2019 RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale (Bond 007 DB5 Announcement)

An original James Bond 1965 Aston Martin DB5 as prepared by Q for 007 to use in Goldfinger and Thunderbolt is heading to the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 sale.

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond Profile
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s announced a very special 1965 Aston Martin DB5 to lead the special single-marque Aston Martin-only day during the 2019 Monterey Week auction series. This Aston Martin DB5, estimate a whopping $4,000,000 – $6,000,000, is one of just three surviving examples commissioned in period by Eon Productions and fitted with MI6 Q Branch specifications as pictured in Goldfinger. This specific car was not used in the films but rather served as promotional vehicle for Thunderball.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 Sale

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2019 classic car auction: 15 – 17 August 2019 with the first day dedicated to Aston Martin marque cars only.

In 2019, RM Sotheby’s earned $107 million from the three-day Monterey sale. The sell-through rate was 74%.

At the 2018 Monterey auction, RM Sotheby’s earned $158 million by selling 124 of 150 lots (83%). The average sale price was $1,270,903.

At the 2017 auction, RM Sotheby’s earned $133 million with a sell-through rate of 88% and 32 cars sold for over a million dollar. RM Sotheby’s three-day Monterey 2016 auction remained the highest grossing classic car auction ever with $173 million earned and 35 million-dollar cars sold.

James Bond 1965 Aston Martin DB5

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond Q Prepared
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s announced “the most famous car in the world” and perhaps the most iconic Aston Martin of all time to lead ‘An Evening with Aston Martin’, a special single-marque sale session at the company’s 2019 Monterey auction on 15 August. RM Sotheby’s will present a 1965 Aston Martin DB5, chassis no. DB5/2008/R, estimate $4,000,000 to $6,000,000, one of just three surviving examples commissioned in period by Eon Productions and fitted with MI6 Q Branch specifications as pictured in Goldfinger.

Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond Ejector Seat Button
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

No one could have predicted the fabulously successful multi-decade synergy that would develop when production designer Ken Adam and special effects man John Stears visited Aston Martin’s Newport-Pagnell plant in late 1963. The two men were on a mission to source a pair of the latest Aston Martin models for use in Eon Productions’ third adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel, again about the MI6 superspy with a license to kill, James Bond. The film was called Goldfinger.

Two near-identical cars were built and loaned to Eon Productions for filming, with each fulfilling various roles; one for stunt driving and chase sequences and therefore needing to be lightweight and fast, and the other for interior shots and close-ups, to be equipped with functional modifications created by Stears.

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond Interior
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

As Desmond Llewelyn’s legendary weapons-master Q would go on to explain to Sean Connery’s 007, the Snow Shadow Gray-painted DB5 was equipped with front and rear hydraulic over-rider rams on the bumpers, a Browning .30 caliber machine gun in each fender, wheel-hub mounted tire-slashers, a raising rear bullet-proof screen, an in-dash radar tracking scope, oil, caltrop and smoke screen dispensers, revolving license plates, and a passenger-seat ejection system. Although never used during the film, the car was also equipped with a telephone in the driver’s door to communicate with MI6 headquarters and a hidden compartment under the driver’s seat containing several weapons

The smash success of Goldfinger was also a success for Aston Martin, which saw DB5 sales surge to fuel an unprecedented level of production. The producers at Eon also took notice of the enormous appeal and potential marketing opportunities.

1965 Aston Martin DB5, chassis DB5/2008/R

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond wheel
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In preparation for Thunderball’s release, the Eon ordered two more DB5 saloons, receiving chassis nos. DB5/2008/R, the example on offer at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, and DB5/2017/R. The two cars were fitted with all of Stears’ Goldfinger modifications and were shipped to the United States for promotional duties for Thunderball.

Reached through his son, Stephane Connery ahead of the sale, legendary actor Sean Connery, who originally portrayed James Bond on film in both Goldfinger and Thunderball said: “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.” 

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond GPS
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Following the tour, the two cars were no longer required as the next two Bond films debuted with different, more current automobiles in the hero roles and, accordingly, they were quietly offered for sale in 1969. The cars were soon purchased as a pair by well-known collector Anthony (now Lord) Bamford, whose British registration for chassis no. 2008/R remains on file. The Aston Martin build record lists Eon Productions as the original purchaser, with the important designation of being a “(Bond Car)” noted.

Bamford then sold DB5/2008/R to B.H. Atchley, the owner of the Smokey Mountain Car Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The Aston Martin was featured as the museum’s centerpiece, remaining in a pristine state of display for 35 years, receiving regular start-ups for exercise. In 2006, RM Sotheby’s (previously RM Auctions) was privileged to offer this very Bond DB5 for public sale, in a largely unrestored state.

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond Machine Gun
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Since that time, a well-documented, no-expense spared restoration by Switzerland’s esteemed Roos Engineering was completed. Roos Engineering is one of 13 specialist facilities whom Aston Martin have appointed as official Heritage Specialists. Not only were the chassis and body completely refinished to proper standards, but all thirteen of the John Stears-designed Bond modifications were properly refurbished to function as originally built.

1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond Bullet Proof Shield
Simon Clay © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Barney Ruprecht, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s comments: “No other car in history has played a more important leading role on film and in pop culture than the Aston Martin DB5. 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 first Stears-modified car has been lost since 1997, narrowing the number of surviving examples to just three. The car on offer is one of only two built from new with all Bond gadgetry, and chassis no. 2008/R stands apart with its extremely minimal chain of ownership, having had just three private owners over 50 years, including a 35-year period of museum exhibition. An incredibly rare and exciting example of what has been deemed “the most famous car in the world”, the DB5 offers a highly desirable acquisition for the serious marque collector…or secret agent.

Top Aston Martin Auction Results

1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1
1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1 – Scott Fluid Images © 2017 Courtesy RM Sotheby’s

Despite all the praise heaped on this Bond car, a result within estimate would be sensational for a DB5 but not for an Aston Martin. The Aston Martin marque record is $22,550,000 paid for a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2017 sale. This car also holds the British-made car auction record.

Three further Aston Martin cars have sold for over $10 million at public auction:

  • $21,455,000 was paid for 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 sale.
  • $14,300,000 was paid for a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato at the RM Sotheby’s New York 2015 sale.
  • $13,316,000 was paid for a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato “2VEV” at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 sale – the record price for a British car sold at auction in the UK.

A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 on offer at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale in 2018 sold for a strong $2,580,886 – this car was driven by Pierce Brosnan playing James Bond in the 007 film Golden Eye. A standard DB5 usually sells for around a million dollars, although concourse condition and special provenance could lift a DB5 to $1.5 million too. Convertible and Vantage models generally achieve stronger results.

Monterey Week 2019 Car Auctions News

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1939 Porsche Type 64
Staud Studios © 2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s