As secret agent James Bond, Sean Connery fended off spies in his iconic Aston Martin DB5 in the 1964 film "Goldfinger." Four cars were made for those early Bond movies — and one of them will be up for auction next week.
It is, said Barney Ruprecht, RM Sotheby's senior car specialist, a "hugely important automobile. This is the most famous car in the world, in my opinion. It's so iconic."
And, yes, the gadgets actually work!
Sotheby's will be auctioning the automobile next week in Monterey, California. But first, "CBS This Morning" co-host Anthony Mason got to fulfill a lifelong fantasy by taking it for a spin.
Ruprecht showed off the Aston Martin's assets at Miller Motorcars in Greenwich, Connecticut, starting with the famous front-end machine guns: "They come right behind these signal lights. They pop straight out."
"The machine guns aren't loaded though, are they?" asked Mason.
"Not loaded with projectiles, but they do fire an oxygen acetylene mixture, so it's quite a bang!"
And in the rear, a bulletproof shield rises up, to protect from bad guys in pursuit. Also, nails can be dispensed out of a rear tail light. The other side dispenses an oil slick.
"And then our last one is a smoke screen down below the bumper," Ruprecht said, demonstrating in a swirl of smoke.
Inside, there's the radar screen Bond used to track Goldfinger. And then the infamous red button, which operates the passenger ejector seat.
"Does the ejector seat actually work?" Mason asked.
"We've got the removable [roof] panel above me," Ruprecht said. "Unfortunately, there's no rocket motor underneath me today, so you can't get me outta here."
"I can't get rid of you and take the car?" Mason asked.
"Not that easy, unfortunately!"
In Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, the secret agent actually drove a Bentley. But in 1964, the Aston Martin with all its gadgets helped modernize Bond for the movies.
"It's a car, [but] it's also a fantasy," Mason said.
"Exactly. I mean, can you imagine taking this, you know, to the golf course or to the grocery store a couple of times a year?"
This particular Bond car did not actually appear on screen; it was one of two built after the success of "Goldfinger," complete with functioning gadgets, to make promotional appearances for the next Bond film, "Thunderball." A European collector bought it in 2006 for $2 million, and put another million into restoring it.
On a sweltering summer day, Mason took a ride in the car that has everything, except AC.
"They spent a million dollars rebuilding this? But they didn't bother with the air conditioning? Too expensive?" asked Mason.
"Did not bother with the air conditioning!" Ruprecht replied.
The guns, though, did not disappoint:
"That'll teach 'em for cutting in front of me!" Mason said.
So, what is the car worth? "Estimate pre-sale for the auction is between $4 million and $6 million," said Ruprecht.
And who would buy such a car? "I think the collector profile is anybody from a car collector to a James Bond enthusiast. You know, it literally could be anybody."
That is, anyone with $6 million. "I am happy to take a bank letter from anybody come sale night!" Ruprecht laughed.
The Sotheby's auction will be held August 15 at the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, Calif.
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