18-19 August 2017

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Lot 146

1989 Aston Martin AMR1 Group C

  • Chassis no. AMR1/04

Sold for $616,000

Please note that this lot is offered on a Bill of Sale.

  • Offered by its first private owner
  • One of only four AMR1s in existence; one of two Lightweights
  • Likely the most correct example; retains its original carbon-fiber chassis
  • Driven by David Leslie, Brian Redman, and Michael Roe at Spa, Donington, Nürburgring, and Brand’s Hatch
  • Competitive in modern historic racing
  • Fastest lap by two seconds at the 2013 Monterey Group C race, at the hands of Brian Redman

In mid-1987, Aston Martin was already planning its next Group C racer, the AMR1. The car was funded by automotive magnate Peter Livanos and would be designed by Canadian Max Boxstrom, of Dymag Wheels, whilst Ecurie Ecosse would back it, under the direction of Hugh McCaig, Ray Mallock, and Richard Williams.

The AMR1 was all new from the ground up. It had to be on the cutting edge to battle the might of fully developed racers from Jaguar, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. To this effect, Boxstrom set about designing a car that would take maximum advantage of current ground-effects technology. The car had a massive aero tunnel running from midship to the rear. The engine was even angled three degrees upwards at the rear to improve the tunnel effect, while a large rear wing provided adjustable downforce. The chassis tub was built of Kevlar and carbon fiber, and the radiator was mounted in the rear. The tub was very modern for its day, as it was essentially a narrow driver’s compartment beneath the outer skin, which allowed for forward ground effect channels at the nose. Boxstrom’s suspension followed the Formula One practice of having almost no travel. The massive downforce that was created by the design was to, quite literally, press the car to the surface of the track.

A stock Aston Martin V-8 block would be developed to power the sports prototype, but its two valve heads were replaced by four-valve versions that were designed by Reeves Callaway, of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Callaway Engineering worked with a range of 5.0- and 6.0-litre engines, but the smaller engine was eventually dropped by Aston in favor of the 6.0-liter Le Mans configuration. This engine developed a highly reliable 700 horsepower at more than 7,000 rpm, and the narrowed transmission, fitted between the engine and final drive, was unique to the Aston as well. A 100-liter fuel cell was fitted with a reserve of 6.5 liters, providing an extended range.

After chassis 01 and 03 had been intensively developed and tested, and even participated in some races, such as Dijon and Le Mans, this car, chassis number AMR1/04, which is designated as a Lightweight as it is just 920 kilograms, was built-up in mid-1989.

In July, Brian Redman and David Leslie drove this AMR1 at the Brands Hatch 480 KM to an outstanding 4th overall finish. August saw this car at Nürburgring, where it snatched an 8th overall at the last corner and was again driven by Leslie and Redman. At the Donington 480 KM, it finished 6th overall; while at the Spa Group C race, chassis 04 was running in 8th place when a connecting rod let go on lap 44, resulting in its first DNF. After eight results in 10 starts, the AMR1 team ranked 6th overall in the 1989 World Championship.

Although serious development of the new AMR2 took place over the winter of 1989 and 1990, various setbacks began to undermine the program’s continuity. A rift between the organizers, the A.C.O. of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, and the F.I.S.A. sanctioning body created doubt concerning the continuation of the event. Ford had initially offered to develop and supply a much-needed new engine for the AMR1/2 program, but then reversed their decision. After such a promising beginning, the AMR1 and AMR2 operation unfortunately ended in March 1990.

The present owner, an ex-chairman of the AMOC/USA East, purchased AMR1/04 directly from the factory, making him the first private owner. Since the early 2000s, he has raced this car, with mechanical support from Group C specialists Hudson Historics, in numerous sprints and endurance events and at circuits such as Watkins Glen, Lime Rock, Road Atlanta, Monterey, Sebring, and Daytona. In 2003, after an invitation from Lord March, AMR1/04 participated in the Goodwood Festival of Speed; this was an occasion that was pictured in many AMOC and international publications. After a thorough freshening, original driver Brian Redman set the fastest race lap, by two seconds, in the 2013 Monterey Historics Group C competition. That same year, the AMR1 was also featured as part of the "Best of Britain" exhibit at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The January/February 2014 issue of Vintage Motorsport featured AMR1/04 on its cover and in a Salon feature, under the apt title of “Beastly Beauty.”

As one of only four AMR1s in existence, chassis AMR1/04 is likely the most original example remaining, and it has garnered the most impressive racing results. It is still suitable for further historic racing events and concours displays by its next favored caretaker.


Please note that this car has been invited to participate in the HSR Classic 24 at Daytona (9-12 Nov. 2017). The new owner can elect to either race or run in the parade. Additionally, an extensive collection of spare parts and memorabilia is included with the car (FOB). A complete list is available upon request. Please refer to an RM Sotheby’s representative for further details.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more