Competition rules change frequently. The 1962 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is favorable to prototypes. Aston Martin is interested. The Design Project 212 is an evolution of the DB4 GT with a unique car incorporating a 4-liter 6-cylinder in-line engine and a lightened bodywork validated in the wind tunnel.
For 1963 Aston Martin prepares the DP214 for the GT class with two cars. This project, similar to the DP212, incorporates bodywork modifications to mitigate the risk of rear lifting.
John Wyer appreciates the motivation and skill of his teams. Under the reference DP215 he requests an additional car for the same competition, with other characteristics for the prototype class. Engineers have two months left to accomplish this feat, with an extremely limited budget.
DP215 has an engine of the same model as DP212 and the five-speed gearbox from the DBR1. The chassis is new, to receive a possible V8 engine. The engine position is lowered.
At the Le Mans practice, the DP215 driven by Phil Hill and Lucien Bianchi is the first car timed at more than 300 Km/h at Mulsanne. Both DP214 achieve a similar performance. None of the three cars finish the 24 hours : at the beginning of the third hour, the transmission of the DP215 is broken.
During its next race at Reims it becomes obvious that the gearbox is undersized for the engine power. After a demonstration run in the same year at Brands Hatch, DP215 abandons the competition. In November 1963 the Aston Martin Racing Department is closed. John Wyer had already left the company.
Its current owner commissioned a gearbox copying that of the DP212 and recovered its original engine that had been installed in the only DP214 survivor. The DP215 was restarted into a working condition close to the original configuration including the spare DP214/215 bodywork built in period by Aston Martin. It is estimated $ 18M for sale by RM Sotheby's in Monterey on August 24, lot 141.
Please watch the video prepared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia with attribution By Redsimon [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
SOLD for $ 21.5M including premium