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Royal Wedding, James Bond Aston Martins Boost $10 Million Sale

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1968 DB6 Volante
A 1968 DB6 Volante. It is nearly the same type as the car that the newly-married Duke of Cambridge drove when leaving Westminster Abbey on April 29. It was sold by Bonhams in its May 21 annual auction of collectable cars at the Aston Martin factory in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. Source: Bonhams via Bloomberg

May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Two Aston Martin convertibles similar to the one used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their wedding sold last night as buyers competed at a $10 million auction of classic vehicles.

The DB6 cars, finished in black and platinum and like the Prince of Wales’s blue model that William and Kate used, each made 232,500 pounds ($377,000) with fees.

While both DB6s fetched hammer prices that were below their pre-auction estimates of as much as 250,000 pounds, the Bonhams sale showed continuing demand for the handmade cars. The annual event was held at the marque’s factory in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, U.K.

“At least two billionaires have been buying Aston Martins aggressively over the last three or four years,” Dietrich Hatlapa, founder of Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), a London-based research company, said before the sale. “The wedding confirmed the car as a British institution.”

The car in which the newlyweds drove from Buckingham Palace on April 29 was a Seychelles-blue DB6 Volante MKII that Queen Elizabeth gave Prince Charles for his 21st birthday in 1969. The Prince had it converted to run on bioethanol fuel. The Bonhams cars were DB6 Volante Mk. I convertibles, made in 1968.

During the 1980s, Prince Charles commissioned Aston Martin to make him another sports convertible, a V8 Volante with a more powerful Vantage engine. A further 24 cars of this type were made, the model becoming known as the V8 Vantage Volante “Prince of Wales.”

Bond Cars

Timothy Dalton drove a V8 Volante “Prince of Wales” in the 1987 Bond film “The Living Daylights.” Yesterday, a factory-made replica sold for 172,000 pounds, well above the high estimate of 100,000 pounds.

A clone of the DBS that George Lazenby drove in the 1969 film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” fetched 106,000 pounds, again beating the high estimate of as much as 70,000 pounds. Both replica cars were made by Aston Martin in 2008.

The top lot was a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Vantage 4.2-Litre convertible that sold for 507,500 pounds with fees. Finished in Aegean blue with pale grey leather upholstery, it had been estimated to fetch between 440,000 pounds to 480,000 pounds.

The auction raised about 6 million pounds with fees, against a high estimate of 5.3 million pounds, based on hammer prices. All but two out of the 45 offered Aston Martins found buyers, said Bonhams.

The equivalent auction last year achieved a total of 4.7 million pounds from the same number of cars, nine of which failed. The two Royal Wedding lookalike cars and the top lot sold to U.K. bidders, Bonhams said.

(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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