1964 Aston Martin DB5 “James Bond”

We don’t need to introduce the Aston Martin DB5, the epitome of British style and performance in the 1960s, and the catalog description ran to a couple thousand words, so here is the quick version:

“The Most Famous Car in The World” as arch-Bond fan Dave Worrall’s book of the same name termed it, is the most authentic example of the DB5s used in the filming and promotion of the 1960s James Bond movies “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball.” During the filming of “Goldfinger,” there were two DB5s: the “effects car” and the “road car.” Our example is the road car, and it was used for most of the driving scenes, as it was lighter and more nimble than the effects car—and had its rear mufflers removed for a throatier exhaust note.

For “Thunderball,” this road car was fitted up with the now-famous film props as well, including dummy machine guns, the rear bullet deflector, a removable roof section and revolving license plates.

After filming was complete, the two film cars, plus two additional press cars fitted up with the gadgetry, were sent out to promote the movies. After that, the effects car was stripped of all its gadgets and sold off as a standard road car.

Secreted away

In 1969, after radio station owner and personality Jerry Lee heard about the sale of the press cars, he managed to persuade Aston Martin to sell him the road car, for which he paid $12k. Lee then traveled to London to join his special Aston Martin DB5 in one final promotional event at the Playboy Club on Curzon Street.

The effects car was stolen in 1997, and hasn’t been seen since. One of the press cars resides in the Louwman Museum, which is located in The Hague. RM Auctions sold the other in Arizona in January 2006 for nearly $2.1m.

Since he bought this car and showed it at a brief series of promotional dates after its arrival in the U.S., Lee displayed it in public only twice: at the New York Motor Show in 1981 and for the Meadow Brook Concours circa 1992. The car spent the rest of the time in a special, climate-controlled James Bond room at Lee’s home.

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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