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It’s known as The Most Famous Car in the World – and now this Aston Martin DB5 is also the most expensive ever piece of Bond memorabilia and the most expensive DB5.
Chassis DB5/2008/R sold for $6.385m (£5.267m) last night (15 August) at RM Sotheby’s An Evening with Aston Martin auction in Monterey, California.
That might sound like a lot for any car – but then again, this one is a genuine Bond car fitted out with a raft of working 007 gadgets.
Nor was it the only Aston to set a record at the single-marque sale: a rare DB5 Shooting Brake also broke new ground when it changed hands for $1.765m (£1.456m).
DB5/2008/R was one of two models bought by Eon Productions for the launch of the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball.
Both were equipped with the full complement of 007 gadgets, as seen in the previous year’s Goldfinger – but whereas the ones in the previous models had only been intended to function for a few takes, those in this vehicle and its sister car were designed to be far more robust and to function repeatedly, on demand.
The 13 modifications present in the car were all dreamt up by Academy Award-winning special effects guru John Stears and all are in full working order following a comprehensive restoration by Roos Engineering in Switzerland.
Among the toys are front and rear hydraulic over-rider rams on the bumpers and a Browning .30-calibre machine gun in each bumper. You also get wheel-hub-mounted tyre slashers, a retractable rear bulletproof screen, and an in-dash radar-tracking scope.
Want more? There are oil-slick, caltrop and smoke-screen dispensers, those famous revolving numberplates, and even a passenger-seat ejection system.
After fulfilling its promotional activities, this car was sold to Lord Bamford and then spent 35 years in a Tennessee museum, before going to auction for the first time in 2006.
Put up for sale again yesterday in Monterey it was the subject of a four-and-a-half-minute bidding competition between six interested parties in the room and on the phone.
It eventually sold to an enthusiastic bidder present in the auction room, for a whopping $6,385,000 (£5,267,593) – in the process setting records for the most expensive ever DB5 and the most expensive piece of Bond memorabilia.
Barney Ruprecht, Car Specialist at RM Sotheby’s, said, “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 hobby’s great respect for the Aston Martin brand.”
As if one record-breaking DB5 wasn’t enough, a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake also made history when it sold for a final $1.765m (£1.456m) – comfortably exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $1m (£1.4m).
One of just 12 factory DB5 Shooting Brakes built, the DB5 is now the most valuable Shooting Brake bodied-car of any marque sold at auction.
RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction continues today, with highlights likely to include a 1994 McLaren F1 in LM-spec, which could fetch as much as $23m (£19m).