An iconic Aston Martin DB5 car, used by Eon Productions to promote 1965 Bond film Thunderball, is to be sold at auction – complete with fully-functioning ‘Q Branch’ gadgets.
One of two examples bought to promote the film and only four modified to the ‘Q Branch’ specifications from 1964 film Goldfinger, the DB5 features Browning .30 caliber machine guns, wheel-hub mounted tire-slashers, smoke screen dispensers and revolving license plates.
And the gadgets still function on command today.
Unlike the modifications on the cars actually used during filming – which didn’t have to be durable as they only had to survive a couple of takes – the gadgets on this example were actually fitted by Aston Martin themselves.
The two DB5s commissioned to promote Thunderball were used on the US media tour and one was even driven by Scottish racing legend Jackie Stewart at the world-famous Laguna Seca track as a pace car.
Sean Connery, star of both Goldfinger and Thunderball, said: “These DB5s are amazing.
“I remember the Furka Pass tire shredding as well as the promotional events with these cars – they have become increasingly iconic since Goldfinger and Thunderball.
“In fact I bought a very fine DB5 myself relatively recently.”
How much is the car expected to fetch?
Auctioneer RM Sotheby’s is expecting the collectors’ item to fetch between $4m and $6m (£3.1 – £4.7m) when it goes under the hammer on August 15.
The success of Goldfinger was also a success for Aston Martin, which saw DB5 sales surge to unprecedented levels.
Nowadays original DB 5 examples can sell from anything between £750,000 to over a million pounds.
Only three careful owners
After the US promo tour for Thunderball the cars were bought by a collector in 1969 and sold to a museum in Tennessee where they spent 35 years on display.
The car has had just three private owners over 50 years and will be sold after a full restoration of all its gadgets.
It will be the star attraction among 120 other rare Aston Martins at the sale in Monterey, California.
RM Sotheby’s car specialist, Barney Ruprecht said: “No other car in history has played a more important leading role on film and in pop culture than the Aston Martin DB5.
“The DB5 is the iconic cornerstone of a marketing relationship that still exists to this day—with the model’s collectable status rooted largely in its 007 fame—and we look forward to exciting car and film enthusiasts alike in the lead up to the auction.
“This is an unbelievably rare chance to play secret agent in a car that offers incredible performance and style in its own right and we’re honoured to offer the Bond DB5 alongside our partners at Aston Martin.”