1964 Aston Martin DB5
Monterey Jet Center Auction | Estimate $1,400,000 - $1,800,000
Chassis No. DB5/1681/R
Engine No. 400/1666
Iconic. Smooth. Graceful. Charming. Expressive. Classic. Timeless. All words to describe film superspy, James Bond, the legendary actor who first played him, Sir Sean Connery, and the quintessential car he drove in the 1964 Bond film, Goldfinger: the Aston Martin DB5. While Sir Sean didn't always enjoy being inextricably linked to his portrayal of 007, over time, he increasingly came to appreciate the popular importance of the films and character. For decades, he kept a framed film still of the iconic photo of himself as Bond leaning against the DB5 with the Swiss Alps in the background, and eventually decided to acquire his own 1964 DB5, outfitted to match the original albeit without the Q branch gadgets. Sir Sean's son Jason Connery observed, “Dad used to talk about owning his own DB5, for no other reason than he loved the car, and I think in hindsight it did represent something in his life that was unique and captured a moment in time.”
Sir Sean's DB5, equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, 3.77:1 Power Lok rear axle, Dunlop RS5 tires, and Motorola radio with power-operated aerial, DB5/1681/R, was first delivered not through Q Branch, but by Cyril Williams Motors of Wolverhampton to their local customer, dairy owner Arthur White. It may have first been a demonstrator for Williams Motors, as its original U.K. registration notes that it was registered to Williams on July 8, 1964, then, nearly a year later, to White. The DB5 passed in May 1966 to Alan Simpson of Sutton Oldfield, then in 1969 to Lord Cranworth at Cotswold Park in Cirencester. Reportedly, Lord Cranworth subsequently sold the Aston Martin to the Banham International Motor Museum of Norfolk. When the museum's collection was dispersed in 1982, the car was bought by another British caretaker, who kept it for over two decades, but seldomly used.
Eventually, the DB5 found its way to noted marque specialists, RS Williams, among the most revered service and sales facilities for Aston Martins, whose reputation is second to none. It was from RS Williams, with the guidance of longtime family friend and advisor Barney Ruprecht, that Sir Sean finally acquired the car he was always destined to drive in early 2018. It was promptly refinished to Snow Shadow Grey—not Silver Birch. Notably, the main film car used in Goldfinger and Thunderball had been the prototype DB5, and was in reality a modified DB4 Series V with covered headlamps added. Accordingly, it was painted the DB4 color of Snow Shadow Grey. Only when the DB5 went into production, after filming, did the color of Silver Birch become available and, inaccurately, was oft ascribed forevermore as the Bond color. Snow Shadow Grey is the correct shade of the film car, and, naturally, that chosen by Sir Sean Connery for his own DB5. He was a fastidious buyer who made himself an expert in all things he sought, and insisted his car be the shade seen on-screen.
Following its new finish and mechanical servicing by RS Williams, Sir Sean spent his final years enjoying the presence of the car that so embodied his youthful fame, while staying away from PR and press. Accordingly, his acquisition and savoring of the DB5 was known only to a few people, mainly close friends. Jason Connery recounts that his father, “told me that driving the movie cars, all laden down with the gadgets, especially the machine guns in the front, made the car really front heavy and turning at slow speed was a Herculean task, so driving without gadgets was a joy! He loved how well balanced it was. Dad also said he would have kept the ejector seat!! I didn't ask who for?!!”
Since Sir Sean's passing in 2020 the DB5 has remained, true to his own fashion, quietly held by his estate, most recently returning to the hands of RS Williams to be carefully serviced in preparation for sale. It is offered here with tool roll and jack, a copy of its build record, the Swiss registration document in Sir Sean Connery's name, and extensive service records from before and after his acquisition. Seldom do any specialist restored examples such as this come to market. Rarer still however is this example, chassis 1681/R, is the only DB5 to have ever been owned by Sir Sean, a unique provenance and distinction which sets it apart from all others.
In keeping with his lifetime of charity, a significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of the DB5 will benefit the Sean Connery Philanthropy Fund. This commitment will continue the legacy of giving that Connery started in 1971 when he donated his entire $1,000,000 compensation from Diamonds are Forever to charity. The Sean Connery Philanthropy Fund supports, among other efforts, Sir Sean's longtime friend Sir Jackie Stewart's Race Against Dementia Foundation. In recognition of their friendship and this very personal charitable focus, the successful buyer will be treated to a drive in the Aston Martin by Sir Jackie at a mutually agreeable time—a drive that will no doubt be memorable in its own right, and will also offer the opportunity to hear a few stories about this car's most famous owner from someone who knew him well.