Want to roll, James Bond style? Got $5 million handy?
That’s at least what you’d have to pay, to own James Bond’s 1963 Aston Martin DB5. If you could find one. There apparently have been a total of seven used in filming.
One of two DB5s used in the 1964 movie, “Goldfinger”, fully equipped with all the gadgetry seen in the movie, sold for 2.6 million British pounds at an RM Auctions event in October 2010 (see more here). At the exchange rate back then, it was reported to be the equivalent of $4.6 million – although in 2012, it would be more like $4.1 million. Since then, however, Aston Martin values in general have increased a further 15-20 percent.
Don Rose, an RM valuation specialist, said the sales price for the original Bond DB5 “is still a record for a DB5 sold at auction.” He cautioned, however, “The price bears no relation to any other ‘Bond’ DB5 or any civilian car, for that matter, as it sold for approx. 10X due to its provenance as the ONLY surviving of the two original cars which appeared in Goldfinger and Thunderball. Since Goldfinger and Thunderball, other DB5s have appeared to reprise the original iconic impact, but will never be so special or valuable.”
Mr. Bond has driven several different ’63 DB5’s – in “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”, “Golden Eye“, “Tomorrow Never Dies“, the second “Casino Royale”, and “Skyfall,” to name but a few – but none of his other movie rides have been auctioned since the 2010 RM event. (Nick Candee, an Aston Martin historian, notes the Aston Martin that appeared in Goldfinger has been described as the first DB5 prototype, but it was actually a late-production DB4 Series V with covered headlamps!)
Other, non-Bond DB5s do come up for sale from time to time (Bonhams holds an officially sanctioned Aston Martin sale each May at the company’s service works in Newport Pagnell, England). Values of these cars have been skyrocketing in recent years. From 2000 to 2010, Hemmings Motor News estimated the price of an average DB5 increased tenfold, from about $40,000 to $400,000! The most recent notable Aston Martin auction sale was a DB5 convertible that went for 488,700 British pounds ($788,000) at Bonhams’ sale last May.
Mr. Rose added his opinion, “In regards to potential values for a non-Bond ’63 DB5, a left-hand-drive model could go for $500,000-$800,000 (No. 3-No. 1); right-hand-drive $300,000-$500,000.”
The DB5 made its debut in the autumn of 1963; it was positioned as an update of the DB4, with more than 170 changes – most of them quite subtle. The DB5 was an instant star, mostly due to its cinematic connection to the nascent Bond franchise; it was displayed as the 1964 New York World’s Fair as “the most famous car in the world.”
Here’s a summary of DB5 features, as compiled by RM:
“The DB5 maintained the DB4’s 98-inch wheelbase, the Harold Beech-designed pressed-steel platform chassis, the powerful DOHC inline six-cylinder engine designed by Tadek Marek and the choice of either sleek four-seat coupe or convertible magnesium-alloy bodies employing Carrozzeria Touring’s patented Superleggera (super light) construction principles. A four-millimeter bore increase raised engine displacement from 3,670 cc to 3,995 cc, and in standard form with triple SU carburetors, the engine delivered a stout 282 bhp, good for zero-to-60 acceleration of 8.0 seconds with a top speed of 141 m.p.h.
“Initially, the DB5 engine was mated to a four-speed David Brown manual gearbox with overdrive or a three-speed BorgWarner automatic unit. After mid-1964, an all-synchromesh ZF five-speed manual gearbox replaced the four-speed as a standard DB5 feature, in which the fifth gear was effectively an overdrive.
“Befitting its market position rivaling Ferrari and Maserati, the DB5’s abundant standard features included reclining seats, full leather interior, wool-pile carpeting, electric window lifts, twin fuel tanks, chrome wire wheels and an oil cooler. DB5s adopted the faired-in, covered headlamps of the iconic, competition-oriented DB4GT.”
The paint scheme of Mr. Bond’s DB5 is officially known as “Silver Birch”. But it has become more commonly known merely as “Bond Silver”. I believe it is the most popular DB5 colour.
During its production run, 1963-1965, only 1,021 DB5s were built. This included 123 gorgeous convertible versions (which oddly, Mr. Bond has not driven), plus a few special-order station wagon versions produced by outside coachbuilders. Candee estimates some 886 survive.
The most famous missing DB5 is the second of the two actual movie cars used in “Goldfinger”. It was stolen in 1997 from its owner in Florida, and has not been seen since. Perhaps when he is done saving the world, Mr. Bond will have time to look for his own stolen car.
[Footnote: Do not fret about the fate of the DB5 in "Skyfall"; it had a stunt double, in the form of an exact duplicate generated by 3D copying machine! In fact, for the film, three 3D DB5s were produced. For more information, about what it would cost to insure James Bond's DB5, check out another of my posts here. Also, an even newer post has been published on the origins and "secret life" of the Skyfall DB5]
October 27, 2012