Monterey Car Week, held each August at various locations on the Monterey Peninsula in California, assembles some of the most exclusive and elegant cars in the world. Some of these select models even go up for auction, as was the case with the Aston Martin DB5, famously driven by James Bond in several films, including Goldfinger where it made its first appearance.
In this case, the Aston Martin DB5 auctioned this past week was one of two produced to promote Thunderball. Known officially as the DB5/2008/R model, the car fetched a cool $6.38 million at the RM Sotheby's auction in Monterey. Given that the vehicle was ordered to promote a Bond film, it features a number of special gadgets, which happen to be in working order.
The Q-approved gadgets include a smokescreen, nail spreaders, tire slashers and rotating license plates on the back and front of the car, which are activated by a knob inside labeled "B-S-F" for British, Swiss and French plates. The spy gadgets naturally aren’t intended for use on the road but are still fun to show friends.
The Aston Martin auctioned had been owned by a British lord before being sold to a car museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where it remained for 35 years. It was first sold in 2006 for just over $2 million. The new owner had the car shipped to Switzerland where it underwent a four-year-long restoration at one of the 13 Aston Martin Heritage-certified restorers. The shop not only restored the vehicle but also all of the gadgets.
The Bond DB5 was not the only DB5 to be auctioned this past week. A custom coach-built shooting brake DB5, one of twelve built, was sold for $1.765 million, also at RM Sotheby's. The car was built by Harold Radford & Co Limited of London. Radford became a coachbuilder in the 1940s after a stint as a Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer in London. Aston Martin ordered the shooting brake conversions at the request of owner David Brown, who reportedly was having trouble transporting his polo equipment as well as his dogs in the standard DB5.