Market Finds: Here’s Your Chance To Own What Ian Fleming’s '007' Drove

Here’s Your Chance To Own What Ian Fleming’s ‘007’ Drove

By Andrew Golseth
May 11, 2016

Photography Courtesy of Bonhams

Declared the most famous car in the world, it’s not secret the Aston Martin DB5 was made internationally famous by the devilishly cool James Bond played by Sean Connery in Goldfinger—still one of the best 007 flicks, FYI. Yet, despite what Hollywood Bond drove, Ian Fleming’s original novels had the license-to-kill hero drive a DB Mark III—much like this 1959 Aston Martin DB Mark III.

Sean Connery’s character was issued a DB5 because, at the time of film production, it was Aston’s newest model and the DB III had long been out of production. In Fleming’s Goldfinger paperback, 007 wheeled a DB Mark III, which is more commonly referred to in text simply as a DB III—not to be confused with the DB3/S race car.

So, if you want to be a James Bond hipster, you could buy this final year DB III and remind everyone this is the “real” 007 Aston, but that’s a bit pedantic. No need to discredit or take away from the DB5. This face lifted specimen is finished in “Snow Shadow,” an off-white refined primer tone more vintage racer than gadget-y espionage.

You could rock a Savile Row conduit cut in this, but you’d probably look more natural behind the wheel wearing a race suit and helmet—especially if you ditched the bumpers and slapped some digits on the flanks. Goodwood, anyone? Either route works, it’s just refreshing to see such a unique color over the typical metallic colors—did you notice the blue spokes? Marvelous.

This car is powered by the long-produced Bentley 3.0-liter straight-six but remastered by Tadek Marek to the tune of 178 ponies with the factory optioned twin-pipe exhaust. Over the earlier iterations, this redesigned engine features a stronger block, a more robust crank, and a revised head with larger valves, all conducted through a four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive.

In addition to its sporting looks, the fastback design lends additional space for the two-plus-two black leather stitched cabin. Occupants ride on front independent and live rear axle suspension that was criticized for its harsh ride upon initial review, but can be chalked up to “old car problems” today. Front disc and rear drum Alfin drum brakes help keep the lid-side-upright, which will come in handy with a 120 mph top speed.

Chassis 1789 was first delivered to Brooklands Motors and sold shortly after to the Arnhem Timber Co. Ltd. Based in Moorgate, London. Later, a Mr. Chris Drake sold the car to a Belgian enthusiast who hired Aston Martin specialist, JMB Services, to carry out a complete restoration in 2008. In 2013, the current owner added this ghostly GT to his collection. The Aston has since been maintained and most recently had its steering box rebuilt.

Included in the sale are comprehensive restoration invoices and a copy of the factory build sheet. Although it’s not exactly Sean Connery spec, when you’re inevitably asked, “Is this James Bond’s car,” you technically could say, “Yes.”

– Final year model for the DB Mark III
– Restored by JMB Services in 2008

~178 horsepower, 3.0-liter straight-six cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front and rear straight axle suspension, front Girling disc brakes and rear Alfin drum brakes. Wheelbase: 99 in.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: AM/300/1789

Auction house: Bonhams
Estimate: £150,000-£200,000 ($220,000-$290,000 Usd.)
Price realized: Auction on May 21


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7 years ago

I had the opportunity to drive a well sorted example of these once and I must say that I was not impressed. They are quite beautiful to look at though.

Referencing above comment, I think Bond would in fact be well suited in a Bristol, perhaps the 405, one of my personal favorite cars.

Franco Martinengo
Franco Martinengo
7 years ago

AFAIK in Ian Fleming’s books James Bond drove a Bentley!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

Thank you Mr Martinego for saying it first ! And although you’re mostly correct [ whereas Mr Golseth is mostly wrong ] you are ever so slightly incorrect as well ..

James Bond’s first Aston was in fact a Bentley … including the 4 1/2 liter , Mark VI and Type R Continental .

The one Ian Fleming novel where Bond did drive an Aston [ the DB3 mentioned although in the book it was called a DB Mark III ] was ” Goldfinger ” which was his ‘ company car ‘ not his personal ride [ which was still a Bentley ] and was the ONLY [ not the first ] Aston Martin as well as the only gadget ridden car of any make in Fleming’s 007 books

After “Goldfinger ” Fleming came to regret having Bond drive an Aston in ” Goldfinger ‘ as he felt the character would of never driven such a flamboyant and blatantly sporty car .

FYI ; A moment of trivia . To everyone’s great consternation one of the authors that continued on with the 007 novels in the 80’s had Bond driving …. hold on to it ..

A SAAB 900 Turbo ……

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

Mr Golseth ; Sour grapes and a disdain for accuracy and the facts good sir ? After all you did say ‘ First ‘ in the header … implying there were others . And in case you missed it I did give you credit for being partially correct . Perhaps its just the differences in our ages .. but …. Sheesh .. its as if the English language has completely fallen off the cliff being replaced by god knows what . And you were a JAG paralegal ? Perhaps its time to bring some of those paralegal skills you no doubt must have which demand accuracy at the highest level to your automotive writing good sir .

Anyway to end on a more positive and constructive note

If it’d been up to me I’d of had Bond driving a Bristol of one model or another in both the books and the films . The ultimate in luxury stealth and anonymity

Michael Banovsky
Michael Banovsky
7 years ago

To be fair to Andrew, I rewrote the headline with little consideration to the fact that a) people actually read James Bond novels, and b) that he wrote his original headline very specifically trying to avoid exactly what you’re pointing out.

7 years ago

Always such a fan of someone so utterly bound up inside that they can’t merely make a clarification or suggestion without coming off like a complete and utter dolt. The consternation with which GS emits just about any combination of words is so distasteful, that it really diminishes the few minutes a day I spend checking the site. He just comes off as such a snobbish know-it-all, who often isn’t even fully correct. Erudite is a noble quality, snobbish is not.