James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 is probably the single most iconic car in all of history. Just four were built back in the 1960s and one of them will cross the block at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in August.
The DB5 first appeared in 1964’s Goldfinger, Bond’s third film outing. Aston Martin loaned two cars to the company behind the films, EON Productions, for the duration of filming. One was to be used as the ‘hero’ car, the other would be modified with all the gadgets that appeared on screen. When filming ended, the cars were returned to Aston.
The next installment in the Bond saga, Thunderball, came around in 1965. The DB5 had been such an integral part of the success of Goldfinger that EON bought two more DB5s to do a promotional tour of the United States. Despite the car only making a brief appearance in the new film.
These two DB5s were fitted out with of all the gadgets, which were built to function reliably on the tour. The full list ran to front and rear hydraulic bumper over-rider rams, tire slashers in the wheel hubs, a .30-calibre machine gun in each front wing, a radar scope in the dashboard, caltrop, oil-slick and smoke screen dispensers, retractable bulletproof screen, revolving number plates and, of course, the ejector seat. A telephone in the driver’s door and a weapons drawer under the driver’s seat were also included, though they were never seen on screen.
After the tour, the two DB5s were put into storage before being sold on to avid car collector and digger magnate Anthony Bamford. Bamford sold one on soon after, but retained the other for a few years. It is that car – chassis number DB5/2008/R – that has been consigned to the RM Sotherby’s sale.
Bamford sold 2008/R to the owner of the Smokey Mountain Car Museum in Tennessee. It stayed in the museum for 35 years, displayed behind a wire mesh to protect it and regularly exercised.
In 2006, 2008/R was sold through RM Auctions. At that stage it was in completely original condition. A subsequent restoration by Aston-blessed Swiss restorer Roos Engineering returned it to as-new condition, including putting all the gadgets back into full working order.
A typical pristine DB5 will usually sell for around the $1,000,000 mark. But 2008/R isn’t a typical DB5. It’s a genuine Bond car – even if it didn’t appear on screen – with working gadgets and a bulging history file to back up its provenance. Aston and Bond aficionados alike will be falling over themselves to buy it. Especially as Aston is working on a run of Bond-spec ‘continuation’ DB5s.
But how much will the lucky buyer have to fork out for it? The current record auction price for an Aston Martin stands at $21,455,000, achieved by the one-off DP215 race car at RM’s Monterey sale last year. It’s entirely possible that 2008/R will blast straight through that price.
By Graham King