A one owner 1962 ‘barn find’ DB4 Aston Martin used as a ‘test mule’ by James Bond special effects designers is to go up for auction at Bonhams Aston Martin car sale at the Aston Martin Works Service, Newport Pagnell on 22nd May 2010 – the only auction devoted entirely to this iconic marque.
An ex-factory demonstrator, this ‘barn find’ DB4 was built for press tycoon Max Aitken (1st Baron Beaverbrook) and was purchased in December 1963 by the current vendor. The Aston was a regular sight at Pinewood Studios where its owner worked as a special effects designer, and served as a ‘test mule’ during preparatory work for the first James Bond movie, ‘Goldfinger’, being measured for the various gadgets – ejector seat, machine guns, etc – that would feature on the silver DB5 driven by Sean Connery as Bond in the film. Somewhat annoyed by the delayed delivery of the DB5s from the factory, Bond franchise producer Cubby Broccoli once turned to the DB4’s owner and said, “Why don’t we just use your car and spray it silver?” In 1974 the car was consigned to a garage where it has remained ever since.
Interesting modifications to the vehicle include a special factory-fitted clutch with lighter ‘push’, an Icelert, an engine vacuum gauge and a thermostatically activated overheating alert. It is estimated to fetch £40,000-50,000.
A 1976 Aston Martin V8 Coupé adapted with numerous components from the process unit used during the filming of the 007 epic ‘The Living Daylights’ is also on offer at Bonhams auction, and is estimated to fetch £40,000-60,000. Several years ago Dr Peter Nelson, founder of ‘The Bond Museum’ in Keswick visited Studio 10 at Pinewood Studios – the site used by the James Bond producers to store many of the old props. Dr Nelson purchased several items from the store including the ‘process unit’ – a V8 that had had the front and rear ends removed to enable the camera crew to film Timothy Dalton ‘driving’ the car in the studio.
Dr Nelson wanted to restore the vehicle, but found that the chassis was too badly damaged so instead he bought a 1976 model and transferred many of the process unit’s components onto this running chassis, including the seats, interior, bonnet, wheels, skis etc. Other original parts not transferred are to be included in the sale along with many other V8 components from cars destroyed or damaged during the filming, offering the new owner the opportunity to complete the conversion.
The car has subsequently appeared at numerous motor shows and James Bond events around the world, including an appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and has recently been housed at The Bond Museum. It also appeared recently in Octane magazine’s article about ‘Bond cars’, and many fans consider ‘The Living Daylights’ Aston Martin V8 to be one of the best Bond vehicles with its skis, rockets, bullet-proof screen and even jet propulsion.
Tim Schofield, UK Head of Collectors Motorcars Department comments, “James Bond vehicles are rarely available for sale these days and James Bond Aston Martins are almost impossible to acquire at any price. This car incorporates many of the original ‘Bond gadgets’ from ‘The Living Daylights’ and is a must for any true 007 fan.”
For more information, visit www.bonhams.com/cars.