James Bond Aston Martin, DB2 Racer Star in $6.8 Million Auction

An unrestored Aston Martin used for the movie “Goldfinger” and left in a barn for years was among the stars of a 4.7-million-pound ($6.8 million) auction last night as collectors battled for James Bond’s favorite cars from the 1950s and 1960s.

The DB4 sold for 84,000 pounds, beating a high presale value of 50,000 pounds, while an earlier DB2 Team car also beat its estimate to become the top lot at 513,000 pounds. The DB2 would have competed in the 1950 Le Mans 24-Hours event if it hadn’t crashed in France on the way to the circuit. The repaired car was raced in the 1950s by drivers such as Stirling Moss.

The sale at Aston Martin’s base in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, by the London-based auction house Bonhams tested demand for U.K. sports cars at a time when their French and Italian equivalents are fetching record prices. Wealthy individuals are looking to move their investments into physical objects such as art and cars because financial markets remain turbulent, dealers said. Still, some later Aston models struggled to attract buyers.

“The people who like the earlier cars seem to be more interested at the moment,” said James Knight, managing director of Bonhams’s motoring department. “Your average guy who’s in the market for a second-hand supercar might not think it’s the right time to buy.”

The DB4’s seller worked as a special-effects designer at Pinewood Studios in 1964, when the red coupe was used to test the gadgets and measured up for the machine guns, ejector seat and other extras for 007’s silver DB5. It had been garaged since 1974 and would require extensive restoration, said Bonhams.

DB2 Prices

The 1950 DB2, with a presale value of 380,000 pounds to 440,000 pounds, was bought by a bidder from an unidentified country outside the EU, Knight said. A DB2 Team racer that did manage to compete at Le Mans in 1950 sold for 550,000 pounds at RM Auctions in London in October last year.

Yesterday’s auction’s total with fees beat a low estimate of 4.35 million pounds, based on hammer prices. Nine of the 45 cars failed to sell, all models made in the last 40 years.

The failures included a 1976 V8 Coupe incorporating components from cars used during the filming of the 1987 Bond movie “The Living Daylights,” expected to fetch as much as 60,000 pounds.

Among the other classic DB models in demand was a recently restored 1959 4.7-litre Aston Martin DB4 works prototype, which fetched 485,500 pounds.

The event was Bonhams’s 11th annual Aston Martin auction. The equivalent sale last year, offering 47 Astons, raised 3 million pounds against a high estimate of 3.5 million pounds.

Within the last few weeks, a 1930s Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic and a 1960s Ferrari GTO were sold privately for sums close to their respective asking prices of $30 million and $20 million.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Scott Reyburn in London at sreyburn@hotmail.com.

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