LONDON - One winning bidder is now legally able to drive in an actual James Bond Aston Martin, with working nail spreaders, tire slashers, smoke screen and rotating license plates.
That person just got the keys for the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 for $6.4 million at a classic car auction in Monterey, California. The price includes a buyer's fee payed to the auction house, RM Auctions. The identity of the buyer was not revealed.
It probably isn't a good idea for the new owner to actually use any of those gadgets on public roads, but they all work. And the car is entirely street legal.
This car was originally created to promote the movie Thunderball, but didn't actually appear in the film. It has an actual nail spreader and oil slick maker that drop real nails and oil behind the car. There's also a real smoking "smoke screen" and a "bulletproof" screen that comes up behind the back window. It's even decorated with faux bullet damage.
There are also rotating license plates on the back and front of the car. They are controlled by a knob inside labeled "B-S-F" for British, Swiss and French plates. The guns that poke out from behind the front turn signals don't fire real bullets, but they do make a very realistic "bang!" using oxygen and acetylene.
This latest sale is the most that's ever been paid for one of the Bond movie cars, even though this one never actually appeared onscreen. (It's also the most ever paid at auction for an Aston Martin DB5 of any description, according to Hagerty, a company that tracks collector car values.) Thunderball was the Bond movie that came after Goldfinger, in which the DB5 had first caused such a sensation. Two of these fully drivable cars with most of the gadgets actually working were created to tour the United States to drum up attention and ticket sales for Thunderball. The other promotional car is now in the Louwman Museum in the Netherlands.
An actual film-used Bond DB5 sold for $4.6 million in 2010, but that one was used for driving shots in Goldfinger and only had the gadgets installed later on. In making the films, the car that was shown on the road didn't actually have the clever gadgets. Another car -- and even separate mocked up "parts" of cars -- were used for close-up shots of the gadgets.
Another Aston Martin DB5 used in the Bond movies was reported stolen in 1997 and is widely believed to have been destroyed.
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