Bond's DB5 Fetches $4.6 Million in Test of Classic-Car Market

A James Bond Aston Martin with machine guns sold for $4.6 million, less than its estimate, as collectors tested the auction market for classic cars in London.

The DB5’s price of 2.9 million pounds including 12 percent fees last night compared to a presale low estimate hammer price of 3.5 million pounds. It had been described as “the most famous car in the world” by specialist sellers RM Auctions, which ran the sale in association with Sotheby’s.

“To create a show, RM took in some cars at bullish estimate levels,” Neil Dickens, director of Wiltshire, U.K.- based dealership the Hairpin Co., said in an interview. “It’s business as usual. Rich people are still looking for the best cars in original condition.”

As has been the pattern at car auctions after the financial crisis, buyers had a clear idea of what vehicles were worth and balked at lots they judged to be overpriced, said dealers.

The 1964 DB5, driven by Sean Connery in the Bond movie “Goldfinger,” was also used in ‘Thunderball.’’ It had revolving number plates and an ejector seat. The buyer was identified by RM as an Ohio-based collector, Harry Yeaggy, who was hugged by the seller, Philadelphia radio broadcaster Jerry Lee. Sale proceeds benefit the Jerry Lee Foundation, a charity fighting social problems and crime.

The Aston was one of four out of six vehicles expected to fetch as much as 1 million pounds that sold for hammer prices below the low estimate.

Speedy Pagani

A 2010 Pagani Zonda R sports car, capable of a top speed of 233 mph, sold for 806,400 pounds with fees against a minimum forecast of 1.3 million pounds. The Pagani cost 1.4 million euros ($1.93 million) new, said auctioneer Max Girardo, RM’s European-based specialist, as he knocked down the lot.

A 1952 Jaguar C-Type racer failed at the auction against a low valuation of 1.9 million pounds.

A streamlined 1938 Talbot-Lago T23 “Teardrop” coupe -- one of just five built by the French manufacturer in the original “Jeancart” design -- was one of the evening’s few high-value lots to sell for more than estimate. Restored in the 1970s, it sold to a buyer in the room for 1.8 million pounds with fees against an estimate of 1.1 million pounds to 1.4 million pounds.

A yellow 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV, whose first owner was the singer Rod Stewart, reached 694,400 pounds against an upper forecast of 560,000 pounds.

“There’s a price movement for 1970s cars,” Dickens said. “The market has shifted a generation. New people are buying the cars they wanted as a kid. That Lamborghini would have been worth about half that a couple of years ago.”

(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.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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