James Bond’s 1965 Aston Martin DB5, dubbed “the most famous car in the world”, is heading for auction in California with RM Sothebys.
The iconic car, which comes complete with its original spy gadgets, is expected to sell for $4 – $6 million when it hits the block in Monterey on August 15.
The DB5 is one of three surviving examples built by Aston Martin for Eon Productions, the company behind the James Bond series, and was used to promote the film Thunderball upon its release in 1965.
Since then the Aston Martin marque has become synonymous with the James Bond series, and the DB5 remains one of the most famous vehicles in cinema history.
“No other car in history has played a more important leading role on film and in pop culture than the Aston Martin DB5,” said Barney Ruprecht, Car Specialist at RM Sotheby’s.
“The DB5 is the iconic cornerstone of a marketing relationship that still exists to this day—with the model’s collectible status rooted largely in its 007 fame—and we look forward to exciting car and film enthusiasts alike in the lead up to the auction.
“This is an unbelievably rare chance to play secret agent in a car that offers incredible performance and style in its own right and we’re honoured to offer the Bond DB5 alongside our partners at Aston Martin.”
The Aston Martin DB5 first appeared as James Bond’s car in the 1964 film Goldfinger, when MI6 weapons-master Q presents him with a new ride for his latest mission.
It was fully equipped with gadgets including front and rear hydraulic rams, retractable machine guns, tire slashers, a rear bullet-proof screen, revolving license plates, smoke screen dispensers and a passenger-seat ejection system.
Two modified Aston Martin DB5s were originally built for the production and used on-screen: a lightweight version designed for stunt driving and chase sequences, and another for interior shots and detailed close-ups.
Sales of the DB5 leapt following the release of Goldfinger, and to capitalize on the surge of popularity Aston Martin commissioned two further Bond cars for a publicity tour of the U.S.
Both the promotional cars, including the present car, chassis Chassis DB5/2008/R, were built to include the same fully-functioning gadgets as used by Bond in the films.
Following the end of their tour duties in 1969, both promotional DB5s were then sold to the prominent British collector Anthony Bamford.
He later sold Chassis DB5/2008/R to B.H. Atchley, the owner of the Smokey Mountain Car Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and it spent the next 35 years on display as the museum’s star exhibit.
In 2006 it crossed the auction block for the first time at RM Sotheby’s in Arizona, where it sold for $2.09 million – and thirteen years on it now looks set to double that price.
Not only has the chassis and body been fully restored by one of the world’s leading Aston Martin specialists, but the spy gadgets that make the car so special have also been restored to work as they did back in 1965.
Ahead of the sale legendary actor Sean Connery, who played Bond in both Goldfinger and Thunderball, commented: “These DB5s are amazing – I remember the Furka Pass tire shredding as well as the promotional events with these cars – they have become increasingly iconic since Goldfinger and Thunderball, in fact I bought a very fine DB5 myself relatively recently.”
If it’s good enough for James Bond himself, you can expect the world’s leading collectors to be battling it out to own the car on August 15.