Two James Bond cars head to auction

Aston Martins to be sold May 22 in England
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'The Living Daylights' 1974 Aston Martin V8.
PHOTO CREDIT: Octane Magazine/George Bamford

Two Aston Martins used for the filming of James Bond movies are headed for the hammer. They include a one owner 1962 ‘barn find’ DB4 Aston Martin used as a ‘test mule’ by James Bond special effects designers and a 1976 Aston Martin V8 Coupé adapted with numerous components from the filming of the 007 epic ‘The Living Daylights’. Bonhams will feature the two Bond cars at their Aston Martin car sale to be held at the Aston Martin Works Service, Newport Pagnell, England on May 22. The auction is devoted entirely to the Aston Martin marque.

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1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Vantage.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Bonhams

The 1962 DB4 is an ex-factory demonstrator built for press tycoon Max Aitken (1st Baron Beaverbrook) and was purchased in December 1963 by the current vendor. The Aston was a regular sight at Pinewood Studios where its owner worked as a special effects designer, and served as a ‘test mule’ during preparatory work for the first James Bond movie, ‘Goldfinger’, being measured for the various gadgets – ejector seat, machine guns, etc – that would be featured on the silver DB5 driven by Sean Connery as Bond in the film. Somewhat annoyed by the delayed delivery of the DB5s from the factory, Bond franchise producer Cubby Broccoli once turned to the DB4’s owner and said, “Why don’t we just use your car and spray it silver?” In 1974 the car was consigned to a garage where it has remained ever since.

Interesting modifications to the vehicle include a special factory-fitted clutch with lighter ‘push’, an Icelert, an engine vacuum gauge and a thermostatically activated overheating alert. Its pre-sale estimate is US$60,000-$75,000 (£40,000-50,000).

A 1976 Aston Martin V8 Coupé adapted with numerous components from the process unit used during the filming of the 007 epic ‘The Living Daylights’ is estimated to fetch US$60,000-$90,000 (£40,000-60,000).

Several years ago Dr. Peter Nelson, founder of ‘The Bond Museum’ in Keswick visited Studio 10 at Pinewood Studios – the site used by the James Bond producers to store many of the old props. Dr. Nelson purchased several items from the store including the ‘process unit’ – a V8 that had the front and rear ends removed to enable the camera crew to film Timothy Dalton ‘driving’ the car in the studio.

Dr. Nelson wanted to restore the vehicle, but found that the chassis was too badly damaged so instead he bought a 1976 model and transferred many of the process unit’s components onto this running chassis, including the seats, interior, bonnet, wheels, skis etc. Other original parts not transferred are to be included in the sale along with many other V8 components from cars destroyed or damaged during the filming, offering the new owner the opportunity to complete the conversion.

The car has subsequently appeared at numerous motor shows and James Bond events around the world, including an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and has recently been housed at The Bond Museum. It also appeared recently in Octane magazine’s article about ‘Bond cars’, and many fans consider ‘The Living Daylights’ Aston Martin V8 to be one of the best Bond vehicles with its skis, rockets, bullet-proof screen and even jet propulsion.

Tim Schofield, UK Head of Collectors Motorcars Department comments, “James Bond vehicles are rarely available for sale these days and James Bond Aston Martins are almost impossible to acquire at any price. This car incorporates many of the original ‘Bond gadgets’ from ‘The Living Daylights’ and is a must for any true 007 fan.”

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