On January 20th RM Auctions presented their 8th annual collector’s car show auction in Scottsdale, Arizona at the prestigious Biltmore hotel and resort.
The auction was announced late in 2005 and Bond fans beamed at the star of the show. One of the promotional Aston Martin DB5’s which, while never appearing in any of the films, had toured the world throughout the 60’s was going up on the block. Complete with all the gadgets, most still functional, the original “Silver Beast” of Bond’s cars attracted the attention of collectors, Aston Martin aficionados and of course… James Bond fans. Myself included.
Upon hearing of this event, I decided to attend. Granted, the prices were such that I had no chance in walking away with the keys, but it didn’t stop me from registering as a bidder. Besides, I just wanted to see this automotive icon of 007.
The night before was a grand event held in the main auction hall and the James Bond theme was strongly prevalent regardless of the other classics on display. Tuxedoed waiters, martini glass ice sculptures–through which any ordered martini was poured to be “properly chilled”, gourmet trays of food and snacks, and an elegant Jazz quintet set the mood.
Up close… well… She’s not the youngest girl at the dance, but she had everyone’s attention. The interior has been neglected, but the original engineering of all the devices is still sound. A glimpse in the boot revealed what the great John Stears referred to as the “plumbers nightmare”. Hook ups for three tanks (oil, smoke, CO2 for the ejector seat), the motor and relays for the rear license plates and of course the same for the rear armour screen.
It’s all still good to go apparently but the ejector mechanism has been removed and a normal seat replaced. Also, the CO2 fed to the unused caltrop dispenser on the back right tail cluster. A few “non-featured” items also were included. The weapons tray, designed under the driver’s seat, but now under the passenger seat, came complete with a prop grenade, knife and non-firing replica Mauser. Additionally, in the driver’s door, the “radio telephone” was intact along with the ram bumpers front and rear which telescoped out and then retracted smoothly.
As to the tire slashers, the extension was simply as they did on the film cars, a screw on, knock on hub. Yes, we all remember the device slowly sliding out of the DB5’s axle, but that’s movie magic. Not enough movie magic to change the fact that both cars are seemingly driving in reverse, but I digress. Check your DVDs.
The plates flipped on cue and everyone cheered. The machine guns extended and much to all’s delight, fired. A small propane tank, complete with a metered sparker, created the effect much as they did in the movie, but with a rather loud report. These days, the sound of machine gun fire in a crowded hall should send everyone off in a panic. Applause and laughter filled the air instead.
I have to say, that the appeal of this car is not only the automotive legacy that is Aston Martin but what made it memorable were the great lengths that the effects crew put into making sure that while being the rolling armoured arsenal it was made up to be, it had all the devices concealed. OK, yes, the roof panel is obvious but the rear bullet proof screen is framed such, that were you not a James Bond fan or familiar with a DB5, you might notice, but wouldn’t give it a second thought.
Friday the 20th began at 10am and with my pass I was in to the show which was already crowded and being televised on several automotive networks. Shortly after 2pm, lot number 155, DB5 2018/R “the Bond car” was rolled out to the main lot and people flocked before she was to go up for auction.
The machine guns rattled and all the devices were again displayed and many of those gathered about traded cameras. Everyone wanted a picture with 007’s car. At just ten past 3pm, they dimmed the lights, the Bond theme played and with the screen up, the guns blazing and the oh so distinctive exhaust rumbling the DB5 rolled up and onto the turn table.
Then it began with an opening of 900K(USD). In just under seven minutes (appropriate no?) it closed for 1.9 million(USD). The buyer was actually a second party to the new owner who is rumoured to be a collector in Switzerland. CBn is following up on this. We’ll let you what we find.
We can only hope the new owner shares it in some manner with the rest of the world.
All in all, a cool experience to witness and, to a point, be a part of.
Lastly, the question begs of any Bond fan.
If you had the cash, would you have paid 1.9 million?
I think we all know the answer.
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