June 2 (Bloomberg) -- A 1964 Aston Martin driven by Sean Connery in “Goldfinger” and fitted with twin machine guns may fetch as much as $10 million at a London auction as 007 fans and collectors battle for James Bond’s favorite car.
The silver DB5, also used in ‘Thunderball,” is the most famous of 007’s vehicles and has revolving number plates and an ejector seat. Philadelphia-based radio broadcaster Jerry Lee has entered the coupe into the Oct. 27 “Automobiles of London” event to be held by RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby’s, an RM e-mail said last night.
“It will bring together two groups of collectors,” said Dominic Walker, sales manager at the Hertfordshire-based specialist dealers, Chiltern Aston Centre. “It’s the ultimate Bond car, and the ultimate Aston Martin for collectors who aren’t after racers. It may make $10 million.”
Exceptional sports cars from the most desirable marques are making record prices as wealthy individuals look to invest in physical objects while financial markets remain turbulent, said dealers.
Lee bought the car from the Aston Martin factory for $12,000 in 1969 after it had been used for a tour to promote the Bond movies, RM said. The Canadian-based specialist auction house estimates that it will fetch at least $5 million.
In “Goldfinger,” gadget-master “Q” tells a disbelieving Bond to pay attention before introducing the car’s “rather interesting modifications” that also include a rear bullet-proof screen, electronic tracking and an oil slick sprayer. These devices, operated by switches in the center armrest, later allow him to thwart his enemies.
The DB5 has recently been returned to running condition after years of static display. The car with the U.K. registration number “FMP 7B” was one of two original silver DB5s driven by Connery in the movies, said RM.
“All the factory-installed gadgets are in working order,” Max Girardo, a London-based specialist with RM Auctions, said in an interview. “You won’t be able to drive down the street and machine gun people, though, and you can’t actually eject your passenger.” These were achieved by special effects, Girardo said.
“Jerry was a James Bond nut at the time and since he bought the DB5, it’s only been seen two or three times,” Girardo said. “Auction is the best way to sell a car like this and we advised Jerry that London would be the best venue.”
Scale drawings of the modified car from Pinewood Studios were sold by Bonhams in May 2003 for 16,675 pounds ($24,475). The framed plans were signed by Desmond Llewelyn, the actor who played “Q.” Last month an unrestored DB4 that had been used at the studios to measure up the gadgets for Bond’s DB5 was sold for 84,000 pounds.
“It’s going to appeal to guys who grew up watching Connery and who have now become something in the City,” said Walker. “There are at least two private museums in the U.K. who have the funds to compete for this.”
Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Jerry Lee Foundation, a charity dedicated to solving social problems associated with poverty, particularly through crime prevention.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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