Wednesday, June 02, 2010

FOR SALE: '64 Aston Martin, silver, some bullet holes.

My search for the perfect Gingermobile would have reached fruition today, if only I'd had a spare $5 million in my bank account.

Luxury car auctioneers RM Auctions announced that the 1964 Aston Martin that Sean Connery drove in Goldfinger was going to go up for sale in October - complete with bullet-proof shield and rotating license-plates.

American radio star Jerry Lee bought the original car back in '69 for the princely sum of $12,000 - even adjusted for inflation, that's just $64,000 in 2010 money!

What's slightly more astonishing is that the Aston Martin is in pristine condition - kind of a novelty since James Bond was notorious for destroying the luxury cars the British government assigned him - leading to this telling dialogue from Tomorrow Never Dies, in which Q - disguised as Rental Car employee - hands James Bond a document to sign:

Q: It's the business insurance policy damage waiver for your beautiful new car. Now, will you need collision coverage?

JB: Yes.

Q: Fire?

JB: Probably.

Q: Property destruction?

JB: Definitely.

Q: Personal Injury?

JB: I hope not, but accidents do happen.

Q: They frequently do with you.

JB: Well, that takes care of the normal wear-and-tear. Is there any other protection I need?

Q: Only from me 007, unless you bring that car back in pristine order!

In Tomorrow Never Dies, as in most Bond movies, Q was ultimately to be disappointed - James Bond's car plummeted to destruction in the streets of Berlin.

But fortunately, that was a 7-series BMW, and not the beautiful '64 Aston Martin up for sale.

Arguably, James Bond takes better care of that machine - or, at least, he has a longer-term onscreen relationship with his Aston Martin DB5.

The car makes appearances in Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies and was in a scene from The World is Not Enough (which ultimately ended on the cutting room floor.) A right-hand drive Aston Martin DB5 even appears in Daniel Craig's first Bond movie, Casino Royale.

Five out of the six actors who've played James Bond got behind the wheel of an Aston Martin of some description or other during their films - the only exception being Roger Moore (but he got to drive the iconic DB5 in 1981's Cannonball Run, so he needn't feel left out.)

The iconic DB5 only got destroyed once - when it careened into a brick wall midway through Goldfinger.

But as for the rest of Bond's cars - they haven't been quite so lucky. MI6 must have some stellar liability business insurance given this litany of liabilities:

  1. In Doctor No, his Sunbeam Alpine nearly plummets off a cliff when chased by baddies in a hearse. There's no way it didn't get a few dings en route.
  2. In Goldfinger, the aforementioned Aston Martin DB5 is crushed when it collides with a brick wall. In addition, Bond assists in the destruction of a '64 Ford Mustang and a Lincoln Continental.
  3. In Thunderball, Bond abandons his Aston Martin DB5 mid-mission to fly off in a rocket-pack. He almost certainly got his car towed for abandoning it in a 'no parking' zone.
  4. In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, James Bond and Tracy inadvertently enter the Contessa's Mercury Cougar in a Swiss demolition derby - and although it survives, it's doubtful she'll get her rental deposit back.
  5. In Diamonds are Forever, James Bond wrecks the suspension of a Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback (and his Business Insurance in Utah is invalid since he's in Las Vegas, Nevada.)
  6. In Live and Let Die, James Bond 'parks' his out-of-control Taxi Cab on the steps of the New York City Post Office. The driver doesn't complain, since he was killed en route.
  7. In The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond drives through a plate glass window and jumps a river in a stolen AMC Matador, which is probably frowned upon even in Thailand.
  8. In The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond drives his Lotus Esprit into the Mediterranean to escape a helicopter assassin. Later examination of the Owner's Manual confirms that this invalidates the warranty.
  9. In For Your Eyes Only, Bond's 'security system' blows his Lotus Esprit into smithereens. Subsequently, he barrel-rolls a Citroen 2CV trying to escape. While his rebuilt Lotus Esprit survives the rest of the movie, Bond's contact in Italy gets murdered in the front seat and you know those kind of stains are impossible to remove.
  10. In Octopussy, Bond steals an Alfa Romeo GTV6 and destroys numerous BMW police cars and rams a Mercedes into a train while at the helm of it. Also, he lives the ashtray dirty.
  11. In The Living Daylights, Bond blows his Aston Martin V8 to smithereens rather than let it fall into the enemy's hands. Nobody taught him the concept of 'sharing' in kindergarten.
  12. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond sets the auto-pilot to send his 7-series BMW careening off the edge of a multi-story car park into a rental agency. He doesn't get his deposit back.
  13. In The World is Not Enough, helicopters hack Bond's BMW convertible into two separate halves, which was a mercy killing, really. Worst Bond car EVER.
  14. In Die Another Day, Bond's Aston Martin Vanquish is machine-gunned and rammed with impunity; although Bond eventually uses his sonic-ring to shatter the windscreen and we ALL know that isn't covered by insurance.
  15. In Casino Royale, Bond flips his Aston Martin six times during a high-speed pursuit. If anybody else had been paying attention, they'd have counted him swilling no less than six Vesper martinis immediately beforehand. Drinking and driving doesn't pay, people!
  16. In Quantum of Solace, James Bond's Aston Martin DBS has seven shades of snot beaten out of it during a chase with machine-gun toting baddies. Although the car survives, the MI6 mechanic sadly concedes that the missing door and battered bodywork 'won't just buff out.'
All in all, Mr Bond is tough on his cars - so perhaps Jerry Lee's immaculate Aston Martin is worth $5 million simply because it survived his reign of automotive terror!


Andy said...

Go for it Roland! I'll bet they'll take monthly payments.

Andy said...

HA! Roland, I came across this cartoon today.

mre30seattle said...

On Casino Royale, they actually rolled the DBS 7 times setting a Guinness world record for consectuve rolls.

I love the Bond Aston Martin DB4. If you dont have the $5 million then I would suggest doing what I did..........get the replica from the Danbury Mint.

It will cost you $300, but comes loaded: machine guns, leather interior with ejectable seat, pop up bullet proof screen for the rear window, pop out tire slasher from the rear spinner, rotating license plates front and rear, rear oil slick behind the tail lamps and lastly the control console for the aforementioned toys in the centre arm rest.

Oh and of course, a full size spare in the boot. All this and it has a lifetime warranty that if something breaks, send it in and they will repair it.

If your ambition is set a bit higher then you can opt to purchase the real deal at a high end auction for a more reasonable $200k and install the options yourself.

That might be more fun since you could then install more update equipment.

It's a pipe dream. I periodically browse the auction houses in the UK to see what the going rate is for a 1960's built Aston Martin.

Now if the current franchise could put Bond back into a Bentley.