BLENHEIM, ONTARIO — James Bond’s original Aston Martin Silver Birch DB5, used in 007 films, will be selling the vehicle in an auction Oct. 27, according to the Wall Street Journal.
For more than 40 years, Jerry Lee, a Philadelphia-area radio station owner, kept a used car in a downstairs room in his house. He never drove it. The vehicle had only one previous owner. His name was Bond. James Bond.
Lee's car, now in a Canadian auto-restoration shop, was one of the original Aston Martin Silver Birch DB5s used in the early 007 films, "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball." It included "some rather interesting modifications," as the character known as Q explained in Goldfinger: revolving license plates, tire slasher, twin machine guns, rear oil sprayer, smoke screen, nail disperser, radar, retractable bullet-proof screen and, most memorably, a passenger ejector seat.
Lee, 74, bought the car directly from Aston Martin's British factory in 1969 for $12,000, according to WSJ. He's now hoping to sell it for millions at a classic-cars auction in London on Oct. 27 and use the proceeds to fund a foundation he runs that focuses on crime prevention.
The last 007 car to go on the market fetched $2.1 million in 2006 from a private buyer. But that Aston Martin never appeared in any Bond film; it was one of two replicas created for publicity purposes; the other is in a museum in Holland.
The vehicle, which has original gadgets and appeared in the two movies, will be the first authentic Bond car from that time to go on sale in decades. The only other one used in those movies mysteriously vanished from an airport hangar in Boca Raton, Fla., in 1997.
Known as the "effects car," it was the first Bond car outfitted with an arsenal and the one Q demonstrated for Sean Connery in Goldfinger. Some experts consider it more original than Mr. Lee's because it was the first to have gadgets. In fact, the debate over which car is the most original has been raging among various Bond car owners for years. The dispute was chronicled in a 1981 article in this newspaper headlined, "Can Three Men All Be Owners of 007's Car?"
There's only one Aston Martin Silver Birch DB 5 still around that appeared in the film "Goldfinger" and later in "Thunderball." And it's going up for sale in London.
Curiously, after the filming Aston Martin stripped the "effects car" of its gadgets and sold it as a standard used vehicle, according to WSJ. (One original gadget survived: the gear shift knob with a hidden red button that activates the ejector seat. It once sold at auction for around $80,000.) The "effects car" traded hands several times. New gadgets were added, but they weren't made by the car manufacturer, according to Mr. Worrall's book.
In 1986, a Florida real-estate developer, Anthony Pugliese III, bought the "effects car" at auction for $275,000 and began displaying it. Ten years later, James T. Sandoro, an independent car appraiser in Buffalo, N.Y., valued the vehicle at $4.2 million, and Mr. Pugliese obtained an insurance policy for that amount. "I always thought it was more than just an automobile," says the appraiser. "It was pop art."