2020 Bonhams London Auction (New Bond Street Sale Results)

A 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible used in the Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was the top results in the Bonhams London 2020 sale.

1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible -- top the results at Bonhams Bond Street Sale London 2020
© Bonhams

A beautifully restored 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible, which had a starring role in the classic Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, was the top result in the Bonhams Bond Street Sale of motor cars on 16 December 2020. It sold for £356,500 ($460,000) — more than twice its pre-sale estimate to set a new auction world record for the model. Other top-level cars in the auction mostly failed to sell.

1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible

1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible
© www.007magazine.co.uk

In the motion picture, the Cougar was owned by ‘Bond Girl’ Contessa Teresa (Tracy) di Vicenzo played by the late Dame Diana Rigg, and famously driven on ice in a high-speed car chase scene.  

The 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 convertible sold in the Bonhams London 2020 classic car auction was one of three identical Cougars bought for the 1969 movie by the filmmakers Eon Productions from Ford’s luxury division Mercury. The car sold was used in the ‘barn scene’ when James Bond, played by George Lazenby in his only outing as 007, proposed to Tracy as they sheltered in the car from a blizzard. 

The Cougar was built in February 1969 as a special order and was registered in the UK a week later. One of only 127 XR7 convertibles powered by the desirable Cobra Jet (428) engine with Ram Air, this example was finished with red paintwork and matching leather interior. For its film role, it was also fitted with a rack for Kneissl skis and red French temporary visitor registration plates. 

When the vendor bought the car – originally for its engine – it was not in a red-carpet condition. However, when he discovered the Cougar’s illustrious past, he embarked on a full restoration, bringing the Cougar up to concours standard over a 30-year period. He also reinstated it to its film specifications, including fitting a period ski rack, complete with the Kneissl ‘White Star’ skis. 

Tim Schofield, Head of Department, Bonhams Motor Cars UK, said: “The Cougar was the star of the Bond Street Sale. We’re delighted that this Bond story has had a happy ending – and setting a new world record as well.”

Other Top Results at the Bonhams London 2020 Sale

1937 Atalanta 2-litre sports car
© Bonhams

Most of the top lots in the Bonhams London 2020 sale failed to sell. However, several classic cars achieved strong results:

  • 1937 Atalanta 2-litre sports car, a hand-made British built sports car, and one of only two short-chassis examples, sold for £287,500.
  • 1924 Vauxhall 30-98 OE-Type Velox Tourer, sold for £149,500
  • 1953 Alvis TC21 3-litre Cabriolet Sport, with coachwork by Carrosserie Graber, realized £138,000
  • 1928 Aston Martin 1½-litre Standard Sports Model made £115,000

Strong Results for Bond Automobilia at Bonhams London 2020 Sale

A photograph of Sean Connery as 007 with the Goldfinger Aston Martin DB5 in the Furka Pass, mounted with an autograph
© Bonhams

Bond mania was also present in the preceding automobilia sale, in which an original poster for the film starring the Cougar – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service– made more than four times its pre-sale estimate, selling for £6,375, while a photograph of the first James Bond, the late Sir Sean Connery, tripled its estimate, achieving £4,080. 

The automobilia sale was led by a rare nine-carat gold model of the Concorde aeroplane, presented to its test pilot Brian Trubshaw upon his retirement, which sold for £29,000. 

Bonhams next major European auction is in Paris in February 2021 but the just-announced Legends of the Roads sale planned for London in the same month may offer the most-exciting car — a 1938 Bugatti Type 57S with coachwork by Corsa.