AirFix 1:1 Replica: Shelby/Salvadori 1959 Le Mans Winning Aston Martin DBR1
By Chris Rosamond of Road & Track
Automotive art collectors will soon have the chance to battle Aston Martin enthusiasts over this amazing piece. It’s a totally unique 1:1 scale (yes that’s life-sized!) model kit of the Aston Martin DBR1 that Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori drove to victory at Le Mans in 1959, and it’s for sale in the Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Revival historic race meeting in the UK on September 16, 2012.
With the real Le Mans winning car valued at comfortably over $10 million, and only 5 DBR1s built in total, it’s not surprising that various companies have attempted replicas over the years. UK-based Evanta is one such outfit, building a variety of beautiful and bespoke replicas of rare Aston models including road going versions of the DBR1 and DB4 Zagato -- the latter available either scratch-built from aluminum in the traditional fashion, or using a DB7 donor car with a composite body.
With that sort of background, Evanta was ideally placed to turn its hand to this amazing piece of display art, which will surely end up as the focal point of some wealthy individual’s motor house. (Garage to you and me!)
The artwork is massive at nearly 6.5m long and 3.3m wide, but you’ll be pleased to know it splits into two pieces for shipping. What’s most impressive though, is the level of detail that’s been applied by the piece’s talented constructors Ant Anstead (seated) and Chris Banks (kneeling) below.
Built in the traditional style of an AirFix kit and in correct satin grey, it features individually labeled components along with AirFix tags. Each part tapers to the Aston Martin item as if you could twist it off for assembly, and the model features an entire DBR1 body shell. It’s hand laid in GRP and finished in Aston Martin Californian Sage Green with race livery and race spots as per the Le Mans winner.
As you can see, lights, screens and final details are fitted as if the real car has been dissected to make the artwork, and according to Evanta the piece includes:
* Four 16″ Aston Martin wire wheels shod in Dunlop race tyres and fitted with Aston Martin three eared spinners.
* Correct “Mota Lita” 15″ wood rimmed Aston Martin steering wheel.
* A pair of race seats upholstered in correct style Aston Martin weave material and leather bound headrest.
* A machined aluminum gear knob and gear lever.
* Full dashboard finished in textured satin black and assembled using Smiths gauges and period switches.
* A replica of the 1959 Le Mans trophy.
Lastly, and perhaps most significantly from the collector perspective, the piece comes with an Aston Martin cap, signed by both Salvadori and Shelby.
Both sadly passed away this year, along with the Aston Martin DBR1’s noted designer Ted Cutting. In fact, says Evanta, the piece was conceived as a tribute to mark the achievements of those three great men who played such a significant role in Aston Martin’s only Le Mans 24hrs victory to date.
The work has a guide price of £25,000 according to the Bonham’s catalog, but don’t be surprised if collectors want it much more keenly than that…
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