Classic Cars

James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 sells for $6.4M, working Q gadgets included

Diamonds are forever, but Bond cars seem to be the next best investment.

One of the most fun parts of Monterey Car Week is seeing all of the insanely rare and unusual cars go to auction and find out what the market really thinks they're worth. According to a report published Thursday by Hagerty, it must think that James Bond-spec Aston Martin DB5s are worth a whole hell of a lot.

How much? This particular example sold for no less than $6.38 million at the RM Sotheby's auction in Monterey. Why? This chassis -- known officially as DB5/2008/R -- is one of just four Aston Martin DB5s commissioned by Eon Productions to Goldfinger specification, and one of two ordered to promote the next film in the series, Thunderball.

What does "Goldfinger specification" mean exactly? Gadgets, old bean. Gadgets! 

These cars had several working gadgets that mirrored those found in the films. Specifically, they came with functional versions of the movie car's revolving number plates, rear smoke-screen system, tire shredder and more (although it doesn't appear the famous ejector seat will actually get rid of troublesome passengers). Q would be very pleased, provided that the vehicle -- once driven -- was returned in pristine order.

These cars are so cool and so beloved by both Aston enthusiasts and Bond fans that it endeavored to build a further 25 continuation models, also with working gadgets, which it offered for the tidy sum of $3.65 million. Still, a relative bargain compared to the real thing.

Speaking of the real thing, DB5/2008/R has a well-documented history. It belonged to a British lord for a while, before being sold to a car museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where it stayed for the next 35 years. It came up for sale in 2006, when it fetched just over $2 million. 

The new owner sent the car to Switzerland for a four-year-long restoration at one of just 13 Aston Martin Heritage-certified restorers. Not only did they restore the car itself, but the shop also managed to restore all of the car's gadgets to full functionality. That had to have been challenging, to say the least.

Ah, but the Bond DB5 is hardly the only unique DB5 to roll across the auction block this week. My personal favorite DB5 -- a custom coach-built shooting brake model, one of just 12 ever made -- sold for the slightly more palatable sum of $1.765 million, also at RM Sotheby's.

The 12 shooting brakes (basically British for a station wagon with two doors) were built by Harold Radford & Co Limited of London. Radford got started as a coachbuilder in the 1940s after having been a successful Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer in London for many years.

The shooting brake conversions were done at the request of Aston Martin, under contract rather than as an independent endeavor. The story is that Aston Martin owner David Brown was having issues fitting all of his polo equipment in the standard DB5 and that his dogs were destroying the interior, so he requested that the factory make him a shooting brake version.

Other people saw Brown's car and started bugging the factory for them, and Aston being Aston, it wasn't really in a financial position to turn down orders for expensive custom vehicles. Thus, history was made.

Keep an eye on Roadshow for lots more from Monterey's legendary Car Week.

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