‘The Most Famous Car In The World’ James Bond Aston Martin Sets DB5 Record With $6.3m Sale In Monterey Auction
‘The most famous car in the world’, a 1965 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 from the movie Thunderball, has set the record for the most valuable DB5 sold at auction, at the ‘An Evening with Aston Martin’ single-marque sale curated by RM Sotheby’s, part of its annual Monterey Car Week auction.
A range of significant cars from the famous British sports car marque went under the hammer in the special Aston event, and the highlight was the highly-recognizable Bond DB5—originally commissioned and used in the promotion of the James Bond movie Thunderball and complete with working Bond gadgets—selling for $6,385,000. The rare and pristine version of the silver screen icon sold for above its already-hefty estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000 and set a new record for the most valuable DB5 sold at auction.
It is one of two examples purchased by Eon Productions for the launch of Thunderball, which followed the considerable success for Aston Martin of its car featuring in the previous Bond movie Goldfinger. This car indeed is the third of four examples built as per Q Branch specifications, with the various famous Bond gadgets of two-time Oscar winner John Stears and as designed by Ken Adam and featuring in Goldfinger. These include wheel-hub-mounted tire slashers, a retractable rear bulletproof screen, and the famous ejector seat!
This time though the gadgets were installed by Aston Martin and intended to be more durable than those on the cars used for Goldfinger, whose gadgetry was never designed to function for more than one take. This car’s gadgets for Thunderball, by contrast, were designed to function repeatedly on command, as indeed they do today!
The DB5 going under the hammer has had just three private caretakers, including noted British collector Anthony (now Lord) Bamford, and has benefited from a no-expense-spared four-year restoration completed in 2012. This included the refurbishment of all 13 original special-effects modifications.
While, in a surprise, a 1965 DB5 Shooting Brake sold at Monterey’s Aston Martin sale for $1,765,000. The factory-sanctioned shooting brake is the rarest DB5 variant ever made—coming into being as Aston Martin owner, industrialist David Brown, noticed that with his company car, the ‘ultimate Gentleman’s Express’ DB5 saloon, he could not fit his polo gear in the luggage compartment and his hunting dog kept chewing the leather seats. This one sold is one of just 12 factory DB5 shooting brakes, and one of only four in left-hand drive. It has always remained in Switzerland with only three private owners, has an original matching-numbers engine, and its estimate was $1,000,000 to $1,400,000.
“The interest among collectors and enthusiasts worldwide underscores the enduring global appeal of this great British sports car company,” said Aston Martin Lagonda’s president and group CEO Andy Palmer.
“It was an honor to offer the iconic James Bond 007 Aston Martin DB5 alongside our partners at Aston Martin and Aston Martin Works,” added RM Sotheby’s car specialist Barney Ruprecht. “We are beyond thrilled with tonight’s fantastic result and proud to have set a new record for the most valuable DB5 sold at auction. Beyond this new auction record, the enormous amount of interest in the car and excitement surrounding it ahead of the auction solidifies its status as the ‘most famous car in the world’, along with the collector car hobby’s great respect for the Aston Martin brand.”