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.

DB4 Zagato

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 at Madgwick 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.

2 VEV Aston Martin Bonhams most expensive

James Knight, group motoring chairman, said: “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 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato "2 VEV" is displayed ahead of the Bonhams' Les Grandes Marques du Monde vintage motor cars and motorcycles auction at the Grand Palais exhibition hall as part of the Retromobile vintage car show in Paris, France, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier 

“It is a true privilege to be able to offer such an historically important – and undeniably beautiful – car,” added Bonhams spokesperson Poppy McKenzie Smith.

“‘2 VEV’ is the most important DB4 GT Zagato in existence, and unveiling it this morning under the glass domes of Le Grand Palais in Paris to the waiting cameras marks the beginning of the car’s journey to Goodwood, in many ways its spiritual home, where it will be offered at our Festival of Speed Sale in July.

“The importance of this car in the classic car world cannot be underestimated, but its importance to the family owners – who will part with it after nearly 50 years – is even greater, and we look forward to working very closely with them over the next few months.”

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.

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