One of the gadget-packed James Bond-spec Aston Martin DB5s built for the 1965 movie Thunderball is coming up for auction.
Chassis DB5/2008/R was built for Eon Productions ahead of the 1965 release of the fourth James Bond film, in the wake of the massively successful Goldfinger, before being shipped to the USA for extensive media duties.
Built with all the gadgets boasted about by Q in the film itself, it’s one of just two cars to be constructed that way by Aston Martin itself, and therefore one of two with gadgets designed to be used over and over. The Goldfinger DB5’s pioneering mods were single-use only.
The Bond-spec toys are all operational, except, presumably, for safety modifications to items like the Browning machine 30-cal machine guns and ejector seat. You don’t want either of those accidentally going off on the M1, do you?
There are tyre slashers in the wheel hubs, a retractable bulletproof screen at the back, a radar tracking scope in the dashboard, oil slick facility and smokescreen dispensers. There’s also a phone in the driver’s door that should connect 10-year-old you to MI6, the British secret service.
This example has had just three owners since its time promoting Thunderball. In 1969 the studio quietly sold it and its sister car to Anthony Bamford, noted car collector and now Lord Bamford.
He moved chassis DB5/2017/R on almost immediately but kept this one for a year or so before selling it to the owner of the Smokey Mountain Car Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. There it was encased in a steel wire mesh cage that prevented it being touched, but that still allowed it to be started and regularly heated through for its entire 35-year stay.
It has a huge history file spanning Lord Bamford’s British registration document, the factory build sheet identifying it as a Bond car, the restoration of its 13 gadgets in 2012 and numerous invoices.
Unlike the continuation models announced last year, this one is also road-legal as far as we can work out, but we’re happy to be corrected since it’s not exactly like we’re preparing a bid.
It’s up for auction with auctioneer RM Sotheby’s, part of its Monterey sale in a couple of weeks’ time. The estimate is between $4 million and $6 million, and to any wealthy collector who remembers the wonder of seeing it in action in Bond’s illustrious care, the temptation will be hard to resist.