As such, it not only gained a slippery new body shape, but weight was reduced by 50kg and an additional 12bhp was found from the 3.7-litre straight-six engine, taking the total to 314bhp. With its four-speed manual gearbox and 240lb ft of torque, the 1,225kg Zagato could accelerate from 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds, and had a top speed of 153mph.
Much of the interior, including the seats and doorcards, is wrapped in green leather, but lacks the patina that some find so desirable in a car of this era. The thin, wood-rimmed steering wheel is another period feature, hiding behind which is an instrument binnacle containing the speedometer and rev counter, plus gauges for fuel level and oil pressure.
The car in question is number 14 of only 19 DB4/GTs created by coachbuilder Zagato, and was originally delivered to Australia, where it competed in various motorsport events. Its first owner, Laurie O’Neill from New South Wales, is reported to have also owned various Ferrari and Porsche racing cars, as well as grand prix cars.
Last year a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO became the most expensive car ever sold at auction, at £22.8 million.